Maryland State Board of Law Examiners

Maryland State Board of Law ExaminersThe State Board of Law Examiners administers bar examinations by which persons are admitted to practice law in Maryland. This includes a two-day examination administered twice each year, as well as a more abbreviated “lawyers’ examination” which permits attorneys with certain levels of experience to qualify for admission.

Composed of seven lawyers appointed by the Court of Appeals for five-year terms, the Board also oversees the character and fitness process, supervising a statewide network of character committees, reviewing their recommendations, and providing recommendations on the admission of each applicant to the Court of Appeals.

Although the Board meets on a regular basis, most applicants having business before the Board will communicate with staff members such as the Board’s Secretary Jeffrey C. Shipley and its Director of Character & Fitness, Barbara L. Gavin. While they are attorneys themselves, Mr. Shipley and Ms. Gavin do not provide legal advice to applicants, but are very helpful in providing information on Maryland’s bar admissions process.


Board Members:

  • Jonathan A. Azrael, Chair
  • John F. Mudd
  • David E. Ralph
  • Matthew T. Mills
  • Gregory H. Getty
  • Maurene E. McNeil
  • Maura L. Lynch

Jeffrey C. Shipley: (410) 260-3644

Director of Character & Fitness:
Barbara L. Gavin: (410) 260-3640

When the Maryland Board of Law Examiners, DC Bar Committee on Admissions, or any 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 character committee hearings and in hearings before the Court of Appeals 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 or the DC Bar's NCBE application, you should strongly consider retaining bar admissions counsel if you want to avoid denial of a law license and get 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.


By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and  who are responsible for the content of this informational website.