WELCOME TO THE CHARACTER & FITNESS SECTION. If you are a law student or law graduate seeking admission to the Illinois Bar, or you just want to learn more about the process, here is where you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
What is the Character & Fitness process?
Every jurisdiction has a screening process to determine whether bar applicants have the moral character and fitness to practice law. In Illinois, that process is regulated by the Illinois Board of Admission. You can contact them at ilbaradmissions.org or (217) 553-5917. The Character & Fitness Committee undertakes the investigation and review of applicants and either grants certification or declines it.
How do I begin the process?
The process is initiated when you complete a questionnaire. Completing this questionnaire will require the assembly and submission of a wide range of information, including residence and employment history, criminal records, traffic records, credit history, and records of any litigation in which you were a party. Information about the process and the questionnaire can be found at the Illinois Board of Admission website.
How does the Character & Fitness Committee assess my moral character and why is this necessary?
The assessment is necessary to protect the public. Clients place high levels of trust in their lawyers and expect them to be ethical and competent. It is not enough that you believe you have good moral character. Your responses to the questionnaire provide the Character & Fitness Committee with a record as to how you lived your life up to this point; what kinds of decisions you made; how you handled your finances; and what people say about you. A record that shows a failure to meet essential eligibility requirements including deficiencies in honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, or reliability may constitute a basis for denial of admission.
What kinds of issues could create a problem with my application?
Some of the kinds of problems that are considered to be in need of further detailed inquiry before the Committee includes: (1) unlawful conduct; (2) academic misconduct; (3) making false statements, including omissions; (4) misconduct in employment; and (5) acts involving dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation.
How could problems with my application affect my admission to the Bar?
Even if you have passed the Bar Exam, your admission to the Bar will be delayed until you are certified by the Character & Fitness Committee.
This content is being provided for informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed until there is a fully executed written agreement. Every bar applicant and situation is unique. If you need assistance with the questionnaire; or if you anticipate you may have some challenges with the Character & Fitness process; or if your certification has been declined, please call (312) 396-4060 to schedule an appointment.