Ohio Character and Fitness Process for Future Lawyers
Kyle J. Bristow, Copyright© 2012
In order for a law school graduate to sit for the bar exam in Ohio, they must first satisfy the requirements set forth by the Ohio Supreme Court. One of these requirements is that they complete the “character and fitness" investigation—which includes a lengthy questionnaire about one’s history and an interview with two members of the admissions committee of a local bar association. If the interview does not go well or answers in the questionnaire cause red flags to be raised, further inquiry may be initiated. If a bar applicant is not approved or approved with qualifications, then they may appeal to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, which consists of twelve attorneys—one from each appellate district. A hearing may be held, at which evidence showing—or refuting—the bar applicant's ethical integrity may be introduced. If the Board votes to reject that bar applicants ability to sit for the bar exam, their case may be reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court.
In Ohio, the following factors may be considered to determine whether someone is fit to practice law:
Acts that evidence one’s unfitness to practice law, however, may be mitigated through the following factors:
There are a number of factors that may not be considered in making a character and fitness determination:
One should consider consulting with a lawyer if one has fears regarding the character and fitness process.
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