Much is expected of prospective attorneys: apply and attend law school, earn a degree, study, take and pass the bar exam. In addition to all of these requirements, there is another critical component of becoming an attorney: successfully navigating the character and fitness process. For some bar admission applicants,
The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is working to remove the questions about mental health from the Character and Fitness examination to join the bar. I was part of the NYSBA Working Group on Mental Health that determined that the questions had an adverse impact on law school students.
Law students, law schools lead efforts to remove mental health questions from Character & Fitness equation
For decades, virtually every state required bar applicants to answer invasive questions about their mental health diagnoses. In 2014, the Survey of Law Student Well-Being revealed the effect of this practice: nearly half of all law students were dissuaded from seeking mental health treatment for fear that such treatment would have negative
Law students face severe stress, frequently leading to a need for treatment for mental illness. For those who have sought treatment, the moral character fitness application raises great anxiety.
Why the character and fitness requirement shouldn’t prevent law students from seeking mental health treatment
If you’re considering getting counseling or mental health treatment, don’t let the character and fitness requirement prevent you from doing so. Unfortunately, many students fear that getting counseling or other mental health treatment will cause them to fail the character and fitness portion of the bar application.
This is the time of year when many law students are filing their moral character application, hoping that the six month processing time will take them right about up to when their July bar exam results will be released. For some students, this is not a sure thing. The typical
Law students successfully lobbied the ABA House of Delegates in August to adopt Resolution 108, urging Congress to amend federal law to add language that bar admission shouldn’t be denied based solely on immigration status. Support for the resolution was heavily one-sided
Every year around this time, graduating law students are preparing to take the bar exam; and completing the Character & Fitness questionnaires with the hope that the Committee will find they are fit to practice law. Perhaps you know a law student; or you have one working in your office;
As a law student, you have to pass your jurisdiction's character and fitness application if you want to sit for the bar. Students typically complete this extensive background check sometime during law school or when they apply to take the bar. Get that? You'll just have to wait to find out
An item that’s certainly on every law student’s to-do list is filling out your character and fitness application. But thank goodness you don’t have to worry about it until late in your law school career—maybe even after you graduate, depending on your state’s rules, right?
Many non-lawyers don’t know that the bar admission process requires new lawyers to pass a character and fitness test before they can practice law and to adhere to high professional standards once admitted. In theory, the character and fitness requirement protects the public from individuals whose past conduct
Law students and lawyers reveal how they overcame substance abuse and mental illness and offer advice on answering bar application questions on these personal issues. Christopher Gutschenritter knew he had a drinking problem. But he worried that if he sought treatment, it might jeopardize the work he had already completed at