About the Author

Lynne A. Battaglia

Lynne A. Battaglia

Former Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: Does an applicant who failed to disclose a Petition to Violate Probation on his Bar Application possess the requisite character and fitness to be admitted to the Maryland Bar?

Admitted?: No. Considering his known obligations to candidly, accurately and currently disclose information reflecting upon his character and fitness to practice law, an applicant’s failure to disclose a Petition to Violate Probation on his Bar Application warranted the Court's denial of his application for admission to the Bar of Maryland. The applicant lost his bid for bar membership by a narrow 4-3 vote where the majority opinion was written by a retired judge who concluded that the applicant's "disregard of his obligation to disclose, whether because of ignorance or calculated error does not warrant his admission to the Bar of Maryland." Three dissenting judges would have adopted the unanimous recommendation of the Board of Law Examiners which did not believe that the charges or the conduct behind the charges should prevent the applicant from entering the practice of law.

Citation: Misc. Docket No. 32

  • Decided on .
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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