Moral Character & Fitness: We Help Bar Applicants Get Admitted with Maryland Bar Application Assistance Helping Bar Applicants Respond to the State Board of Law Examiners in Maryland Bar Admissions

Examining the Character of Candidates for Admission to the Bar

Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions… a fair private and professional character is one of them… compliance with that condition is essential at the moment of admission; but it is equally essential afterwards.

Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo

                                                  

For most lawyers, the biggest challenge in being admitted to the bar is the bar examination itself. But, for some, the harder questions may come after passing the exam. If you have any type of criminal history, bankruptcies, problems with prior employers, instances of alleged dishonesty or academic honor code violations, the Character Committee of the Board of Law Examiners may raise questions about your fitness to practice law.

The Maryland Board of Law Examiners understands that people make mistakes and that youthful indiscretions may be overcome as one enters law school and prepares to enter the profession. In most cases, full disclosure on law school admissions applications and on the application for admission to the bar will address these concerns. Disclosure may not eliminate all problems. But the most serious concerns often arise where material facts are omitted.

If you have issues which may arouse the interest of the Character Committee, you would be wise to consult with an experienced bar admissions attorney when responding to questions posed on the bar application, and in preparation for your interview with a member of the committee. If the Character Committee raises concerns over your fitness to practice law, it is absolutely critical that you engage counsel to protect your interests, address these concerns, and promote your admission.

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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