Texas Board of Law Examiners
About the Texas Board of Law Examiners
|The Board of Law Examiners is an agency of the
Supreme Court of Texas and has nine members, appointed biennially by the
Supreme Court. Each member must be an attorney, at least 35 years of age,
with a minimum of ten years of experience in the practice of law. The
Board’s rules are adopted and promulgated by the Supreme Court of Texas.
One of the major duties of the Board and its staff is to investigate the character and fitness of students studying law in ABA-approved law schools in Texas who intend to apply for admission in Texas, as well as that of all applicants for admission to the Bar. The investigation covers such matters as whether the individual has been involved in criminal activities, fraudulent practices, failure to comply with legal obligations and/or court orders, suggestive of character traits which would impact the responsibilities an attorney owes to clients, the courts, and the legal profession.
The Board is charged with determining whether each applicant for admission has the required present good moral character and fitness required. Therefore, while an applicant is not automatically barred from becoming an attorney if any of these matters appear in his or her history, the Board does make a determination as to whether such past activities have a present bearing on the individual’s character and fitness at the time admission is sought. The Board conducts hearings to consider evidence to aid the Board in deciding whether such problems establish a lack of present good moral character and/or fitness. If the Board finds that the behavior evidences a lack of present good moral character and fitness, the Board renders an order to that effect and declines to certify the individual to the Supreme Court for licensure and admission to the Bar of Texas.
When the Board determines that an applicant has met all requirements for admission, the Board certifies the applicant to the Supreme Court as being eligible for licensure. While the Board makes these determinations as to eligibility, only the Supreme Court has the authority to issue a law license. Once applicants are certified to the Supreme Court as eligible for regular licensure, the Board’s jurisdiction over these individuals ceases. All disciplinary and grievance matters concerning licensed attorneys fall under the jurisdiction of the State Bar of Texas.
Members of the Board also prepare and supervise the grading of the Texas Bar Examination. The Board sets policy, construes rules, and considers whether to grant waivers of the rules. The Board’s business is conducted in open meetings of the full Board, the Executive Committee, and other duly appointed committees. The Board is subject to both the Open Meetings Act and the Open Records Act (with certain exceptions authorized by statute and order of the Supreme Court), and notices of the Board’s meetings are posted with the Secretary of State and published in the Texas Register, as required by law. The agenda of each full board meeting includes an item entitled “communications from the public,” and members of the public are invited and encouraged to attend the Board’s meetings.
since July 16, 2003