Lawyers and Lawsuits

Becoming a Lawyer

If a person passes the bar exam, is he or she automatically entitled to practice law?

No, in many states a person can pass the bar exam but still not pass a character and fitness examination, which may occur after the bar test. Passing the bar exam is simply one part of the applicant’s responsibility. He or she must also demonstrate to an interviewer—usually a practicing attorney in his or her locale—that he or she is fit to practice law.

A well-known case in Illinois involved an admitted white supremacist named Matthew Hale, who graduated from Southern Illinois law school and passed the bar exam. However, an Illinois Committee on Character and Fitness refused to allow him to practice law.


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