Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reconsideration Denied In Bar Admission Matter Involving Unpaid Student Loans

An applicant for admission to the New York Bar sought an order vacating the denial or reargument. The Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department denied the relief, concluding that the procedures regulating the admissions process were satisfied and that the (anonymous) applicant had not established the character and general fitness for admission.

This appears to involve an application that we had previously discussed, where the applicant had accumulated student loans since 1983 and now owes approximately $480,000, including interest: "His recalcitrance in dealing with the lenders has been and continues to be incompatible with a lawyer's duties and responsibilities as a member of the Bar." (Mike Frisch)

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What a wonderful lesson in how to avoid discretionary review by the New York Court of Appeals! The Third Department has clearly used the motion to reargue as an opportunity to convert a really interesting legal issue (whether denial of an application based on large student loan debts meets minimum due process standards) and turned it into a mundane factual determination.

Of course, the opinion is totally conclusory with no facts put forth in support of the factual conclusion. Indeed, there is no legal discussion in support of the claim that the Third Department has afforded due process either. Pretty obvious to me that this is really just five judges sitting around and dictating their own sense of morality to others. In other words, yet another crap opinion from the Appellate Division.

In my opinion, this is an opening shot and a good lawyer should be able to use the weaknesses of this opinion to enhance the likelihood of leave to appeal being granted by the Court of Appeals. This still is a cutting edge issue. But it would take some serious work.


Posted by: FixedWing | Nov 19, 2009 7:49:03 PM

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