Ohio Bar Character & Fitness

The Application to Register as a Candidate for Admission (aka: Character & Fitness) is the first step in the Ohio bar admissions process.

  • Preliminary application that triggers an investigation of the applicant’s character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice.
  • Due date: November 17th of 2L year.

Components of the C&F Application:

  • Registration Application: download from Ohio Supreme Court website.
  • Certificate of Dean
  • Certified copy of transcript from undergrad (certifying you got a bachelor’s degree).
  • Character Questionnaire
  • Fingerprint card- available at Registrar’s window.

Note: fingerprinting must be done by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, municipal police officer, or state highway patrol officer.

  • Release Forms- General, NCBE, and if applicable, Substance Abuse & Mental Health

For more information on completing the C&F Application, go to the Moritz Bar Exam Information TWEN course.

Character & Fitness Process

The burden of proof is on the applicant to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the applicant possesses the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications for admission.

  1. Submit application to Ohio Supreme Court.
  2. Outsourced to NCBE which verifies all the information.
  3. Once background check and all information verified, sent back to Ohio Supreme Court.
  4. Sent to local bar association admissions committee for personal interview.
  5. Submitted to Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on C&F for review.

Process takes 6-9 months from date of submission.

Character & Fitness Standards

Applicant review focuses on present character, fitness, and moral qualifications. The following factors are considered in assigning weight and significance to prior conduct:

  1. age of the applicant at the time of the conduct;
  2. recency of the conduct;
  3. reliability of the information concerning the conduct;
  4. seriousness of the conduct;
  5. factors underlying the conduct;
  6. cumulative effect of the conduct;
  7. evidence of rehabilitation;
  8. positive social contributions of the applicant since the conduct;
  9. candor of the applicant in the admissions process; and
  10. materiality of any omissions or misrepresentations.

Disapproval of Application

An applicant may be disapproved for a variety of reasons, including a criminal record, record of financial irresponsibility, or an untreated alcohol problem.

However, the most common reason for disapproval on C&F grounds is due to behavior during the C&F review process.  A vast majority of disapprovals are based upon:

  • Failure to disclose relevant information, either on applications or during  C&F investigations;
  • Giving false information or misrepresenting the facts; or
  • Other dishonesty or lack of candor during the character and fitness review process.

For more information on the Ohio Character & Fitness Process, go to the Ohio Supreme Court Office of Bar Admissions website.