Law school graduates generally must take and pass a bar exam to become licensed attorneys. To become a member of the bar, all state bar licensing entities require applicants to complete some variation of an application that seeks information related to their “character and fitness” to practice law. These applications often request information regarding whether the applicant has a current or past record of mental illness and/or substance use. Many of the applications also contain questions related to involvement with the criminal justice system, school discipline (e.g., suspensions or expulsion), and financial problems (e.g., bankruptcy), among other topics.
In an effort to assist law school graduates to be better prepared to complete these applications, the Bazelon Center has compiled the primary “character and fitness” questions used by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This document is provided for informational purposes only. The Bazelon Center is not endorsing or commenting on the quality or legality of these questions. Because bar licensing entities may update their applications, please be sure to review the most recent application available in the jurisdiction in which you are seeking to be licensed.