(a) Investigation and Report of Character Committee.
(1) On receipt of an application forwarded by the Board pursuant to Rule 19-202 (d), the Character Committee shall
(A) through one of its members, personally interview the applicant,
(B) verify the facts stated in the questionnaire, contact the applicant's references, and make any further investigation it finds necessary or desirable,
(C) evaluate the applicant's character and fitness for the practice of law, and
(D) transmit to the Board a report of its investigation and a recommendation as to the approval or denial of the application for admission.
(2) If the Committee concludes that there may be grounds for recommending denial of the application, it shall notify the applicant in writing and schedule a hearing. The hearing shall be recorded verbatim by shorthand, stenotype, mechanical or electronic audio recording methods, electronic word or text processing methods, or any combination of those methods. The applicant shall have the right to testify, to present other testimony and evidence, and to be represented by an attorney. The Committee shall prepare a report and recommendation setting forth findings of fact on which the recommendation is based and a statement supporting the conclusion. A transcript of the hearing shall be transmitted by the Committee to the Board along with the Committee's report. The Committee shall transmit a copy of its report to the applicant, and a copy of the hearing transcript shall be furnished to the applicant upon payment of reasonable costs.
(b) Hearing by Board. If the Board concludes after review of the Character Committee's report and the transcript that there may be grounds for recommending denial of the application, it shall promptly afford the applicant the opportunity for a hearing on the record made before the Committee. In its discretion, the Board, may permit additional evidence to be submitted. If the recommendation of the Board differs from the recommendation of the Character Committee, the Board shall prepare a report and recommendation setting forth findings of fact on which the recommendation is based and a statement supporting the conclusion and shall transmit a copy of its report and recommendation to the applicant and the Committee. If the Board decides to recommend denial of the application in its report to the Court, the Board shall first give the applicant an opportunity to withdraw the application. If the applicant withdraws the application, the Board shall retain the records. If the applicant elects not to withdraw the application, the Board shall transmit to the Court a report of its proceedings and a recommendation as to the approval or denial of the application together with all papers relating to the matter.
(c) Review by Court.
(1) If the Court, after reviewing the report of the Character Committee and any report of the Board, believes there may be grounds to deny admission, the Court shall order the applicant to appear for a hearing and show cause why the application should not be denied.
(2) If the Board recommends approval of the application contrary to an adverse recommendation by the Character Committee, within 30 days after the filing of the Board's report, the Committee may file with the Court exceptions to the Board's recommendation. The Committee shall transmit copies of its exceptions to the applicant and the Board.
(3) Proceedings in the Court under section (c) of this Rule shall be on the record made before the Character Committee and the Board. If the Court denies the application, the Board shall retain the records.
(d) Burden of Proof. The applicant bears the burden of proving to the Character Committee, the Board, and the Court the applicant's good moral character and fitness for the practice of law. Failure or refusal to answer fully and candidly any question in the application or any relevant question asked by a member of the Character Committee, the Board, or the Court is sufficient cause for a finding that the applicant has not met this burden.
Committee note: Undocumented immigration status, in itself, does not preclude admission to the Bar, provided that the applicant otherwise has demonstrated good moral character and fitness.
(e) Continuing Review. All applicants remain subject to further Character Committee and Board review and report until admitted to the Bar.