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Serious Academic Dishonesty in Law School and the Moral Character Requirement for Admission to the Bar


Margaret Johns


University of California, Davis - School of Law

Hollis L. Kulwin


University of California, Davis - School of Law

August 4, 2009

UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 184

Abstract:     
Our preliminary research suggested that serious academic dishonesty in law school might be treated confidentially, lightly punished, and withheld from bar examiners in connection with moral character certifications. If such a lax practice were followed, it could compromise the ability of bar examiners to conduct meaningful moral character investigations and might expose clients to the risk of representation by unscrupulous practitioners.

Our project has three aspects. First, to determine whether our impressions were accurate, we conducted a survey of law school administrators responsible for handling disciplinary matters and moral character reporting. This paper reports the results of this survey. Second, we researched the moral character certification process and offer some proposals for reform. Finally, we have suggested future research projects in the hope of generating further investigation and discussion of how law schools and other institutions can better protect the public from dishonest lawyers and improve the integrity of the legal profession.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: Legal education, professional responsibility, bar admissions, moral character requirement

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Date posted: August 7, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Johns, Margaret and Kulwin, Hollis L., Serious Academic Dishonesty in Law School and the Moral Character Requirement for Admission to the Bar (August 4, 2009). UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 184. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1444109 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1444109

Contact Information

Margaret Johns (Contact Author)
University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
Hollis L. Kulwin
University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
530-752-0243 (Phone)
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