Character and Fitness: Continuing Duty of Disclosure

Qualifications for Admission to the Bar

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

All lawyers must be of requisite character and fitness to practice law. The duty to report character or fitness issues is continuous from the point when you apply to law school through graduation.

Incoming Students: Your admission application requires you to provide information relating to character and fitness. If you have not fully disclosed conduct that should have been reported, you should amend your application as soon as possible by submitting an email to the Director of Admissions explaining the conduct and the reason for your failure to initially disclose it.

If conduct covered by the admission application character and fitness questions occurs after you have submitted your application but before you begin law school, you should amend your application by submitting an email to the Director of Admissions explaining the conduct and when it occurred.

Please be sure to check the character and fitness requirements of the state in which you plan to practice. See state bar requirements below.

Other Students: Once you start school, you should disclose all conduct covered by the admission application character and fitness questions (see below), which you have previously not reported, or which occurs after you commence law school, as soon as possible to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Because the Washburn University School of Law Honor Code calls for a commitment by students to adhere to the highest degree of professional integrity, an investigation might be undertaken with regard to the reported conduct.

State Bar Requirements

Kansas:

Before you can take the bar in Kansas, the State of Kansas will independently investigate your background for character and fitness issues, including, but not limited to prior academic and military history and juvenile and adult criminal history (including charges that were dismissed or expunged). Your law school file will also be examined by the bar authorities to ascertain whether you disclosed all required information in a timely manner.

Washburn does not ask about civil actions, but Kansas will ask about them, including divorce and bankruptcy.

Washburn Law does not ask about credit history but Kansas will ask about and check that history.

Washburn Law does not ask about mental health history, but Kansas will ask if you "currently have any condition or impairment (including, but not limited to, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, or a mental, emotional, or nervous disorder or condition) which in any way affects your ability to practice law in a competent and professional manner." "The mere fact of treatment for mental health problems or addictions is not, in itself, a basis on which an applicant is ordinarily denied admission, and the Board of Law Examiners routinely certifies for admission individuals who have demonstrated personal responsibility and maturity in dealing with mental health and addiction issues." Further, Kansas does not "seek information that is fairly characterized as situational counseling. Examples of situational counseling include stress counseling, domestic counseling, grief counseling, and counseling for eating or sleeping disorders."

For further information regarding admission to the bar in Kansas, please see:

Washburn Law Admission Application Character and Fitness Questions

For reference purposes see previous versions of the Washburn University School of Law Application for Admission (restricted to current students, faculty, and staff).

Prospective students should also review the "Character and Fitness" section on the Frequently Asked Admissions Questions page.

Short URL for this page:
http://washburnlaw.edu/characterandfitness