Conditional Admission Program Featured in ABA BNA Article

Congratulations to Tracy Kepler (USPTO), Mistie Bauscher (Bauscher Law Office-ID), Terry Harrell (CoLAP-IN), Don Lundberg (APRL-IN) and Ed Novak (Polsinelli-AZ) for their well-received presentation at the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Conference in Long Beach last week. An article recognizing their work is in the ABA BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct. If you have an online subscription, you can read the article here.

The conference report on the presentation is titled, “Many States Embrace Conditional Admission But Panelists Point Out Difficulties in Process.” Generally, conditional admission grants applicants who have a history of chemical dependence or mental illness a license to practice law, but with a period of oversight until they demonstrate successful rehabilitation or treatment. The speakers addressed a variety of issues on the subject of conditional admission, including:

• The three sets of interests that conditional admission tries to balance;
• A description of what it’s like to be conditionally admitted – the everyday rules and requirements – featuring the candid perspective of Ms. Bauscher, who was conditionally admitted in Idaho;
• The debate over whether conditional admission is akin to making a reasonable accommodation or whether it merely burdens people who have already demonstrated their fitness, thereby violating the Americans with Disabilities Act;
• The “huge imbalance of power” in the bar application process and the “powerlessness of the unrepresented applicant”;
• The role of a lawyer assistance program (LAP) in the conditional admission process; and
• The question of confidentiality – whether the conditionally admitted are obligated to notify their clients.

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