Character and Fitness
Significant Character and Fitness Information
No determination of an individual's character and fitness to practice law will be made until that individual has submitted a properly filed Declaration and/or Application and the Board has completed its investigation.
Applicable Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas are below:
Rule 4 (Good Moral Character and Fitness Requirement)
Rule 8 (Determination of Declarant Character and Fitness)
Rule 10 (Determination of Applicant Character and Fitness)
Rule 15 (Hearings)
Rule 16 (Probationary Licenses)
Other relevant information:
Expunged or sealed criminal history: While expunged or sealed offenses, arrests, tickets, or citations need not be disclosed, it is the applicant's/declarant's responsibility to ensure the offense, arrest, ticket, or citation has, in fact, been expunged or sealed. Failure to reveal an offense, arrest, ticket, or citation that is not in fact expunged or sealed, raises questions related to truthfulness in addition to questions regarding the offense itself.
Orders of Non-Disclosure: Pursuant to the Govt. Code [§552.142 (b)], if you have criminal matters that are the subject of an order of non-disclosure you are not required to reveal those criminal matters on the Application/Declaration form. However, a criminal matter that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure may become a character and fitness issue. Pursuant to other sections of the Government Code [411.081(d), 411.081(i)(5), 411.083(b), 411.084(a), 411.087(a), and 411.100], the Texas Board of Law Examiners is entitled to access criminal history record information that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure. So, if the BLE discovers a criminal matter that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure, even if you properly did not reveal that matter, the BLE may ask you to provide information about that criminal matter.
Individuals with a felony criminal history should see Rule 4(d) for details.
Individuals disciplined for professional misconduct in the course of practicing law in any jurisdiction or who resigned in lieu of disciplinary action may be prohibited from filing an application. See Rule 4(e) for details.
Hearing Procedures (pdf)
About the BLE -- One of the major duties of the Board and its staff is to investigate the character and fitness of all applicants for admission to the Bar.
Information Presented to First-Year Texas Law Students. First-semester law students ("entrants") must file their Declarations according to the deadlines set out in Rule 4(b). Failure to do so will result in a late fee as set out in Appendix D. Late filing Declarants may file at any time prior to or concurrent with the filing of their In-State Application.
Texas Criminal History Information: to determine if any of your criminal history is contained in the Texas DPS Criminal Conviction Database, access the database at the following website: Texas Department of Public Safety. An access fee is required. Note: the information that can be accessed by the public is limited. Pursuant to statute, the Board of Law Examiners has access to a broader range of data. If you have criminal history in Texas that does not appear on the Texas DPS Criminal Conviction Database, you may still be required to reveal that criminal history to the Board of Law Examiners. You must carefully read the criminal history questions on the form you are completing and answer each question honestly and completely. Contact your licensure analyst if you have questions about what to disclose.