About the Author

Chief Judge James McSherry

Chief Judge James McSherry

Former Chief Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: Are females within the class of persons eligible for admission to the Bar of Maryland?

Holding: No.

Area of Concern: The Court believed that the Maryland General Assembly only authorized the admission of males to the practice of law at the time of its opinion.  Unwilling to take "no" for an answer, Etta H. Maddox took her case to the Maryland legislature, lobbying successfully for legislation that would permit women to become Maryland lawyers.  After passing the bar examination, this applicant was sworn in as Maryland's first female attorney on September 11, 1902.

Citation: 93 Md. 727, 50 A. 487 (1901)

  • 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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