Conduct Yourselves Accordingly: Amending Bar Character and Fitness Questions To Promote Lawyer Well-Being

By David Jaffe and Janet Stearns

The Professional Lawyer mentioned President Greenberg and his Working Group on Attorney Mental Health.

Admission to the practice of law involves an evaluation of substantive knowledge, tested through
the administration of the bar examination, and a separate evaluation of character and fitness. The
character and fitness process is intended to identify issues that could affect the responsible and
competent practice of law. So, for example, bar examiners will ask about an applicant’s history
relating to honor code and academic integrity, criminal history, civil litigation history, and
financial dealings, as each piece of information could bear a relationship to the applicant’s ability
to practice law in a competent manner.

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