New Character and Fitness Resource and Resolution

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has released a 50-State Survey of Bar Exam Character and Fitness Questions, compiling the primary character and fitness questions in bar applications across the country that request information about an applicant’s current or past record of mental illness and/or substance use, involvement with the criminal justice system, school discipline (e.g., suspensions or expulsion), and financial problems (e.g., bankruptcy). The resource was developed in an effort to better prepare law school graduates to complete these applications.

In related news, in February 2019 the Conference of Chief Justices adopted Resolution 5, In Regard to the Determination of Fitness to Practice Law, which urges state bar admissions authorities to eliminate character and fitness questions that ask about mental health history, diagnoses, or treatment, and instead focus on any conduct or behavior that impairs an applicant’s current ability to practice law in a competent, ethical, and professional manner.


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