Character And Fitness

You, as the applicant, have worked extremely hard to achieve the goal of getting through the rigorous requirements of law school. You also have probably spent thousands of dollars in order to achieve this goal. Obtaining your license to practice law is all you have focused on for the past three years. Don’t go through this process alone. Obtaining representation will ensure that you are doing what is necessary to get through this process in the most effective manner possible. Let our experienced attorneys help you do what is necessary to protect what will be your most valuable asset: your law license

When applying to sit for the Michigan Bar Exam, you will be asked to fill out an Affidavit of Personal History. This Affidavit of Personal History will ask you a number of questions about your past including, but not limited to: questions about your criminal history, financial history, litigation history, and questions about your general fitness. You must be completely honest and candid when answering the questions asked of you on the application.

Obtaining a law license is a privilege, not a right. The burden is on the applicant to show by clear and convincing evidence that he or she currently possesses the requisite character to practice law in this State. There are a number of events that can cause the State Bar to question your fitness to practice law. Further investigation could be required in the form of asking the applicant to explain the circumstances surrounding these events and to prove that he or she currently does have the requisite character to be allowed to be admitted into the State Bar. These events include but are not limited to:

-criminal activity
-history of dishonest conduct
-academic misconduct
-neglect of financial responsibilities such as: failure to pay bills, over drafting of one’s account, failure to pay debts, and having a great deal of debt
-drug/alcohol dependency
-emotional instability
-not answering the Affidavit of Personal History honestly

If an applicant’s character is called into question, he or she may be required to have an informal discussion in front of the District Committee. The District Committee is made up of three volunteer lawyers who, during the informal hearing, will interview the applicant to determine whether they will give a positive review or negative review as to whether they believe that applicant should be given the privilege of practicing law. The District Committee’s decision is not binding and will be reviewed by the Standing Committee and, then, ultimately by the Board of Law Examiners.

If the District Committee gives a positive review and the Standing Committee and Board agree, the applicant may be sworn in to the State Bar of Michigan. If they do not agree, or if they choose, a formal hearing in front of the Standing Committee may be required.

There are many things that an applicant can do to prepare for this process. Counsel can help the applicant prepare, obtain the necessary items to show that he or she is qualified to practice law, and explain the process that the applicant will go through. You have spent countless hours studying, years in preparing to practice, and thousands of dollars in your education. Call us to ensure that your investment is protected.


Attorney Grievance

You have worked hard to earn your law license. It is the source of your livelihood which is why hearing the word “grievance” can strike extreme fear in your heart. Don’t risk the source of your livelihood or your reputation. You need an advocate that understands the process and what is most effective when facing a grievance. We are here to help you protect your interests and to do everything possible to dissipate the threat of losing your law license and having your reputation ruined by an attorney grievance proceeding.

Hearing the word “grievance” strikes fear in the heart of most attorneys. There is no standing requirement to file a grievance against an attorney which means anyone can do so. The first step in the grievance process is a Request for Investigation. This is sent by the Complainant to the Attorney Grievance Commission. The Commission will review the Request and determine whether the allegations have any merit. If it appears that the allegations do have merit, the Commission will require that the attorney who is the subject of the grievance to file an Answer to the Request for Investigation.

By answering the Request for Investigation in an honest and effective manner, the attorney may avoid further action in the form of a Formal Complaint being filed. This is why it is imperative to obtain legal representation as soon as possible to help the attorney in answering the Request for Investigation in a timely, effective, and competent manner. Many times, the receiving of a Request for investigation can be so stressful that an attorney becomes paralyzed with fear and this causes him or her to not act in a timely manner, which results in further consequences. The receiving of a Request for Investigation can also be a very emotional experience. The attorney needs an advocate to help him or her answer the Request for Investigation in a non-emotional, professional, detailed, and effective manner. Doing so may avoid a Formal Complaint being filed, a public hearing ensuing, and possible license suspension or revocation.

If a Formal Complaint is filed it is equally, if not more, imperative that you retain representation. We can help you by explaining the process, drafting a Formal Answer, and either dispelling the allegations or mitigating the consequences that you may be facing as the grieved attorney.

Do not hesitate to call us. The longer you wait the more difficult it can become to defend you against the allegations you are facing.

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Grand Rapids, MI 49504

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