About the Author

Marvin H. Smith

Marvin H. Smith

Former Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: Does employment as a hearing examiner for the Maryland Department of Employment and Training constitute the "practice of law" so as to permit an individual to become a member of the Maryland Bar without taking the usual bar examination?

Admitted?: No.

Area of Concern: After examination the nature of the applicant's duties as a hearing examiner, the Court was not persuaded that his activities in a very limited field of law met the requirements of the statute and rule. Like the Board of Law Examiner, the Court believed that the applicant merely worked with legally-related matters and that his activities did not fall within the "fair intendment" of the term "practitioner of law" as used in the statute and the rule.

Citation: 303 Md. 1, 491 A.2d 576 (1985)

  • 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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