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In Re Bar Application of Tarra Simmons

In July 2017 WACDL submitted an amicus brief in support of Ms. Simmons application to be admitted to the WSBA concerning what the WSSC should consider as sufficient evidence of rehabilitation to establish "character and fitness" to practice law

Court

Petition for review to WSSC following denial of application to take the Washington State Bar Exam

Issue

Despite evidence that following a criminal conviction Ms. Simmons served her sentence, paid her fines, completed treatment, complied with all conditions of her plea, completed law school, established herself in the community, committed no further criminal offenses and had full support from numerous members of the community including family, friends prosecutors, judges and other members of the bar she was denied the opportunity to take the bar examination.

Ruling

On 11/16/2017 the WSSC issued a unanimous order following oral argument on this date that Ms. Simmons has the requisite moral character and fitness to practice law in the the State of Washington and shall be allowed to sit for the bar exam. A full opinion on the matter is to be issued at a later date.

WACDL Amicus

Whether evidence of rehabilitation is sufficient, despite past criminal conduct, to establish "character and fitness" to practice law. Entrance to the Bar for a new applicant should be considered by the same criteria as re-entry for a disbarred attorney. In no case has a disbarred attorney been denied re-entry simply because of an insufficient passage of time.

WACDL Amicus Author

Rita Griffith

Appellate Authors

T. David Copley, Laura Gerber, Tana Lin

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