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.
- Submit application to Ohio Supreme Court.
- Outsourced to NCBE which verifies all the information.
- Once background check and all information verified, sent back to Ohio Supreme Court.
- Sent to local bar association admissions committee for personal interview.
- 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:
- age of the applicant at the time of the conduct;
- recency of the conduct;
- reliability of the information concerning the conduct;
- seriousness of the conduct;
- factors underlying the conduct;
- cumulative effect of the conduct;
- evidence of rehabilitation;
- positive social contributions of the applicant since the conduct;
- candor of the applicant in the admissions process; and
- 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.