(a) Proceedings Before Accommodations Review Committee, Character Committee, or Board. Except as provided in sections (b), (c), and (d) of this Rule, the proceedings before the Accommodations Review Committee and its panels, a Character Committee, and the Board, including related papers, evidence, and information, are confidential and shall not be open to public inspection or subject to court process or compulsory disclosure.

(b) Right of Applicant.

(1) Right to Attend Hearings and Inspect Papers. An applicant has the right to attend all hearings before a panel of the Accommodations Review Committee, a Character Committee, the Board, and the Court pertaining to his or her application. Except as provided in subsection (b)(2) of this Rule, and subject to any protective order issued by a circuit court for good cause on motion by the Board, an applicant has the right to be informed of and inspect all papers, evidence, and information received or considered by the panel, Committee or the Board pertaining to the applicant.

Committee note: The intent of this subsection, with the exceptions noted in subsection (b)(2), is to permit inspection by the applicant of all information received or considered by a Character Committee, the Accommodations Review Committee, or the Board. There may be information, however, such as identifying information regarding a victim that is not germane to any issue before those entities and that should not be revealed. Shielding of such information would have to be approved by a court.

(2) Exclusions. Subsection (b)(1) of this Rule does not apply to

(A) papers or evidence received, considered, or prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, a Character Committee, or the Board if the Committee or Board, without a hearing, recommends the applicant's admission;

(B) personal memoranda, notes, and work papers of members or staff of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, a Character Committee, or the Board;

(C) correspondence between or among members or staff of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, a Character Committee, or the Board; or

(D) an applicant's bar examination grades and answers, except as authorized in Rule 19-209.

(c) When Disclosure Authorized. The Board may disclose:

(1) to any person, statistical information that does not reveal the identity of an individual applicant;

(2) to any person, the fact that an applicant has passed the bar examination and the date of the examination;

(3) to any person, if the applicant has consented in writing, any material pertaining to the applicant that the applicant would be entitled to inspect under section (b) of this Rule;

(4) for use in a pending disability or disciplinary proceeding against the applicant as an attorney or judge, a pending proceeding for reinstatement of the applicant as an attorney after suspension or disbarment, or a pending proceeding for original admission of the applicant to the Bar, any material pertaining to an applicant requested by:

(A) a court of this State, another state, or the United States;

(B) Bar Counsel, the Attorney Grievance Commission, or the attorney disciplinary authority in another state;

(C) the authority in another jurisdiction responsible for investigating the character and fitness of an applicant for admission to the bar of that jurisdiction, or

(D) Investigative Counsel, the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, or the judicial disciplinary authority in another jurisdiction;

Committee note: The term "jurisdiction" is used in subsection (4)(C) and (D) because requests occasionally are received from authorities in Canada or other countries.

(5) any material pertaining to an applicant requested by a judicial nominating commission or the Governor of this or any other State, a committee of the Senate of Maryland, the President of the United States, or a committee of the United States Senate in connection with an application by or nomination of the applicant for judicial office;

(6) to a law school, the names of individuals who graduated from that law school who took a bar examination, whether they passed or failed the examination, and the number of bar examination attempts by each individual;

(7) to the Maryland State Bar Association and any other bona fide bar association in the State of Maryland, the name and address of an individual recommended for bar admission pursuant to Rule 19-211 or 19-216;

(8) to Bar admissions officials in any state and to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the following information regarding applicants for admission pursuant to Rule 19-202 or petitioners pursuant to Rule 19-215: the applicant's name and any aliases, applicant number, birthdate, NCBE number, law school, date that a juris doctor or equivalent degree was conferred, bar examination raw and scaled scores, results and pass/fail status, and the number of bar examination attempts;

(9) to any member of a Character Committee, the report of any Character Committee or the Board following a hearing on an application; and

(10) to the Child Support Enforcement Administration, upon its request, the name, Social Security number, and address of an individual who has filed a petition for admission pursuant to Rule 19-202 or a petition for admission pursuant to Rule 19-216.

Unless information disclosed pursuant to subsections (c)(4) and (5) of this Rule is disclosed with the written consent of the applicant, an applicant shall receive a copy of the information and may rebut, in writing, any matter contained in it. Upon receipt of a written rebuttal, the Board shall forward a copy to the individual or entity to whom the information was disclosed.

(d) Proceedings and Access to Records in the Court of Appeals.

(1) Subject to reasonable regulation by the Court of Appeals, Bar Admission ceremonies shall be open.

(2) Unless the Court otherwise orders in a particular case:

(A) hearings in the Court of Appeals shall be open, and

(B) if the Court conducts a hearing regarding a bar applicant, any report by the Accommodations Review Committee, a Character Committee, or the Board filed with the Court, but no other part of the applicant's record, shall be subject to public inspection.

(3) The Court of Appeals may make any of the disclosures that the Board may make pursuant to section (c) of this Rule.

(4) Except as provided in subsections (d)(1), (2), and (3) of this Rule or as otherwise required by law, proceedings before the Court of Appeals and the related papers, evidence, and information are confidential and shall not be open to public inspection or subject to court process or compulsory disclosure.

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.

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