California's Law Office Study Program (LOSP) is grounded in State Bar rule 4.29 (www.rules.calbar.ca.gov)
. The requirements are uncomplicated, and the State Bar admissions office mainly serves as a registrar. The bar doesn't supervise apprentices--that's the task of their sponsors, who must be either a judge or an attorney and must have at least five years of good standing with the bar. The State Bar doesn't even evaluate the curriculum that the sponsor and the student design. Sponsors may not claim MCLE credit for their mentoring. Here are the basics:
-- LOSP students must find a sponsor, pay a $40 fee, and submit a Notice of Intent to Study Law in a Law Office or Judge's Chamber to the bar's Office of Admissions.
-- Simply working for the sponsor won't do. Law readers must actually follow a self-designed study course under the sponsor's supervision for at least 18 hours a week, for four years over 48 consecutive weeks a year.
-- The sponsor must give a written examination once a month and submit a semiannual report to the bar, along with a $30 fee, and the questions and answers of the monthly test.
-- After the first year, participants must pass the "baby bar," or the California First-Year Law Students' Examination, given in June and October. Those who pass it within three attempts get credit for all study up to that point. If it takes more tries, they earn credit for only one year of study.
-- Students must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. It's given three times a year and can be taken any time after the first year of study.
-- Four years of law office study qualifies participants to sit for the California Bar Examination, which is given in July and February.