Notice ‐ Law Student Registration with State Bar Authorities; Character & Fitness Reminders and Required Disclosures

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To: All Students

From: Markeisha J. Miner, Dean of Students

Re: Notice ‐ Law Student Registration with State Bar Authorities

Character & Fitness Reminders and Required Disclosures

Date: Fall 2021

Cornell Law School graduates sit for bar examinations in many states. In the most recent examination year, the three most common states were New York, California and Texas.

  1. Bar Admission and Registration Rules: It is each student’s responsibility to thoroughly review and comply with the rules for bar admission in the jurisdiction of your choice. The rules of certain states (not New York) require either notification to the bar admission authorities of intent to begin the study of law or registration with authorities when law studies begin. Failure to comply with the instructions may substantially delay admission to the bar as well as increase costs. You should obtain instructions from and address any concerns or questions to the proper source, usually the state board of examiners or the clerk of the court of highest jurisdiction, in the state(s) in which you intend to practice. For current bar requirements, you should consult The Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements, published annually by the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar and the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Due to the pandemic, many bar registration rules and deadlines have changed. Please access the most recent information at http://www.ncbex.org/publications/bar‐admissions‐guide/. You may also efficiently find jurisdiction‐specific information at http://www.ncbex.org/jurisdiction‐information/.
  2. Character and Fitness Certification: You should also be aware that all state bar authorities will request the Dean of the Law School or the Dean of Students to certify that an applicant is of good moral character and fit to be a member of the bar. The pamphlet entitled “Are you fit to be a lawyer?” discusses this subject in detail from the perspective of the New York bar. We encourage you to read it now.

Any student matriculating at Cornell Law School consents to the mutual exchange of information between the law school and bar examiners or related authorities for educational and bar admission purposes. Bar authorities often ask us for a copy of your law school admissions application, so please be sure that you have responded with 100% accuracy on all admissions questions, including those concerning character and fitness.

The Law School assumes that you have been completely candid in your application however, students have an ongoing duty to update the Law School immediately in writing if there are any changes, revisions, or omissions to the factual information submitted in your Cornell Law School application. This ongoing duty to update applies to the entire application, including the character and fitness inquiries, and to conduct that occurred both prior to and after enrollment. The ongoing duty to update includes the duty to provide all supporting documentation.

Procedures for Compliance With On‐Going Duty to Update Admissions Application: All students are expected to familiarize themselves with the policies and rules outlined in the Student Handbook. The 2020 ‐ 2021 Student Handbook (see section: Law School Procedures for Admissions Application Supplements) clearly outlines the procedures for notifying the Law School regarding changes to your admissions application. Please note that those procedures require disclosure of any responsive information regarding incidents that have occurred to date on or before October 1st. You must disclose any responsive information that arises during your time in law school as soon as possible after the incident occurs.

After October 1st of the student’s first year of study, neither the Administrative Committee nor the Admissions Committee will accept character and fitness amendment requests regarding conduct that occurred prior to matriculation at Cornell Law School.

If you are unsure about whether or not a matter must be disclosed, you should consult with me or Aimée Houghton, Assistant Dean for Graduate Legal Studies, if you are an LLM candidate. The failure to promptly disclose information responsive to the admissions application, or the disclosure itself depending on its nature, may result in cancellation of any scholarship, withdrawal of your admission offer, honor code proceedings, dismissal from Cornell Law School, rescission or cancellation of any degree conferred by Cornell Law School, or other disciplinary sanctions, including reporting to the state bar authorities in the jurisdictions where you register for the bar exam.

Please feel free to make an appointment to see me or Dean Houghton if you would like to discuss issues related to bar admission or bar registration.