Extreme Character & Fitness Investigation Delay -- any recourse?

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Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:34 pm

Extreme Character & Fitness Investigation Delay -- any recourse?

Postby amk110 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:38 pm


I passed my state's February 2016 bar exam and MPRE in August 2016. For some asinine reason, my state won't even begin character and fitness investigation until all required exams have been passed, so my best guess is that this investigation started in September 2016.

It took them three months of back and forth to let me know that their next step was that they wanted an interview with a three person panel of the board of bar examiners. I went to that on 1/20/17. The result of that was the board wanting more information pertaining to a DUI diversion program I was participating in because of a DUI obtained in October 2015. They seemed to suggest, but not say, that my delaying the DUI treatment was a major concern of theirs. I explained that I delayed it because between October 2015 and February 2016, I was preparing for the bar exam, and knew I had until November 2016 to complete the three months of alcohol treatment classes.

A month after the interview, I was told they wanted me to sign a HIPPA release so they could access my DUI treatment records. I signed and gave them this, and was told they'd retrieve those records and present them at the board's next meeting, on 3/31/17, for consideration of my application.

By 4/26, I still had not heard about the board's 3/31 decision, and when I emailed the bar that day, I was told that the treatment records they obtained were incomplete and insufficient (they obtained treatment records from the treatment referral agency, and not the actual treatment facility...) and that my application was not presented at the 3/31 meeting.

I was infuriated. Why on earth would they not tell me, in February, that the records they retrieved were not sufficient? I could have helped them obtain the correct records in time for the 3/31 meeting...

So I was told on 4/26 to sign another HIPPA release, this time for the treatment agency. The DUI was dismissed on 5/2, with the court finding that I'd completed all successful requirements of DUI treatment. Even this dismissal was not enough for the state bar.

I was most recently told that they had obtained all necessary records to render a decision on my application at the board of bar examiner's full meeting yesterday, 6/16.

They did not reach a decision. No explanation given. I'm only told that they'll meet again on 8/24 to consider my application again.


Do I have any recourse here? Their delays are literally ruining my life.

I recently applied for another state's bar exam, having been offered a promising attorney position in that state. I quit my job to begin preparing for this second bar exam. Two weeks in to studying, and *three months* after applying, the second state has informed me that I can't take their exam while my state is still investigating my character and fitness.

So, I lost that job opportunity. I can't practice law here. I can't even leave to practice law in another state.

I'm feeling that their actions are just... totally inexcusable. If the records they obtained in February were not sufficient to consider my application at the 3/31 meeting, why didn't they contact me to request more information? They've been requesting information from me all year along.

Why didn't anyone from my state (who knew back in March that I was applying in another state) -- or anyone from the second state, who knew back in March that I had an outstanding investigation going on in my home state -- not inform me that the pending investigation in my state would hold up my ability to take another state's exam?

Their delay is causing severe economic and professional hardship on me.

Any advice is appreciated.


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Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:10 pm

Re: Extreme Character & Fitness Investigation Delay -- any recourse?

Postby Suprman37 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:17 pm

Have you retained counsel in the first jurisdiction, preferably with someone who specializes in that area? There are a large number of jurisdictions that will not admit you on character and fitness grounds while you have a pending hearing in another jurisdiction (I know Illinois will require a board appearance while having one pending and Indiana will not certify your C/F).

I'd suggest getting counsel in your original jurisdiction. They could best tell you your next steps or whether you can actually file something with the Supreme Court to speed this along.

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