Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Florida Supreme Court has rejected the recommendation of its Board of Bar Examiners to conditionally admit an applicant for admission.
The applicant must wait three years to reapply.
The applicant received a law degree in 1998 and passed the Florida bar exam in 2011.
A hearing was held in light of issues of character and fitness.
The applicant was alleged to be financially irresponsible over the preceding 12 years, not complied with tax laws, lacked candor with respect to past credit issues and suffered from a "major depressive disorder."
The depression had led to suicide attempts and hospitalizations. The applicant failed to amend her application to disclose treatment with a psychiatrist.
The court majority:
Although Applicant attempted to provide explanations for some of her misconduct, the Bar must not be a haven for those who have clearly violated the law repeatedly and...provided information that is totally false, misleading and lacking in candor.
A dissent finds this approach "too harsh" and would conditionally admit, noting that the applicant is admitted in California. The dissent notes that the applicant's ex-husband was the "major cause" of the financial problems and finds no basis to deny admission in the depression diagnosis. (Mike Frisch)