Bar Admissions Blog

Helping Bar Applicants Prove Character and Fitness for Admission to the Bar

Arguing Redemption

Q. Is it really possible to overcome a checkered past when judges sit back on their bench, act "holier than thou," and look down on anyone with a questionable background?

A. From your question, I would guess that your previous experience with the judicial system was an unpleasant one and that your involvement in it may raise some concerns if you decide to pursue a legal career.

A questionable past will raise questions. But it will be your lawyer's job to answer these questions in a manner designed to emphasize your effort to put the past behind you and to move forward as a productive member of society.

If you have done your part to build a track record of redemption, your attorney will have the evidence needed to prove that you have been rehabilitated, no longer raise character or fitness concerns, and are eminently qualified for admission to the practice of law.

If you are as successful as the applicant in this video, you will enter a profession that believes in second chances. As the following hearing before the Court of Appeals of Maryland illustrates, judges will question past mistakes, but their chief concern is that you not repeat history:

Amending Law School Applications
Beating the RAP Sheet
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.


By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and  who are responsible for the content of this informational website.