(a) By Application. An individual who meets the requirements of Rule 19-201 or had the requirement of Rule 19-201 (a)(2) waived pursuant to Rule 19-201 (b) may apply for admission to the Bar of this State by filing with the Board an application for admission, accompanied by a Notice of Intent to Take a Scheduled General Bar Examination, and the prescribed fee.

Cross reference: See Rule 19-204 (Notice of Intent to Take a Scheduled General Bar Examination).

(b) Form of Application. The application shall be on a form prescribed by the Board and shall be under oath. The form shall elicit the information the Board considers appropriate concerning the applicant's character, education, and eligibility to become an applicant. The application shall require the applicant to provide the applicant's Social Security number and shall include an authorization to release confidential information pertaining to the applicant's character and fitness for the practice of law to a Character Committee, the Board, and the Court. The application shall be accompanied by satisfactory evidence that the applicant meets the pre-legal education requirements of Rule 19-201 and a statement under oath that the applicant is eligible to take the examination. No later than the first day of September following an examination in July or the fifteenth day of March following an examination in February, the applicant shall cause to be sent to the Office of the State Board of Law Examiners an official transcript that reflects the date of the award to the applicant of a qualifying law degree under Rule 19-201, unless the official transcript already is on file with the Office.

(c) Time for Filing.

(1) Without Intent to Take Particular Examination. At any time after the completion of pre-legal studies, an individual may file an application to determine whether there are any existing impediments, including reasons pertaining to the individual's character and the sufficiency of pre-legal education, to the applicant's qualifications for admission.

(2) With Intent to Take Particular Examination.

(A) Generally. An applicant who intends to take the examination in July shall file the application no later than the preceding May 20. An applicant who intends to take the examination in February shall file the application no later than the preceding December 20.

(B) Acceptance of Late Application. Upon written request of the applicant and for good cause shown, the Board may accept an application filed after the applicable deadline prescribed in subsection (c)(2)(A) of this Rule. If the Board rejects the application for lack of good cause for the untimeliness, the applicant may file an exception with the Court within five business days after notice of the rejection is transmitted.

(d) Preliminary Determination of Eligibility. On receipt of an application, the Board shall determine whether the applicant has met the pre-legal education requirements set forth in Rule 19-201 (a) and in Code, Business Occupations and Professions Article, § 10-207. If the Board concludes that the requirements have been met, it shall forward the application to a Character Committee. If the Board concludes that the requirements have not been met, it shall promptly notify the applicant in writing.

(e) Updated Application. If an application has been pending for more than three years since the date of the applicant's most recent application or updated application, the applicant shall file with the Board an updated application contemporaneously with filing any Notice of Intent to Take a Scheduled General Bar Examination. The updated application shall be under oath, filed on the form prescribed by the Board, and accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(f) Withdrawal of Application. At any time, an applicant may withdraw an application by filing with the Board written notice of withdrawal. No fees will be refunded.

Committee note: Withdrawal of an application terminates all aspects of the admission process.

(g) Subsequent Application. An applicant who reapplies for admission after an earlier application has been withdrawn or rejected pursuant to Rule 19-203 must retake and pass the bar examination even if the applicant passed the examination when the earlier application was pending. If the applicant failed the examination when the earlier application was pending, the failure shall be counted under Rule 19-208.

When the Board of Law Examiners or a Character Committee questions your character and fitness for bar admission, bar applicants should retain an attorney to assist in disclosing information relevant to character and fitness, to guide them through the bar admissions process, and to represent applicants in hearings before the Character Committee, Board of Law Examiners and Court of Appeals of Maryland to determine whether they are fit to practice law. Character and fitness concerns may arise in connection with prior criminal convictions, academic dishonesty and honor code violations, addictions, drunk driving, neglected debts, and a failure to disclose material information on law school applications or on bar applications. If you have a history of misconduct, traffic citations, crimes, arrests and other facts to disclose in response to the character portion of the Maryland Bar Application, you should strongly consider retaining bar admissions counsel if you want to avoid denial of a law license and be granted a license to practice law. This is even true for applicants for admission to law schools as these applications ask similar questions about character. A failure to disclose facts material to your admission could result in a denial of bar admission.

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