Moral Character Background Investigator I

The State Bar of California - San Francisco, CA3.8



(Office of Moral Character Determinations/Admissions)


Under general supervision, a Moral Character (MC) Investigator I investigates applicant backgrounds to determine whether the applicant possesses the requisite good moral character for admission as an attorney in California. The MC Investigator I verifies application data including criminal history, employment history, driving records, financial records, and other information. The work may also involve contacting applicant references and appropriate state and federal agencies, law enforcement, and other sources in order to obtain relevant information on applicants seeking admission to practice law in California. In addition, the MC Investigator I prepares investigative reports summarizing applicant background investigations for consideration by the Committee of Bar Examiners.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is the entry-level classification in the MC Investigator classification series. Incumbents work under more direct supervision and are typically assigned to less complex cases. MC Investigator I’s report to a Program Supervisor and Program Manager and may be mentored by an MC Investigator II.

Examples of Essential Duties

Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evaluates Moral Character applications, verifies application data, and researches applicant backgrounds under the supervision of a Program Supervisor.
  • Prepares an investigative plan for each assigned case in consultation with a Program Supervisor or the Program Manager.
  • Assigns the appropriate classification level to individual cases and clears applications consistent with departmental standards, policies, and procedures.
  • Communicates with law schools, courts, references, law enforcement agencies, and other relevant agencies and parties in researching applicant backgrounds.
  • Gathers, reviews, and analyzes documents, court files, and other relevant records.
  • Analyzes compiled data and information obtained during the investigation and determines appropriate follow-up and research.
  • Assists in determining if evidence exists which implicates applicants’ moral character and assists in making recommendations for further action.
  • Drafts investigative reports that summarize applicant backgrounds and addresses relevant issues.
  • Assists with the administration of the California Bar Examination and the First-Year Law Students’ Examination when assigned.
  • May perform a number of other similar or related duties which may not be specifically included within this position description, but which are consistent with the general level of the job and the responsibilities described.

Employment Standards

Knowledge of:

  • Techniques and methods of investigation and research.
  • Concepts and methodology of case management.
  • Identification, preservation, and presentation of confidential documents.
  • Problem identification, analysis, and evaluation.
  • Modern office practices and procedures, including keyboarding and the use of standard computer software, such as Microsoft Office and case management system applications.
  • Effective writing and verbal presentation.
  • The basic rules of vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Business math for completing non-technical calculations including, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Ability to:

  • Plan, organize, and prioritize work to meet deadlines.
  • Work on different phases of multiple investigations at the same time.
  • Effectively identify and obtain necessary information through written and verbal communication, while dealing with persons of diverse behavior and temperament, and remaining tactful, patient, and impartial.
  • Establish and maintain effective and productive work relationships.
  • Demonstrate effective writing and verbal presentation skills.
  • Effectively summarize investigations in oral or written form.
  • Organize and process large volumes of information, and review and analyze documents and official records.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively in person, by telephone, and in writing.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of State Bar cases, investigations, documents, and records.
  • Advise supervisors on the progress of background investigations in a clear and timely manner.
  • Travel by air and automobile, when necessary.

Minimum Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience in a field that develops the skills required for the functions and responsibilities of the position.


  • Two (2) years of experience in a position requiring writing, research, and analysis, preferably in an investigative environment.

Physical Requirements:

  • Visual capacity and digital dexterity to operate a computer and other standard office equipment.
  • Make fine visual distinctions upon proofreading written documents and viewing information on a computer screen.
  • Frequent repetitive motion, including: writing, grasping, holding, and reaching.
  • Frequent hearing and talking, in person and on the phone.
  • Retrieve, lift, and carry up to ten pounds.
  • Ability to sit for extended periods of time (minimal field work).

Applicants who meet the Minimum Qualifications will be required to successfully complete the State Bar’s selection process for this classification, including successful completion of the State Bar validated standard tests for the position.

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $69,334.00 to $92,508.00 /year