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Taking California’s bar exam is going to be a pricier proposition beginning next year. Late last month, the State Bar Board of Governors voted to increase application fees by about 14 percent, with the cost for general applicants going from $464 to $529 and the cost for attorneys jumping from $674 to $769. Even the fee for laptop use will go from $104 to $119. The increases take effect Jan. 1. Jerome Braun, the State Bar’s director of admissions, said Tuesday that the increases are necessary because of internal accounting changes and a new system for hiring the proctors for bar exams. He said the increases will allow the Bar to carry forward about a half-million dollars in the case of unexpected events, such as flooding or earthquake damage at test sites. In addition to the exam fees, the State Bar also plans to increase registration fees for general applicants from $80 to $92, for attorneys from $145 to $166 and late fees from $45 to $52. The cost of a moral character determination goes from $378 to $431 and admissions certificates from $60 to $69. The Committee of Bar Examiners said it suggested the increases reluctantly, with its members saying they are “acutely aware that many, perhaps most, applicants are entering the admissions process with substantial student loan debt levels.”

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