#2437 Character & Fitness: the Impact of Question 26 on Bar Admission for Lawyers of Color

Presented on June 2, 2022

1.0 CLE credit: Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias (CLE credit approved for experienced attorneys)

Question 26 of the New York Bar Application asks, “Have you ever, either as an adult or a juvenile, been cited, ticketed, arrested, taken into custody, charged with, indicted, convicted, or tried for, or pleaded guilty to, the commission of any felony or misdemeanor or the violation of any law, or been the subject of any juvenile delinquency or youthful offender proceeding?…Candor throughout the admission process is required of all applicants, and even convictions that have been expunged should be disclosed in response to this question.”

This program explores how this question affects people of color and their participation in the legal profession. Attorney Carly Hite discusses the history, disparate impact on people of color, and reform efforts under way. Cheryl Smith Fisher speaks as a member of the Character & Fitness Committee, discussing their rules and regulations, and how they handle such issues locally. Finally, attorney TheArthur Duncan shares his compelling lived experience as a former felon who went through the law school and bar application process with uncertainty about whether he would be allowed to practice.

Vicky L. Valvo, Esq., (ret.) Mental Hygiene Legal Services

Carolyn “Carly” Hite, Esq., Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc.
Cheryl Smith Fisher, Esq., Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP
TheArthur A. Duncan, Esq., TheArthur Duncan Law Firm

Stephanie Joy Calhoun, Esq., Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Maura O’Donnell, Esq., Education Subcommittee, Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Available Format: OnDemand

OnDemand: $40 members (Promo Code: member2017), $50 non-members

CLE Credit

Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias

Credit Hours