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Code of Recommended Standards for Bar Examiners


8. Organization and Funding. A body appointed by and re-                  with right to counsel, before the committee before a final
      sponsible to the judicial branch of government (which may           adverse determination is made. The bar examining author-
      be separate from the bar examining authority but which              ity should adopt a rule respecting a permissible reapplica­
      will be referred to hereinafter as the bar examining author­        tion date for applicants who, after being afforded due pro­
      ity) should administer character and fitness screening. It          cess, are denied admission on character and fitness grounds.
      should perform its duties in a manner that assures the pro­
      tection of the public by recommending or admitting only       12. Standard of Character and Fitness. A lawyer should be
      those who qualify. Sufficient funding and staffing should           one whose record of conduct justifies the trust of clients,
      be provided to permit appropriate investigation of all in­          adversaries, courts, and others with respect to the profes­
      formation pertaining to applicants’ character and fitness.          sional duties owed to them. A record manifesting a
                                                                          significant deficiency in the honesty, trustworthiness,
9. Development and Publication of Standards. Character                    diligence, or reliability of an applicant may constitute a
      and fitness standards should be articulated and published           basis for denial of admission.
      by each bar examining authority. Some variation in rules
      and interpretations among the bar examining authorities       13. Relevant Conduct. The revelation or discovery of any of
      may be appropriate, as character and fitness screening is           the following should be treated as cause for further inquiry
      the responsibility of each individual bar examining author­         before the bar examining authority decides whether the ap­
      ity. Standards should be applied in a consistent manner and         plicant possesses the character and fitness to practice law:
      interpretative material should be developed in furtherance
      of this objective.                                                      • unlawful conduct

10. The Investigative Process. The bar examining author­                      • academic misconduct
      ity may appropriately place on the applicant the burden
      of producing information. Each investigation should be                  • making of false statements, including omissions
      initiated by requiring the applicant to execute under oath
      a thorough application and to sign an authorization and                 • misconduct in employment
      release form that extends to the bar examining authority
      and to any persons or institutions supplying information                • acts involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
      thereto. The applicant should be informed of the conse­                    misrepresentation
      quences of failing to produce information requested by the
      application and of making material omissions or misrepre­               • abuse of legal process
      sentations. The bar examining authority should frame each
      question on the application in a manner that renders the                • neglect of financial responsibilities
      scope of inquiry clear and unambiguous. The bar exam­
      ining authority should have the power to cause witnesses                • neglect of professional obligations
      and documents or other records to be subpoenaed and to
      administer oaths or affirmations.                                       • violation of an order of a court

11. Confidentiality and Due Process. Each jurisdiction                        • evidence of mental or emotional instability
      should adopt a rule respecting confidentiality of records
      and sources that balances the need to protect the applicant,            • evidence of drug or alcohol dependency
      the sources, and the public. Minimally, this rule should
      provide confidentiality of records and sources for pur­                 • denial of admission to the bar in another
      poses other than cooperation with another bar examining                    jurisdiction on character and fitness grounds
      authority. The bar examining authority should adopt a rule
      respecting due process that specifies procedures which in­              • disciplinary action by a lawyer disciplinary agency
      clude notice to applicants and an opportunity to appear,                   or other professional disciplinary agency of any
                                                                                 jurisdiction

                                                                    14. Access to Information. Access to bar admission character
                                                                          and fitness information, bar disciplinary information, and
                                                                          criminal justice information is particularly essential and
                                                                          should be facilitated by legislation, rule making, and inter-
                                                                          jurisdictional cooperation.

                                                                    15. Use of Information. The bar examining authority should
                                                                          determine whether the present character and fitness of an

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