How to Respond When The Texas Board of Law Examiners ("BOLE") Questions Your Bar Admission
You Receive A Preliminary Determination Letter From BOLE-what next?After four years in college, three years in law school, you have passed the bar and just as you are agreeing to work for the Smith & Smith Law Firm in Centerville, you get the BOLE letter that your failure to properly disclose an arrest history to your law school, or your record of 5 MIPs and DWIs is problematic, or both your good moral character and your fitness to practice law are called into question. Maybe after communicating with either Staff Attorney Bruce Wyatt or Staff Attorney Kristin Bassinger with BOLE, you get a preliminary determination letter and you wisely decide to set the matter for a hearing. What do you do next? Do you follow the statement of BOLE: " At this hearing, you are entitled to be represented by an attorney and to present evidence and witnesses on your behalf." What should you do? Do you know how to present evidence and witnesses especially if one of the witnesses is yourself?
Deciding Whether Or Not To Hire An Attorney For Your BOLE Hearing-how important is this?You may have been the champion moot court person at your law school and topped the evidence class but do you really want to be your own advocate and witness at the same time during the BOLE Hearing? On your own do you want to be deciding who will be your witnesses and what documents you will submit along with deciding which document from BOLE is objectionable? Are you familiar with the BOLE Rules of Procedure?
You have spent over $50,000.00 and maybe considerably more to get your law degree and with your 30+ year legal career tittering on the brink, do you really want to go through a hearing on your own? Remember the adage about having a fool for a client?
One distinct advantage of having an attorney with you is that attorneys and their clients move to the head of the line when the hearings start. Applicants with attorneys get to have their cases heard first. Maybe not the chief reason to hire an attorney but it is nice to get the hearing done ahead of everyone else.
Deciding Which Attorney To Hire - What Criteria To Apply For This Important AssignmentAs with any legal engagement, you want to find someone who will give you the best chance to win your case and will charge a reasonable price. Just to get an attorney because the person is a friend or a relative may result in a bad outcome. You need to find out if the prospective attorney has handled cases before the Texas Board of Law Examiners, how many times has the attorney done this, and what was been the outcome of the cases. Ask if you can contact some of the lawyer's clients or ask that some of the attorney's clients to call you. You don't want to show up at the BOLE hearing with at attorney who has no idea what to do. Have they published and lectured about the workings of BOLE? Are they known to the staff and Law Examiners at BOLE, and if so, what kind of reputation do they have? Have you read about them on their www.avvo.com site and what the clients have said about their representation before the Texas Board of Law Examiners?
So I Want an Attorney With Me- what is it going to cost?Good Question and one dear to my heart. The Bennett Law Firm has represented clients before the Texas Board of Law Examiners for as little as $2,000.00. (maybe even a little lower) and as much as $25,000.00+. A lot depends on what the individual applicant wants to do as far as organizing the presentation, contacting witnesses, and time in preparation. A budget can be prepared that provides an estimate of cost. If it is a case that the applicant prepares his/her own response and no witnesses are needed and the applicant wants the attorney to simply show up on the morning of the hearing with no preparation, the cost will certainly be on the low end. If the BOLE Staff Attorney is determined to keep you from becoming an attorney and you want to make the best case possible for being admitted, that scenario will move the cost to the high end. Talk to the attorney about what the cost will be and what you can afford. No one wants to be surprised by a bill or surprised by not being paid.