Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Pretend" Robbery Presents Real Licensing Problem - COTW #25

Welcome to a belated edition of Case of the Week. This week's case presents a licensing decision from the New Hampshire Supreme Court. As the National Law Journal reported: Finally passing the bar, 'pretend' robber refused to admit practice.

The article details a 1992 law school graduate's unsuccessful struggle to obtain a license to practice law. The good news is that he finally passed the bar exam on his eighth attempt. Unfortunately for him, the Court was unwilling to look past certain "character and fitness" issues.

Perhaps most damning of all, were his criminal convictions, including an incident in which "the applicant had pulled a seven-inch knife on a store clerk in 1993 while, as he explained, he was 'pretending to be a robber.'" He described the incident as a "bad joke" on April Fool's Day. "He explained that he was writing a book at the time and wanted to see how the store clerk would react to seeing the knife." He had some other issues (see the article), but the knife incident and his explanation seem like tough obstacles to overcome.

This man's story provides a good reminder for aspiring lawyers that you need to do more than graduate from law school and pass the bar exam to practice law.

Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.