Florida Bar Hearings - Law School and Bar Application Process

The Importance of Candor in a Self-Regulating Agency

Being candid when responding to the Florida Bar and law school application questions is crucial because the Florida Bar is a self-regulating agency meaning attorneys and judges monitor the conduct of other attorneys and judges. No third-party oversees and regulates the officers of the court in this state.

A self-regulating system like the Florida Bar’s can only survive if the Florida Board of Bar Examiners carefully vets lawyer/attorney applicants and limits admission to those whose moral compasses function with integrity.

A moral compass is like the magnetic compass that is still used in modern sea-going vessels. Magnetic compasses react naturally and independently of any outside power source. Similarly, a sound moral compass inherently reacts in a positive manner, and independently of any negative outside influences.

If you are a person who finds a wallet on the street and returns it to the rightful owner completely intact, it’s an indication that you’re an attorney applicant who may possess the sound moral compass and essential quality of candor that the Board seeks to preserve and maintain the Florida Bar’s system of self-regulation.

A ”real life” example of candor and integrity occurred when a Florida Bar attorney applicant received an "A"; in a law school class that significantly bumped up his GPA. However, he’d originally registered to take the class pass/fail.

Rather than hoping that nobody would notice, he promptly reported the error to the registrar. But while his GPA fell, his integrity and candor skyrocketed when he testified at hearing. The Board of the Florida Bar commended him at length and he was admitted as an attorney shortly thereafter.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners wants to see that, without being prompted to do so, an applicant is naturally and fully truthful. Giving a detailed, balanced accounting of an event in response to an application question, even if the applicant ultimately disagrees with or disputes another version of the facts, showcases invaluable attributes of candor and integrity.

Note that the term application as used by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners literally means any application law school, Bar, credit, mortgage, and job, to name a few the Board can look at and compare them all, much to the surprise of some attorney applicants. If there are any discrepancies between any of these applications, or omissions when comparing one against any other, the Board will inquire as to why, which calls the applicant’s ability to be candid into question.

In a perfect world, a Florida Bar applicant would (1) carefully read the law school and Florida Bar application questions before (2) gathering all available documentation related to any affirmative answers to use in drafting honest and comprehensive responses.

Don't rely on your memory - due diligence in securing documents has an exceptional pay-off, as it can help avoid creating a candor issue where none (yet) exists!

But it's not a perfect world, and it's never too late to amend a response that lacks candor in the Florida Board of Bar Examiners opinion, which is the only opinion that matters in this process.

I've often heard applicants asked in investigatory hearings, "Do you understand what it means to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"

It's the very definition of candor.

Compare your Florida Bar application/amendment responses to that statement with an impartial eye. If you have any doubt about whether your responses are nothing but truthful, during any stage of the character and fitness process, I can help you amend those responses to be more impartial, comprehensive, and in line with what the Board seeks to maximize your chances of admission to the Florida Bar.

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