Character & Fitness

Any person seeking admission to the Louisiana Bar shall apply to the Committee on Bar Admissions AND shall request that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) prepare a character report.




Overview


The primary purpose of the character and fitness screening is to assure the protection of the public and to safeguard the administration of justice. The good moral character and fitness standards require that an applicant to the bar be one whose record of conduct justifies the trust of clients, adversaries, courts and others with respect to the professional duties owed to them. An applicant whose record shows a deficiency in honesty, trustworthiness, diligence or reliability may not be recommended for admission.

The Panel

Character and fitness determinations are made by the Committee’s Panel on Character and Fitness. The Panel consists of the Director of Character and Fitness and two other members of the Committee.


Factors and Considerations

The Panel may consider any factor or circumstance, including but not limited to:

  • Arrests or criminal charges, whether or not resulting in a conviction.
  • Any unlawful conduct.
  • Making or procuring any false or misleading statement or omission of relevant information including any false or misleading statement or omission during the application process for admission to the Bar of this state or any other state.
  • Misconduct in employment.
  • Acts involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
  • Commission of an act constituting the unauthorized practice of law.
  • Violation of the honor code of the applicant's law school or any other academic misconduct, including undergraduate misconduct.
  • Membership in an organization which advocates that the United States Government be overthrown by force, if the applicant indicates a present intent that such be done.
  • Abuse of process.
  • Litigation.
  • Neglect of financial responsibilities.
  • Neglect of professional obligations.
  • Violation of an order of a Court, including child support orders.
  • Military misconduct.
  • Evidence of mental or emotional instability.
  • Evidence of drug or alcohol misuse, abuse or dependency.
  • Denial of admission to the Bar in any other jurisdiction on character and/or fitness grounds.
  • Disciplinary action by a lawyer disciplinary agency of any jurisdiction.
  • Disciplinary action by a disciplinary agency or governing body of a profession or organization of which the applicant is or was a member.
  • Conduct of a kind which has been considered by the Court as grounds for suspension or revocation of the privilege to practice law in Louisiana.
  • Conviction or a plea of guilty or “no contest” to any misdemeanor or felony, including juvenile proceedings.
  • Any other conduct which reflects adversely upon the character or fitness of the applicant.

Weighing Prior Conduct

The Panel may consider the following factors in assigning weight and significance to prior conduct:

  • The applicant's age at the time of the conduct.
  • The amount of time which has elapsed since the occurrence of such conduct.
  • The reliability of the information concerning the conduct.
  • The seriousness of the conduct.
  • The factors underlying the conduct.
  • The cumulative effect of the conduct or information.
  • The applicant's positive social contributions since the conduct.
  • The applicant's candor and cooperation in the admissions process.
  • The materiality of any omissions or misrepresentations.
  • The evidence of rehabilitation.

Time Required to Make Determination

How long it takes the Committee to render a character and fitness determination depends on many factors which may include, among others: When your application was submitted to the NCBE; how long it takes for the NCBE to receive responses and verifications which comprise its preliminary investigation; and whether the Committee determines further inquiry is necessary.

Applicants ARE allowed to sit for the bar exam if their character and fitness application is still pending before the Committee.


Updates to Information Submitted

If your application is still being processed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, you should provide updates to the NCBE along with relevant documentation using the NCBE's online interface. If your application has already been processed by the NCBE, you should forward updates in writing to the Committee. Please contact the Committee's Character and Fitness Department for assistance.

National Conference of Bar Examiners


Bar applicants must complete a character report from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) in order to seek admission to practice law in Louisiana. The investigation process starts for Louisiana law students during their second year of law school. The process continues as the applicant enters his/her third year by filing a Supplemental character report.

Applicants applying for the first time must also complete a Request for Preparation of Character Report through the NCBE.

Once a preliminary NCBE report is returned to the LASCBA, our Panel will review the results and determine if further inquiry is necessary.

After the applicant completes the online portion of the Request for Preparation of a Character Report in accordance with the directions provided by the NCBE; mailing and/or submission instructions will display in a completion checklist after the online character application is finalized.


 NCBE Online Request for the Preparation of Character Report

IMPORTANT! Applications cannot be considered on-time or complete without notice of a submission of the request for the Preparation of Character Report from the NCBE. Failure to do so for Bar Exam applications may lead to late fees and possibily the inability to sit.

It is the applicant's responsibility to keep information up-to-date and to file amendments as necessary should there be changes in address, employment, name, violations or other pertinant information.

Character & Fitness: FAQs


Student Registrant Program ( top)
  • Pursuant to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XVII Section 4 (A), every prospective applicant for admission to the Bar of this State who is enrolled in one of the ABA accredited law schools located in Louisiana is required to participate in the Law Student Registration Program.

  • If you attended an ABA accredited law school in Louisiana but did not participate in law student registration, you will be required to pay a late fee at the time you submit your application to sit for the bar examination. Furthermore, the processing of your Character and Fitness Application will be delayed.


Disclosure Requirements ( top)

Adverse Preliminary Determination ( top)
  • A notice of adverse preliminary determination means that your law student registration application and or other information obtained by the Committee reveals certain information reflecting adversely on your moral character and fitness. Within 30 days of receipt of the notice, you may submit a written response to the adverse information received by the Committee. Please see La. Sup. Ct. Rule XVII, Sec. 4(B).

  • Not necessarily. The adverse preliminary determination letter informs that the Committee has obtained certain information that reflects adversely on your good moral character and fitness, invites you to respond and provides an opportunity for you to address any concerns the Committee may have. A final determination as to whether the Committee will certify you for admission will be made at the time you apply to sit for the bar examination. If you are able to adequately address the concerns of the Committee, you will not be prevented from sitting for the bar exam or from being admitted.


Denied Certification of Character and Fitness ( top)

Keep Your Info Up-To-Date!

It is the applicant's responsibility to notify the Committee on Bar Admissions of any mailing address, telephone number or email address changes. This information can be updated online here.

Latest News:

11/02/2022

November Office Closures : The Committee on Bar Admissions will be closed on November 11, 2022 in observance of Veteran's Day and on November 24, 25 in observance of Thanksgiving. 

09/27/2022

Announcement-Bar Admissions Fee Increase : By order dated September 19, 2022, the Louisiana Supreme Court approved an increase to bar admissions fees. (See attached order) The increase will be applied to fees paid on November 2, 2022 and beyond. 
... Read More 
Updated on 09/27/2022.

See All News Items