Committee on Character Attorney in Red Bank, NJ
If you sat for the New Jersey Bar Exam and now face questioning or a hearing before the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Character, Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC can guide you through the legal process. As an attorney on the Committee on Character for four years and in representing numerous bar candidates in private practice for the past five years, our principal attorney has participated in many hearings on both sides and will be a highly effective advocate for you. We are uniquely qualified to help you navigate through what is most likely an unfamiliar process for you. If your license to practice law or your admission is at stake, our firm will handle your matter with the utmost diligence. For a consultation with an experienced attorney, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC.
What is the Committee on Character?
To become a lawyer in New Jersey, you must obtain a Certification of Character from the Committee on Character. The Committee, comprised of volunteer New Jersey attorneys, is tasked with determining each bar candidate’s character and fitness to practice law, including the traits of honesty, integrity, financial responsibility and trustworthiness.
In addition to reviewing the certified statement provided by each candidate, the Committee on Character also obtains credit history reports, criminal records, and driving records. The members may also request additional information from other sources, including named references, current and former employers, federal and state regulators, law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, financial institutions and medical personnel.
A Committee on Character member may also request a more rigorous investigation of a candidate’s fitness to practice law. Conduct that may trigger an investigation includes:
- Nondisclosure of information
- Academic dishonesty
- Arrest history
- Financial issues, including failure to pay taxes or student loan default
- Allegations of dishonesty, including fraud or perjury
- Employment misconduct
- Violations of court orders, such as support and alimony orders
- Current or past substance abuse
- Evidence of mental health disorders.
What should a New Jersey bar candidate expect?
An investigation by the Committee on Character can be confusing and stressful. To protect your professional future, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable New Jersey law firm on your side. We will walk you through every step of the process, from filing your initial Certified Statement of Candidate to the final appeal before the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Pursuant to the Regulations Governing the Committee on Character, the process may include the following procedures:
- Interviews: A candidate and other individuals with knowledge relevant to the candidate’s character and fitness to practice law may be asked to participate in an informal interview before the committee. Testimony may be taken under oath, and the candidate is entitled to legal representation at the interview.
- Hearing: If a member of the committee declines to certify the candidate, a hearing will be scheduled. The burden is on the candidate to establish by clear and convincing evidence, good character and current fitness. Factors that the hearing panel considers include the severity of the conduct, the age at which it occurred, the candidate’s candor and honesty before the committee, and evidence of rehabilitation. The candidate is entitled to have legal representation, to present witnesses and to cross-examine witnesses.
- Appeal: A candidate may appeal a recommendation by a hearing panel to withhold certification or to certify with conditions. The appeal process may include review by a statewide panel and a final determination by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
While New Jersey has very stringent standards on bar admissions, we have a successful track record before the Committee on Character. Whatever alleged misconduct or fitness issues stand in the way of your bar admission, we will work tirelessly on your behalf and guide you every step of the way
Contact a proven Red Bank lawyer for advocacy and results
When fighting to obtain your law license, experience matters. Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC has the skills and knowledge needed to successfully represent you before the Committee on Character. For a consultation, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC.
Please note that the free half-hour consultation is not applicable to Committee on Character matters. Our regular office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Flexible hours are available upon request.