DISCIPLINE, ETHICS, CHARACTER AND FITNESS
Ethics Lawyer & Failed Character and Fitness Defense in Pennsylvania
Applying for Reinstatement to the Pennsylvania Bar after Administrative Suspension, Inactive Status or Retirement
For a variety of reasons, attorneys may have either opted to suspend their license to practice law or allowed it to lapse by not completing the CLE credits or paying the annual registration fee. Ultimately, there may come a time when this license needs to be activated again.
If you have been administratively suspended, on inactive status or retired for less than three years, then you merely need to submit an Administrative Change in Status Form, a Statement of Compliance (if applicable), and pay all costs and fees to the Attorney Registration Office.
However, if you have been administratively suspended, on inactive status or retired for more than three years, then a more detailed reinstatement process is involved. Prior to applying to have your license reinstated, you will be required to complete 36 hours of PA CLE courses within a 12-month period. As part of the 36 CLE credits, you will have to take 12 credits in ethics. Further, only 18 of these credits may be completed through distance learning. If you are not able to complete these credits, you will have to request a waiver of this requirement. Merely not wanting to take these courses is not a sufficient reason to request this waiver.
Once you have completed your 36 credits, you will be required to file a Petition for Reinstatement, a Reinstatement Questionnaire and four notarized original Waivers of Confidentiality as well as a filing fee. As part of the Petition for Reinstatement, you will be required to show that you possess legal knowledge and the proper character and fitness to be an attorney. You will also be asked if you have or have not practiced law in Pennsylvania without a license. If you have practiced law without a license, this issue must be addressed prior to filing the Petition for Reinstatement. Similar to the bar exam application, honesty is essential in this application.
After the Petition for Reinstatement and the required documents are filed, the Board will send the application of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for review. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel does an extensive investigation into the application character and fitness to practice law. Within sixty days after filing the Petition for Reinstatement, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel will file a response that there are no impediments to reinstatement or that they object to reinstatement.
Process If Office of Disciplinary Counsel Does Not Object to Reinstatement
If the Office of Disciplinary Counsel does not object to reinstatement, the Petition for Reinstatement is reviewed by one Member of the Board. This Member will then issue a Report and Recommendation.
This Report and Recommendation will then be sent to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for Adjudication. Once the Supreme Court reviews the information, they will issue an Order either granting or denying reinstatement.
Once reinstatement is granted, the applicant will receive paperwork from the Board to submit an Annual Registration form and pay the registration fee to the Attorney Registration Office.
Process If Office of Disciplinary Counsel Does Object to Reinstatement
Alternatively, if the Office of Disciplinary Counsel does object to reinstatement, then a hearing before a Hearing Committee Member will be scheduled. At this time, it is the Petitioner’s burden to demonstrated that they have competency to practice law and that they have the required character and fitness to do so. The Member will issue a Report and Recommendation as to whether they are in favor of reinstatement or that they believe reinstatement should be denied.
Again, this Report and Recommendation will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for Adjudication. Once the Supreme Court finishes their review, they will issue an Order to grant or deny the Petition for Reinstatement.
As can be seen from the explanation of the procedure for a Petition for Reinstatement above, it can be a long and detailed process. If you require guidance or further information about amended your law school application, then please contact Hornstine Law, LLC at 215-568-4968.
Contact Our Office
Hornstine Law, LLC offers every client a free consultation. In order to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced licensing attorneys, please contact our office at 215-568-4968. We are available for consultations before and after business hours and on the weekend upon request.