Note: While every jurisdiction evaluates the character and fitness of applicants for admission, not all publish codified standards under which they do so.

Click anywhere in a row to see a summary of that jurisdiction’s answers.

Supplemental Remarks

Connecticut  Rebuttable presumption of lack of good moral character.

District of Columbia  A formal hearing conducted by the Committee on Admissions is mandatory for applicants who have a felony conviction.

Florida  Not an automatic bar, but restoration of civil rights is required to apply for admission. Applicant must provide satisfactory evidence of good moral character.

Georgia  Not an automatic bar, but a pardon or restoration of civil rights is necessary.

Illinois  Convicted felons must first receive character and fitness certification before being permitted to write a bar examination.

Indiana  Conviction of felony is prima facie evidence of lack of requisite good moral character. Applicant has the burden to overcome prima facie
evidence.

Kansas  Persons convicted of a felony are ineligible to apply for admission until 5 years after the date of successful completion of sentence or period of probation.

Mississippi  Persons convicted of a felony except manslaughter or a violation of the Internal Revenue Code are ineligible.

Missouri  Persons convicted of a felony are ineligible to apply for admission until 5 years after the date of successful completion of sentence or period of probation and until they meet all of the other requirements specified in rule pertaining to ineligibility.

Montana  An applicant found guilty of a felony is conclusively presumed not to have present good moral character and fitness. The presumption ceases upon completion of the sentence and/or period of probation.

Ohio  Applicants convicted of a felony must meet specific conditions and undergo additional review before they can be approved.

Oregon  An applicant shall not be eligible for admission after having been convicted of a crime, the commission of which would have led to disbarment in all the circumstances present, had the person been an Oregon attorney at the time of conviction.

Texas  Felony conviction or probation for a felony offense with or without an adjudication of guilt is a bar to application for 5 years after completion of sentence/probation; thereafter, the applicant must demonstrate present good moral character.

Northern Mariana Islands  Ineligible unless applicant has been granted full pardon.

Palau  Ineligible unless applicant has been granted full pardon.

Alabama  The Committee on Character and Fitness of the Alabama State Bar conducts hearings and makes a determination for law student registrants and applicants seeking admission by bar examination, reciprocity, and transfer of UBE score.

Colorado  The Office of Attorney Admissions reviews all applications and certifies to the Colorado Supreme Court the applicants found to have met their burden demonstrating the character and fitness to practice law.

Georgia  The Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants is separate and distinct from the Board of Bar Examiners. The Fitness Board makes character and fitness determinations. The Office of Bar Admissions reports to both Boards, and both Boards must certify an applicant to the ­Supreme Court.

Illinois  Committee appointed by the Supreme Court determines whether applicants having been assigned to the committee for certification possess good moral character and general fitness for admission to the practice of law.

Indiana  The Indiana Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness interviews each applicant and then submits a report and recommendation to the Board of Law Examiners, which makes a final determination.

Kentucky  The Character and Fitness Committee is responsible for determining the eligibility of applicants for admission to the Kentucky Bar.

Maryland  Character Committees appointed by the Court of Appeals of Maryland perform character investigations and interviews and make recommendations to the State Board of Law Examiners.

Mississippi  The Board of Bar Admissions appoints persons to serve on the Committee on Character and Fitness. This committee reviews applications, conducts conferences and hearings with applicants, and makes recommendations to the Board. The Board makes the final determination to approve or deny an applicant on character and fitness grounds.

Montana  Montana’s Character & Fitness Commission, which is separate from the Board of Bar Examiners, evaluates all applicants to determine
certification.

New York  Character and fitness applications are processed by 1 of 4 appellate departments.

Ohio  Local bar association admissions committees make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, which makes final determinations. This Board is separate from the Board of Bar Examiners.

Rhode Island  The Rhode Island Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness makes character and fitness determinations for the Court.

Vermont  The Character and Fitness Committee.

Virgin Islands  The Committee of Bar Examiners evaluates all applicants seeking admission by special admission, bar examination, UBE score transfer, and admission on motion to make character and fitness determinations for the Court.

Washington  The Washington Supreme Court makes the final character and fitness determinations.

West Virginia  District Character Committee conducts character and fitness investigation and interviews each applicant, then submits report and ­recommendation to the Board of Law Examiners.

Alabama  For exam applicants, character and fitness certification is issued prior to the bar exam unless a hearing before the Committee on Character & Fitness is required. If an exam applicant is required to appear for a hearing, the hearing will only be held if the applicant passes the bar exam.

Arkansas  Completion of the character and fitness investigations process for any applicants presenting issues is done after all other requirements for eligibility have been met, including passing the bar exam and securing a passing score on the MPRE.

District of Columbia  Applicants are required to submit an application that contains information related to character and fitness before sitting for the bar exam; however, applicants are not reviewed for character and fitness until they have passed the bar exam and obtained an MPRE score of 75 or higher.

Florida  Applicants are required to submit the character and fitness application at the time they apply for an examination. The investigation does not have to be complete in order for an applicant to take the examination.

Hawaii  Exceptions are determined based on information provided by each applicant (e.g., criminal history, foreign-educated attorneys, attorney complaints, grievances, etc.).

Illinois  Applicants who fall under Rule 704b (felony convictions, have been disbarred in another jurisdiction, pending disciplinary charges or felonies, etc.) must have character and fitness approval prior to sitting for the exam. All other applicants may sit for the exam prior to character and fitness approval.

Kentucky  In rare circumstances the Character and Fitness Committee may approve someone to sit under waiver but not release that applicant’s grades unless and until the applicant is approved for Character and Fitness.

Massachusetts  Character and fitness investigations are initiated upon the filing of a petition for admission and are completed in advance of release of bar exam results. Where a petitioner is unsuccessful on the bar exam, the character and fitness investigation is reopened if and when the petitioner applies to retake the bar exam.

Michigan  Under Michigan Board of Law Examiners Rule 2, the Board may permit an applicant to sit for the examination prior to character and fitness approval. However, this is in the Board’s discretion.

Missouri  A character and fitness investigation is commenced upon receipt of a properly filed application and is not required to be completed in order to sit for the bar examination.

Nebraska  A final determination can be deferred to allow an applicant to sit for the exam. New rules are being considered to defer all character and fitness determinations until after the bar exam so that bar exam behavior may be considered in final character and fitness approval.

North Dakota  The character and fitness investigation is conducted simultaneously with a bar exam application being filed. The investigation does not need to be completed in order for an applicant to sit for the exam.

Pennsylvania  Pennsylvania begins character and fitness investigations on applicants as soon as their applications are accepted. A final review is done post-exam.

Rhode Island  Rhode Island begins its character and fitness investigations process prior to the bar examination with one-on-one character and fitness interviews between the applicant and a member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. The purpose of that interview is to determine whether further hearing before the entire Committee is necessary. If so, full hearings are held after the examination for those applicants who pass the examination.

South Dakota  Character and fitness investigations are ongoing. A determination of character and fitness is not made until applicant passes the bar exam.

Wisconsin  Applicants apply for character and fitness at the same time as they apply for the examination using one application. The character and fitness investigation commences prior to the exam, but applicants are not required to pass the investigation prior to sitting for the exam. If the applicant passes the exam, the investigation is completed; if the applicant fails the exam, the applicant’s file is closed and the investigation is not completed.

Palau  Applicants must provide an original certificate of good standing from the bar of each jurisdiction in which the applicant is a member of the bar, or, if the applicant is not and has never been a member of any bar, a letter from the applicant’s law school attesting to the applicant’s good moral character.

Virgin Islands  The NCBE Request for Preparation of a Character and Fitness Report with the attendant fees is required upon the filing of the Application for Admission to the Virgin Islands Bar, which allows the investigation process to be conducted prior to the bar examination.

Texas  Rule provides for probationary licensing for chemical dependency and other circumstances in which the Board determines that the protection of the public requires temporary monitoring.

Maine  The Board evaluates each applicant’s character and fitness after he or she passes the bar exam. According to the rule, the Board can advise the Court to grant a conditional admission. However, the rule does not state categories of cases in which the Board should recommend a conditional admission.

Puerto Rico  Committee on Character evaluates each examinee’s character and fitness after he/she passes the bar exam. According to the rule, the Committee can advise the Court to grant a conditional admission. However, the rule does not state categories of cases in which the Committee should recommend a conditional admission.

Arkansas  Issuance of license may be deferred for up to 2 years pending further evaluation, drug tests, etc.

California  California has an abeyance program where an applicant enters into an agreement with the Committee of Bar Examiners for a set period of time. If an applicant successfully completes the program, it is likely he or she will receive a positive moral character determination without further hearings.

Minnesota  The Board may postpone determination on an applicant’s file if the file contains recent character and fitness issues and a relatively brief record of rehabilitation from past conduct. The period varies but is often 9–12 months in duration. The Board may offer this option to allow the applicant an opportunity to more fully develop and document a history of rehabilitation and evidence that he or she is able to satisfy the essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law at the time the Board considers and makes a final determination of the application. An applicant is not required to accept an offer to postpone determination and may request that the Board instead make a determination based upon the evidence that then exists.

Supplemental Remarks

Connecticut  Rebuttable presumption of lack of good moral character.

District of Columbia  A formal hearing conducted by the Committee on Admissions is mandatory for applicants who have a felony conviction.

Florida  Not an automatic bar, but restoration of civil rights is required to apply for admission. Applicant must provide satisfactory evidence of good moral character.

Georgia  Not an automatic bar, but a pardon or restoration of civil rights is necessary.

Illinois  Convicted felons must first receive character and fitness certification before being permitted to write a bar examination.

Indiana  Conviction of felony is prima facie evidence of lack of requisite good moral character. Applicant has the burden to overcome prima facie
evidence.

Kansas  Persons convicted of a felony are ineligible to apply for admission until 5 years after the date of successful completion of sentence or period of probation.

Mississippi  Persons convicted of a felony except manslaughter or a violation of the Internal Revenue Code are ineligible.

Missouri  Persons convicted of a felony are ineligible to apply for admission until 5 years after the date of successful completion of sentence or period of probation and until they meet all of the other requirements specified in rule pertaining to ineligibility.

Montana  An applicant found guilty of a felony is conclusively presumed not to have present good moral character and fitness. The presumption ceases upon completion of the sentence and/or period of probation.

Ohio  Applicants convicted of a felony must meet specific conditions and undergo additional review before they can be approved.

Oregon  An applicant shall not be eligible for admission after having been convicted of a crime, the commission of which would have led to disbarment in all the circumstances present, had the person been an Oregon attorney at the time of conviction.

Texas  Felony conviction or probation for a felony offense with or without an adjudication of guilt is a bar to application for 5 years after completion of sentence/probation; thereafter, the applicant must demonstrate present good moral character.

Northern Mariana Islands  Ineligible unless applicant has been granted full pardon.

Palau  Ineligible unless applicant has been granted full pardon.

Alabama  The Committee on Character and Fitness of the Alabama State Bar conducts hearings and makes a determination for law student registrants and applicants seeking admission by bar examination, reciprocity, and transfer of UBE score.

Colorado  The Office of Attorney Admissions reviews all applications and certifies to the Colorado Supreme Court the applicants found to have met their burden demonstrating the character and fitness to practice law.

Georgia  The Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants is separate and distinct from the Board of Bar Examiners. The Fitness Board makes character and fitness determinations. The Office of Bar Admissions reports to both Boards, and both Boards must certify an applicant to the ­Supreme Court.

Illinois  Committee appointed by the Supreme Court determines whether applicants having been assigned to the committee for certification possess good moral character and general fitness for admission to the practice of law.

Indiana  The Indiana Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness interviews each applicant and then submits a report and recommendation to the Board of Law Examiners, which makes a final determination.

Kentucky  The Character and Fitness Committee is responsible for determining the eligibility of applicants for admission to the Kentucky Bar.

Maryland  Character Committees appointed by the Court of Appeals of Maryland perform character investigations and interviews and make recommendations to the State Board of Law Examiners.

Mississippi  The Board of Bar Admissions appoints persons to serve on the Committee on Character and Fitness. This committee reviews applications, conducts conferences and hearings with applicants, and makes recommendations to the Board. The Board makes the final determination to approve or deny an applicant on character and fitness grounds.

Montana  Montana’s Character & Fitness Commission, which is separate from the Board of Bar Examiners, evaluates all applicants to determine
certification.

New York  Character and fitness applications are processed by 1 of 4 appellate departments.

Ohio  Local bar association admissions committees make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, which makes final determinations. This Board is separate from the Board of Bar Examiners.

Rhode Island  The Rhode Island Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness makes character and fitness determinations for the Court.

Vermont  The Character and Fitness Committee.

Virgin Islands  The Committee of Bar Examiners evaluates all applicants seeking admission by special admission, bar examination, UBE score transfer, and admission on motion to make character and fitness determinations for the Court.

Washington  The Washington Supreme Court makes the final character and fitness determinations.

West Virginia  District Character Committee conducts character and fitness investigation and interviews each applicant, then submits report and ­recommendation to the Board of Law Examiners.

Alabama  For exam applicants, character and fitness certification is issued prior to the bar exam unless a hearing before the Committee on Character & Fitness is required. If an exam applicant is required to appear for a hearing, the hearing will only be held if the applicant passes the bar exam.

Arkansas  Completion of the character and fitness investigations process for any applicants presenting issues is done after all other requirements for eligibility have been met, including passing the bar exam and securing a passing score on the MPRE.

District of Columbia  Applicants are required to submit an application that contains information related to character and fitness before sitting for the bar exam; however, applicants are not reviewed for character and fitness until they have passed the bar exam and obtained an MPRE score of 75 or higher.

Florida  Applicants are required to submit the character and fitness application at the time they apply for an examination. The investigation does not have to be complete in order for an applicant to take the examination.

Hawaii  Exceptions are determined based on information provided by each applicant (e.g., criminal history, foreign-educated attorneys, attorney complaints, grievances, etc.).

Illinois  Applicants who fall under Rule 704b (felony convictions, have been disbarred in another jurisdiction, pending disciplinary charges or felonies, etc.) must have character and fitness approval prior to sitting for the exam. All other applicants may sit for the exam prior to character and fitness approval.

Kentucky  In rare circumstances the Character and Fitness Committee may approve someone to sit under waiver but not release that applicant’s grades unless and until the applicant is approved for Character and Fitness.

Massachusetts  Character and fitness investigations are initiated upon the filing of a petition for admission and are completed in advance of release of bar exam results. Where a petitioner is unsuccessful on the bar exam, the character and fitness investigation is reopened if and when the petitioner applies to retake the bar exam.

Michigan  Under Michigan Board of Law Examiners Rule 2, the Board may permit an applicant to sit for the examination prior to character and fitness approval. However, this is in the Board’s discretion.

Missouri  A character and fitness investigation is commenced upon receipt of a properly filed application and is not required to be completed in order to sit for the bar examination.

Nebraska  A final determination can be deferred to allow an applicant to sit for the exam. New rules are being considered to defer all character and fitness determinations until after the bar exam so that bar exam behavior may be considered in final character and fitness approval.

North Dakota  The character and fitness investigation is conducted simultaneously with a bar exam application being filed. The investigation does not need to be completed in order for an applicant to sit for the exam.

Pennsylvania  Pennsylvania begins character and fitness investigations on applicants as soon as their applications are accepted. A final review is done post-exam.

Rhode Island  Rhode Island begins its character and fitness investigations process prior to the bar examination with one-on-one character and fitness interviews between the applicant and a member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. The purpose of that interview is to determine whether further hearing before the entire Committee is necessary. If so, full hearings are held after the examination for those applicants who pass the examination.

South Dakota  Character and fitness investigations are ongoing. A determination of character and fitness is not made until applicant passes the bar exam.

Wisconsin  Applicants apply for character and fitness at the same time as they apply for the examination using one application. The character and fitness investigation commences prior to the exam, but applicants are not required to pass the investigation prior to sitting for the exam. If the applicant passes the exam, the investigation is completed; if the applicant fails the exam, the applicant’s file is closed and the investigation is not completed.

Palau  Applicants must provide an original certificate of good standing from the bar of each jurisdiction in which the applicant is a member of the bar, or, if the applicant is not and has never been a member of any bar, a letter from the applicant’s law school attesting to the applicant’s good moral character.

Virgin Islands  The NCBE Request for Preparation of a Character and Fitness Report with the attendant fees is required upon the filing of the Application for Admission to the Virgin Islands Bar, which allows the investigation process to be conducted prior to the bar examination.

Texas  Rule provides for probationary licensing for chemical dependency and other circumstances in which the Board determines that the protection of the public requires temporary monitoring.

Maine  The Board evaluates each applicant’s character and fitness after he or she passes the bar exam. According to the rule, the Board can advise the Court to grant a conditional admission. However, the rule does not state categories of cases in which the Board should recommend a conditional admission.

Puerto Rico  Committee on Character evaluates each examinee’s character and fitness after he/she passes the bar exam. According to the rule, the Committee can advise the Court to grant a conditional admission. However, the rule does not state categories of cases in which the Committee should recommend a conditional admission.

Arkansas  Issuance of license may be deferred for up to 2 years pending further evaluation, drug tests, etc.

California  California has an abeyance program where an applicant enters into an agreement with the Committee of Bar Examiners for a set period of time. If an applicant successfully completes the program, it is likely he or she will receive a positive moral character determination without further hearings.

Minnesota  The Board may postpone determination on an applicant’s file if the file contains recent character and fitness issues and a relatively brief record of rehabilitation from past conduct. The period varies but is often 9–12 months in duration. The Board may offer this option to allow the applicant an opportunity to more fully develop and document a history of rehabilitation and evidence that he or she is able to satisfy the essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law at the time the Board considers and makes a final determination of the application. An applicant is not required to accept an offer to postpone determination and may request that the Board instead make a determination based upon the evidence that then exists.