You were accepted to law school, made it through your 1L year, found a good summer job after your 2L year, and have worked hard to prove yourself through law school. Maybe you have already passed the Arizona Bar Exam. You may even be admitted to practice in another state. But you’re worried about the Character & Fitness portion of Arizona attorney admissions. Maybe you had an underage drinking ticket when you were in college. Or maybe you have a series of misdemeanors from your youth. The SWLC’s Arizona Character & Fitness Attorney can help you through this difficult process.
As part of the admission process to the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court’s Character & Fitness Committee will review your background and decide if you should be recommended for admission to practice law in Arizona. The Arizona Character & Fitness process is rigorous. You are required to provide a long list of disclosures that includes, among other things, all crimes, including juvenile offenses, whether felonies or misdemeanors, for which you were convicted; all contact with police even if it did not result in a conviction; any academic misconduct; employment history, including any times you were fired; substance abuse, including alcohol; credit report, including evidence of any neglect of financial responsibilities. It is imperative that you are completely honest on your application. Failure to disclose conduct can have worse consequences than if you’d simply honestly disclosed the underlying conduct.
In some cases, the Committee will require you to attend an informal hearing, a formal hearing, or both.
You have the burden of proving your Character & Fitness by clear and convincing evidence. Often times, law students worry too much about small infractions on their record. In many cases, those applicants simply file their applications and later learn that they have been recommended for admission. Yet other law students downplay the seriousness of the process and find themselves surprised when they receive notice of an informal hearing.
Whether you are at the beginning of your Arizona Character & Fitness application, of you have just received a notice of an informal hearing and don’t know how to proceed, the SWLC’s Arizona Character & Fitness Attorney can help. In the early stages of your application, we can provide assistance on obtaining documents from courts, police departments, and other organizations that hold your records. We can help ensure that you reveal all conduct that is required by the application. At the informal hearing stage, we can you prepare your case, which includes finding and preparing character witnesses, performing mock sessions to prepare you for the hearing, and representing you at the informal hearing. If you are required to attend a formal hearing, which is a much more elaborate process, the SWLC’s Arizona Character & Fitness attorney can ensure that you are fully prepared to prove that you have the Character & Fitness to be admitted to the State Bar of Arizona.
With Character & Fitness, you should take the process seriously from the very beginning. If you have any concerns about your application, contacting the SWLC’s Arizona Character & Fitness Attorney sooner rather than later will help make the process as smooth and painless as possible.