Law students seeking admission to the North Dakota Bar now have less to worry about if they have been treated for mental health or substance abuse problems in the past. On July 1st, the Supreme Court of North Dakota adopted amendments to North Dakota Supreme Court Admission to Practice Rule 2, Standards for Admission, adding the following section:
“Seeking counsel from the State Bar Association of North Dakota Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) for mental health or substance abuse problems that might affect law practice administration or compromise professional competence may not be considered adversely by the Board in its evaluation. If the applicant chooses to participate in a program designed for the applicant by LAP and successfully completes that program by the time of graduation, the evidence of such rehabilitation and recovery may be considered favorably by the Board when evaluating the applicant’s character and fitness. The applicant’s failure to complete a treatment program may be considered adversely by the Board.”
The North Dakota Lawyer Assistance Committee (LAP) had proposed the change back in November of 2013, along with a proposal to change North Dakota Supreme Court Administrative Rule 49 to extend LAP services and confidentiality to students attending the University of North Dakota School of Law. The amendments to Rule 49 were adopted April 30, 2014, effective June 1, 2014; the amendments to Rule 2 will be effective October 1, 2014.
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