Besides getting the required education and passing the bar exam, acceptable moral character is one of three categories that need to be satisfied in order to obtain a license to practice law. After years of preparation and hard work, the last thing you want an obstacle standing between you and your dream of joining the bar.
The long moral character screening’s extensive application and long vetting process and can be unnerving for some. You must submit fingerprints and proactively report any occurrence in your background that you may think the evaluators will be interested to know about. Lapses of good moral character, and their associated actions, that may cause a problem with the evaluators include:
- Repeated DUIs
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Violent felonies
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as even misdemeanors that are expunged need to be included in your application.
Honesty is truly the best policy
Even though you think that a crime committed in your past will be a negative factor in your moral character application, report it anyway. The evaluators value honesty and will almost certainly find out about it on their own. Even misdemeanors that are expunged need to be included. By reporting negative information yourself, you will have the ability to tell your own story, contextualizing the situation you found yourself in.
Restitution and rehabilitation
Two important factors that any application with negative information should have are evidence that you made restitution for your misconduct and that you took the time to pursue meaningful rehabilitation. This gives assurances that you are now a responsible and upstanding person.
Using the services of an attorney experienced with helping other professionals attain and maintain their license status can be a good approach to take, especially if you must appeal a denial on the grounds of moral character.