Law schools play a critical role in the bar certification process. They certify that graduates have the character and fitness necessary to become members of the bar,and they verify that graduates have completed the schools’ academic requirements for graduation. Each of these certifications is much more than a mere check mark but rather an analysis of a complex set of factors.The certification of character and fitness is not a simple notice of the lack of negative information about the graduate. Law school determination of character and fitness is quite detailed. While all of the levels of that process are beyond the scope of this article, the bar and the public need to know that we are evaluating all aspects of the student’s character. That includes, but is not limited to, issues such aslapses of judgment within the educational environment (including experiential learning activities), formal or informal disciplinary matters, and criminal matters. The law school is uniquely positioned to evaluate not only the underlying matter but also the way in which the student demonstrates candor and professionalism in addressing the matter. On the other hand, the certification of completion of academic requirements for graduation is a reflection of a complex educational process and the student’s full engagement in that process. In this certification, we are verifying the depth of the educational process and the resultant development of professional competencies by the student. It is this certification that is the focus of this article.
Veryl Victoria Miles, Practice-Ready: A Law School Perspective on Bar Certification, THE BAR EXAMINER, Aug. 2009, at 13.