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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.

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Attorney answers 5


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.

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Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick


I agree. I think you sniffed out a law student question. It is preposterous to think that a 3L law student would just be thinking about this now.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.