Skip to main content

Would working as a pornographic film star and producer hurt my being admitted to the California Bar?

Los Angeles, CA |

In my early 20s, I starred in several gay pornographic films. Later, I moved into directing. All this occurred in California, where producing pornography is legal.

The more I worked "behind the camera," the more interested I became in the law. Eventually I applied and was admitted to an ABA accredited law school in Los Angeles, where I'm presently a 3L focusing in entertainment law. I still work for several adult studios now to support myself, plan on continuing to work in the adult industry after graduating.

I'm concerned whether my employment will be a problem for the good moral character exam. I get mixed responses when I ask other attorneys. If this were another state where the production of pornography is illegal, I could see the problem. But here in California, it's legal.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. This reads like a law school exam question to me. It is a little late to be asking it if you are already a 3L.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


  2. In my opinion, almost nothing I can think of that's legal can be immoral. Also, some things that aren't legal, like marijuana use by adults (federally and in CA unless medically cleared) aren't immoral.

    As for the CA State Bar's moral character test, they ask for references, and criminal records.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


  3. The important thing is whether you can be trusted to tell the truth in legal situations. My experience is that the Board of Bar Examiners in most states are interested in the part of your character related to truth and ethics, than on the more subjective aspects of 'morality'.

    In short, if you have perjured yourself in a court proceeding or lied on a sworn statement or your application to take the Bar Exam, they may balk.

    I am licensed in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and therefore any discussion of issues related to other states must considered within that context. In addition, my comments are not intended to create a legal representation but merely to respond to the limited facts presented by the question. Any opinion herein is not meant as a precise statement of legal rights or as a recommendation of any particular course of action. A more complete legal review can be obtained through local counsel.


  4. I suggest to you the most important thing in your bar application is to be honest and truthful , and to provide the information they request. As long as you were not guilty of any crime or charged with any crime, I am not sure how it would come up on the application for Bar Admission. Accordingly, my view is that this is not a real factual situation, but rather is an ethics question that you are trying to get us to answer for you for law school. If so, do your own homework, that's how you learn.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


  5. It is always the cover up that gets 'em, never the act itself. The worst thing you can do is lie about this. Take your chances. I think you will be fine. With a little luck there will be no question to which a directly responsive answer is "I starred in and directed 50 gay porn movies due to my genetic endowments." The important thing is that you become a credit to our profession by rendering diligent and competent legal services while avoiding conflicts of interest, dealings with clients, and co-mingling of funds. Good luck.