Character and Fitness: Continuing Duty of Disclosure
Qualifications for Admission to the Bar
In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
All lawyers must be of requisite character and fitness to practice law. The duty to report character or fitness issues is continuous from the point when you apply to law school through graduation.
Incoming Students: Your admission application requires you to provide information relating to character and fitness. If you have not fully disclosed conduct that should have been reported, you should amend your application as soon as possible by submitting an e-mail to the Director of Admissions explaining the conduct and the reason for your failure to initially disclose it.
If conduct covered by the admission application character and fitness questions occurs after you have submitted your application but before you begin law school, you should amend your application by submitting an e-mail to the Director of Admissions explaining the conduct and when it occurred.
Please be sure to check the character and fitness requirements of the state in which you plan to practice. See state bar requirements below.
Other Students: Once you start school, you should disclose all conduct covered by the admission application character and fitness questions, which you have previously not reported, or which occurs after you commence law school, as soon as possible to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Because the Washburn University School of Law Honor Code calls for a commitment by students to adhere to the highest degree of professional integrity, an investigation might be undertaken with regard to the reported conduct.
State Bar Requirements
Before you can take the bar in Kansas, the State of Kansas will independently investigate your background for character and fitness issues, including, but not limited to prior academic and military history, juvenile and adult criminal history (including charges that were dismissed or expunged), credit history, and mental health history. Your law school file will also be examined by the bar authorities to ascertain whether you disclosed all required information in a timely manner.
For further information regarding admission to the bar in Kansas, please see:
- The Kansas Supreme Court's Character and Fitness Qualifications for Admission to the Bar (Rule 707).
- The Kansas Bar Application (622 KB PDF).
All states investigate character and fitness before licensing attorneys. See Bar Exam Qualifications, above. You can find the contact information for each state's bar examination authorities by using the "Directory-Bar Admission Offices" feature at the National Conference of Bar Examiners website (right column below Resources).
Washburn Law Admission Application Character and Fitness Questions
Because of the high ethical standards to which lawyers are held, failure to disclose a matter such as those described in the questions below may lead to more serious consequences than the matter itself. Please make full disclosure even if you have been advised by a lawyer, judge, or any other person that you need not disclose. Even if your record has been expunged, you must report offenses. If you have any doubt whether you should disclose a particular matter, you should disclose the matter. Failure to provide truthful answers or failure to inform the Office of Admissions of any changes to your answers may result in revocation of admission, disciplinary action by the law school, or denial of permission to practice law by the state in which you seek admission.
For any question to which you answer "yes," please provide a full explanation on a separate sheet or electronic attachment. Provide a full explanation of each and every event, and of the circumstances leading to each event. Provide the date, name and location of the court or institution involved, and explain the disposition of the matter.
Failure to provide correct and complete answers to any question on the application or failure to inform the Office of Admissions of any new developments prior to your enrollment that cause your answers to any question to no longer be correct may result in revocation of admission or disciplinary action by this School of Law, including but not limited to exclusion or expulsion. It may also result in denial of permission to practice law by any state in which you seek licensure.
Applicants who intend to practice law should be aware that admission to the bar in all states involves character, fitness, and other qualifications. Applicants are encouraged to determine what those requirements are in the state(s) in which they intend to practice by consulting the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
- * Have you ever been convicted, indicted, charged, arrested, taken into custody, or summoned for any felony, misdemeanor, juvenile offense, or infraction of the law? Offenses involving controlled substances must be reported, including minor in possession or driving under the influence. You must report offenses even if your record has been expunged. Minor traffic infractions, such as parking or speeding tickets, need not be reported.
___ Yes ___ No
- * Have you ever been expelled, suspended, placed on probation, or otherwise disciplined by any professional or military organization or had revoked a publicly granted license to practice a trade, business, or profession?
___ Yes ___ No
- * Have you ever been dismissed, suspended, placed on probation, or subjected to any other disciplinary action, hearing, or investigation of any type at any institution of higher education? Actions for failure to maintain a minimum GPA need not be reported.
___ Yes ___ No
* - answer required