The Bar Admission Process, Gatekeeper or Big Brother: An Empirical Study
Stone, Donald H.
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This article provides a comprehensive statistical review of bar applications from forty eight states and questions the usefulness of the applications, in their current form, in determining one's fitness to practice law. In addition to compiling this empirical data, the article focuses on four major areas of inquiry on most applications including mental illness, substance abuse, moral indiscretions and criminal behavior. Based on this inquiry and data, the author advances a number of recommendations to be adopted by state bar examiners. He concludes that the guiding light should place the burden on bar examiners to prove unfitness, and that only such questions that examiners can demonstrate are relevant to the ability to practice law are appropriate.