Page 10 - Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements
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Code of Recommended Standards for Bar Examiners
8. Organization and Funding. A body appointed by and re- sponsible to the judicial branch of government (which may be separate from the bar examining authority but which will be referred to hereinafter as the bar examining author- ity) should administer character and ftness screening. It should perform its duties in a manner that assures the pro- tection of the public by recommending or admitting only those who qualify. Suffcient funding and staffng should be provided to permit appropriate investigation of all in- formation pertaining to applicants’ character and ftness.
9. Development and Publication of Standards. Character and ftness standards should be articulated and published by each bar examining authority. Some variation in rules and interpretations among the bar examining authorities may be appropriate, as character and ftness screening is the responsibility of each individual bar examining author- ity. Standards should be applied in a consistent manner and interpretative material should be developed in furtherance of this objective.
10. The Investigative Process. The bar examining author- ity may appropriately place on the applicant the burden of producing information. Each investigation should be initiated by requiring the applicant to execute under oath a thorough application and to sign an authorization and release form that extends to the bar examining authority and to any persons or institutions supplying information thereto. The applicant should be informed of the conse- quences of failing to produce information requested by the application and of making material omissions or misrepre- sentations. The bar examining authority should frame each question on the application in a manner that renders the scope of inquiry clear and unambiguous. The bar exam- ining authority should have the power to cause witnesses and documents or other records to be subpoenaed and to administer oaths or affrmations.
11. Confdentiality and Due Process. Each jurisdiction should adopt a rule respecting confdentiality of records and sources that balances the need to protect the applicant, the sources, and the public. Minimally, this rule should provide confdentiality of records and sources for pur- poses other than cooperation with another bar examining authority. The bar examining authority should adopt a rule respecting due process that specifes procedures which in- clude notice to applicants and an opportunity to appear,
with right to counsel, before the committee before a fnal adverse determination is made. The bar examining author- ity should adopt a rule respecting a permissible reapplica- tion date for applicants who, after being afforded due pro- cess, are denied admission on character and ftness grounds.
12. Standard of Character and Fitness. A lawyer should be one whose record of conduct justifes the trust of clients, adversaries, courts, and others with respect to the profes- sional duties owed to them. A record manifesting a signifcant defciency in the honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, or reliability of an applicant may constitute a basis for denial of admission.
13. Relevant Conduct. The revelation or discovery of any of the following should be treated as cause for further inquiry before the bar examining authority decides whether the applicant possesses the character and ftness to practice law:
• unlawful conduct
• academic misconduct
• making of false statements, including omissions
• misconduct in employment
• acts involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrep- resentation
• abuse of legal process
• neglect of fnancial responsibilities
• neglect of professional obligations
• violation of an order of a court
• evidence of mental or emotional instability
• evidence of drug or alcohol dependency
• denial of admission to the bar in another jurisdiction on character and ftness grounds
• disciplinary action by a lawyer disciplinary agency or other professional disciplinary agency of any jurisdiction
14. Access to Information. Access to bar admission character and ftness 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 ftness of an
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