More frequent fitness exams?

December 10, 2009
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When you decided to become an attorney, one of the last steps you took was standing before the Board of Law Examiners Committee on Character and Fitness, which determined whether you should be admitted to the bar.

Attorneys deemed to have “good” moral character and fitness, as defined by Rule 12 for admission to the bar, go on to practice law in Indiana as long as they meet all the other requirements.

Chances are that’s the last time you had anyone evaluate your physical and mental suitability. But what if you had to have your character and fitness evaluated periodically throughout your legal career in order to maintain your license?

Attorneys, like a lot of professions, must take classes to continue to be in good standing. Why shouldn’t lawyers undergo evaluations by mental-health professionals and doctors to make sure you are still up to task for the job? After all, a lot can change after you first were admitted. It’s no secret attorneys are under a lot of stress, and stress can take its toll on people’s bodies and minds in various ways.

If attorneys were periodically evaluated, some of the issues that we read about in attorney disciplinary cases could possibly be prevented. Attorneys could seek help before a serious problem developed.

What about a requirement that if you want to be a judge, you have to have your character and fitness examined before running or applying for that post? Even though judges going through the appointment process sort of do this already, surely there is information that isn’t divulged to the judicial nominating commission. A confidential interview with a health professional could provide the nominating commission with a simple yes or no as to whether this person should be a judge. No other specifics would need to be divulged.

Just like the character and fitness test you took as a student, the ones you would take as an adult would be confidential. If it turns out you need further tests or meetings with health professionals, then so be it. You’d be able to treat the problem before it interferes with your work, and as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work, no one else would have to know. Because once you do something to violate the rules of professional conduct, it’s out in the open for anyone to find with a few simple clicks on the court’s Web site.
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  • Yes, more exams!!!
  • Anyone conservative who thinks this a good idea better think again.
    Here is why: http://news.ibj.com/ilemg/ILEmails/2009_12_10_ILDaily_Standard/Articles/5068.htm?1=1&EGEmailID=754&PublicationID=1&PublicationDesc=Indiana%20Lawyer%20Daily&EmailType=Standard

    See the pleadings against JLAP posted here: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2009/12/federal-lawsuit-charges-indiana-lawyer.html
  • A really bad idea
    Now that we see political correctness and government control and the Left's misuse of power just about everywhere around us, does anyone with a modicum of reason think the above is a good idea?
  • no way !!
    I am on meds for anxiety. It is really not a problem for me at this point but I have no desire to talk it over with some stranger. Likewise as other people have noted these "exams" can be abused to screen out people for arbitrary capricious reasons including "political correctness." Alexander Solzehnitsyn talked about the abuse of mental health services for political purposes and I do not think we are above it here in the USA.

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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