Friday, August 10, 2012

Paper Trail

I'm getting my application ready for the Texas Bar Association.  I'm applying for admission without exam, which is available because I have spent five of the past seven years practicing in another state (Iowa).  The application itself is something like 25 pages long, and requires a boatload of documents.  This is where I'm running into issues.

Among the things I need to provide to the state bar association are:  tax returns for the past seven years, my birth certificate, marriage certificate, name change certificate, transcripts, test results, a copy of my old business card, a copy of my driver's license, a job description (or, in lieu of that, I need to have someone from my old firm write a letter on official letterhead describing what I did as an attorney and how many hours I worked), certificates of good standing from other bar associations, and much, much more.  It's ridiculous.  Things have be timed just so -- I can't submit certificates of good standing that are more than 30 days old, so I'm requesting those last.

As part of this process, I realized I really need to get a Texas driver's license.  My Iowa ID expired in the process of my move, so I renewed it in Iowa right before I sold my house and moved to Texas, so I guess I wasn't in a rush to do that.  Well, getting my Texas ID has proved frustrating and difficult too.  You have to have a lot of documents -- social security card and/or passport, proof of vehicle registration and insurance, bills sent in your name to your current address.  Twice, I've thought I had everything together.  Twice, I've gone to the DOT with a stack of documents.  Twice, I didn't have the right stuff.  First, it was that I needed a second document to prove residency.  The second time (about two hours ago), it was that my vehicle registration paperwork was expired.  Nevermind that my vehicle has a registration sticker that is current -- they need the piece of paper that said sticker came on.  Well, I can't find that.  And, now I've gotten home and realized, I can't even find my Iowa driver's license.  I know the lady at the DOT had it briefly, and I haven't seen it since.  Did I leave it there?  I don't know -- their phone line is perpetually busy, and now they are closed!  So, despite my best efforts to get everything in order and comply with state laws, now I am going to be driving without a license until I can track that down, if I even can.  If I can't, then I can only imagine the hoops I'll have to go through and how many trips to the DOT it will take to get my Texas license.  It's incredibly frustrating that it's taken so many hours to try to do it already, to no avail.  I feel completely incompetent and foolish that I haven't been able to achieve this seemingly easy task, and that I've squandered so much time and gas money on this stupid little thing.

I should also add that I'm apparently awful at keeping things together.  I didn't have any of my old business cards, so I put out a plea on Facebook.  My old cheerleading coach had a card and mailed it to me.  Now I have no idea where I put it.  I am just really struggling to get all the scores of documents I need for any one thing all in the same place at the same time.  It is taking me way too long to get all this done.

Also in the meantime, all my bar association renewal notices for the State of Arizona (where I am also licensed) were being mailed to my old law firm in Iowa.  Not until they got certified mail notifying them/me that I was going to be suspended for nonpayment of dues did they forward this my way.  By then, it was too late.  So I've been dealing with that too -- trying to change my status in Arizona from "suspended" to "resigned in lieu of suspension."  And now I have to change that answer on my Texas bar application, and add yet another page to the application to explain that.

Well, I guess I'm back to square one on everything on Monday....actually, "square one" would be where I started.  I actually lost my Iowa license, so that puts me BEHIND where I started.  Months later, I'm making negative progress. 

I feel like a salmon swimming upstream.  Except salmon don't dish out $1,000 in application fees for the privilege of that swim.

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