What's Remorse Got to Do, Got to Do with it? Bar Admission for Those with Youthful Offenses
42 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2011
Date Written: January 31, 2011
This article questions whether the use of remorse in the bar admission process for those with what might be called "youthful offenses," such as DUI and minor drug use, furthers the goals of the character and fitness process.
Using literature from the fields of social and legal philosophy and ethics on the nature of apology and remorse, this article argues that inquiry into a bar applicant’s remorse in cases of youthful offenses fails to serve significantly the underlying purpose of the process. It is also likely to encourage deceit by applicants and produce ethical dilemmas for lawyers and law professors. Use of this factor muddies this already complex task and adds little, if anything, to the Committee’s ability to access the applicant’s candor during the process.
Improving analytical precision in the character and fitness process is critical to worthy individuals who, based on their past conduct and the difficulty in getting a reliable opinion on their admissibility, might be dissuaded from applying to law school or pursing bar admission. Thus, this article addresses an important and relevant area of concern.
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