Board of Law Examiners Investigation for Qualification for Texas Law License
Care in Answering BLE QuestionaireThe questions are not necessarily identical on law school applications as to the questions asked on the Declaration. Unfortunately, your law school application may probably have been completed a year or more before you are looking to complete the Declaration, but careful attention must be given to the responses you make on your law school application. Both the law schools & the BLE expect your answer to be truthful & complete. The BLE is an arm of the Texas Supreme Court. Lack of candor before the Texas Board of Law Examiners is tantamount to dishonesty to the Texas Supreme Court! When in doubt, disclose!
Investigation is ComprehensiveThe BLE will obtain criminal history information from both the FBI & the Tx. Depart. of Safety. Other records will be checked as well w/authorization & release forms submitted with your Declaration.
What happens if your application to law school was not as complete as needed or too informal or not as complete as the Declaration requires? Go immediately to your Dean of Admissions, explain & make an amendment to you law school application. This amendment will also have to be disclosed on your Declaration and documented.
When in doubt, disclose.
Make sure you do so timely. This is extremely important, especially if there are significant matters to be revealed. Resolution & counseling in the resolution of many issues is possible during the time students are in law school, but timely filing gives one the benefit of the greatest period of time. You may be embarrassed about past events, major or minor, but the 1st issue is your honesty, as it reflects on your moral character
The Rules of Admission requirement is that a person be of present good moral character and fitness.Issues which may require a hearing include, but are not limited to: Dishonesty, including non-disclosure of information requested by a law school or the Board of Law Examiners; Felony criminal history (see Rule IV on the Board of Law Examiners' website for additional information about felonies); Chemical Dependency; Significant misdemeanor criminal history; Failure to discharge significant financial obligations, including:
Payment of child-support;
Filing federal income tax returns and payment of required taxes;
Failure, in an employment setting, to file withholding taxes for employees; and
Default in a substantial amount of business or personal debts.
Issue of disclosure of expunged or sealed offenses"[w]hile expunged or sealed offenses, arrests, tickets, or citations need not be disclosed, it is the applicant's/
declarant's responsibility to ensure that the offense, arrest, ticket, or citation has, in fact, been expunged or sealed. Failure to reveal an offense, arrest, ticket, or citation that is not in fact expunged or sealed, raises questions as to truthfulness in addition to questions regarding the offense itself.
Texas Bar of Law Examiners' Non-Disclosure RuleApplicants are frequently unsure whether to reveal offenses that may be "expunged" or otherwise protected from disclosure. First, do not fail to disclose because you "think" it was expunged. Make sure there is a formal order. While you are not required to reveal such matters on the Declaration/Application form, a criminal matter that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure may become a character and fitness issue. Pursuant to other sections of the Government Code , the Texas Board of Law Examiners is entitled to access criminal history record information that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure. "So, if the Board of Law Examiners discovers a criminal matter that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure, even if you properly did not reveal that matter, the Board of Law Examiners may ask you to provide information about that criminal matter."
What is the Difference between Moral Character or Fitness?While the definitions found in Rule I offers no information, by inference from Rule X (b) the Board of Law Examiners is looking for chemical dependency or misuse , which includes all forms of drugs, legal or illegal, and alcohol. In addition, common sense dictates that any indication of psychological or mental disorder would come under the issue of "fitness" as well. Any chemical dependency or misuse could additionally come under the issue of "good moral character," particularly as it relates to criminal conduct..