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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Questions at the Bar

I got a letter from the State Bar. This is only a notch below getting one from the IRS in anxiety production.

It turned out to be from the Office of Admissions. A questionnaire asking my opinion of the "moral character" of someone who has applied to the Bar.

As lawyers are an anal-retentive lot, they felt it necessary to define their terms.

"Moral character includes qualities of honesty, fairness, candor, trustworthiness, observance of fiduciary responsibility, respect for and obedience to the laws ... and respect for the rights of others and for the judicial process."

Although I’ve known this applicant and his family all of his life, I had to think long and hard about these issues. Knowing that he had been an Eagle Scout helped ... not sure if he earned the "fiduciary responsibility" merit badge, though.

Anyway, I checked the box.

That the Bar cares about these qualities in lawyers may come as a shock to anyone familiar with lawyer jokes or movies. You might think the qualifications demanded more realistic qualities:

... dissembling, ruthlessness, deception, backstabbing, greed, ability to parse the law, trampling the rights of individuals as well as the process...

Maybe the questionnaire should be part of a continuing investigation, asked say every year about every lawyer already admitted to practice.

Then I would really sweat the State Bar letters ... more than the ones from the IRS.

Anyway, good luck, Red. (See my other post about this subject.)


  1. I actually did get my personal management merit badge, which included fiduciary responsibility, so I won't make a liar out of you. Thanks for vouching for me.

  2. I can not attest to any personal knowledge of the guy. He never tells me anything and I can't find anything on Google or MySpace or Facebook and being a good mother, I've tried). His girlfriend, whom I like a lot, seems to like him and put up with him which may be a plus on his side. He doesn't approve of killing even a fly (although I've gotten some looks that felt like stabs in the heart) and he seems to be law abiding (not even a traffic ticket). He has good personal hygiene - if he's ever taken to the ER I'm sure all the staff will be admiring his clean underwear. That should be enough to convince the bar that he's of good enough moral character to represent some of the most heinous of the accused. I mean, how did some of the creeps that I've seen in court when I've done jury duty ever get commendations let alone approval? There has to be someone that all the lawyer jokes are based on - though maybe they aren't CA lawyers where the standard is so high.