Professional ethics

Re moral character determination in CA, it appears I may be invited to an informal hearing. Do I need to hire a CA lawyer now?

I submitted an application for determination of moral character in CA. I knew the only red flag in my file was poor credit and outstanding debt that was in some cases 5+ years old and charged off (including two civil judgments from creditors). My analyst corresponded with me asking for additional information regarding my outstanding debts and how I planned to address them. I was able to secure funds from a friend to resolve all outstanding debt and judgments. I disclosed the source of the funds and the promissory note to my State Bar analyst.

He recently responded back that even though resolving the debt was advantageous to my application, he could not clear me because the issue now was the fact that the debts existed at all and the long period of time they were outstanding.

Nathan’s Answer

Congratulations on passing the bar exam. This is and of itself demonstrates discipline and ability to handle your own affairs. Your debts indicate a different pattern or history however, and the State Bar is concerned that money troubles you had or continue to have would jeopardize your ability to for example, hold money in trust on behalf of a client. You will possibly be invited to hearing, where you may be allowed to move forward, or be held back - it is CRUCIAL you obtain counsel to advise you on how to handle yourself should you be invited to a Subcommittee hearing because you will be scrutinized VERY closely.

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