State Bar Admissions and Licensing

“Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.

— In re Rouss, 21 N.Y. 81, 84 (1917) (Cardozo, J.)

Herring & Panzer has advised many law students, recent graduates, and lawyers from other states who wish to become licensed to practice law in Texas, but who encounter problems in the admissions process.

Law Student Application to the Bar

For students and recent graduates, proceedings before the Board of Law Examiners often involve “character and fitness” issues. Frequently the issue stems from an alleged failure to disclose a past event or legal or disciplinary problem, such as:

  • Previous criminal history, convictions, expunctions, or arrests
  • Alcohol abuse or chemical dependency history
  • Prior income tax or other judgment liabilities

In these cases we can provide counsel concerning the process and options, and when a hearing is necessary, representation during the proceedings before the Board.

Lawyers From Other States and Countries Seeking Bar Admission

Lawyers from other states or countries who are seeking admission to practice law in Texas also sometimes encounter issues before the Board of Law Examiners concerning past events or discipline in another jurisdiction. At times, an out-of-state or foreign lawyer needs to request a waiver of specific requirements set out in the rules governing admission to the Bar. These issues can include:

  • Exemption from the Texas law study requirements for lawyers who are already licensed
  • Exemption from the Texas bar examination requirement for lawyers who are already licensed and have practiced for at least five years in another jurisdiction
  • Revocation proceedings for probationary licenses
  • Requests for pro hac vice admissions
  • Unauthorized practice of law issues in other jurisdictions
  • Good-cause waivers under Board Rule XX(e)

Reinstatement After Disbarment or Resignation In Lieu of Discipline

At Herring & Panzer, we have handled petitions for reinstatement for lawyers who have been disbarred or have resigned in lieu of discipline and who seek reinstatement. Typical issues in these matters include:

  • Calculation of the required five-year period for reinstatement eligibility
  • The nature and degree of the underlying professional misconduct
  • Post-disbarment/resignation conduct, including evidence of good works and other accomplishments

Whatever the issue, Herring & Panzer can provide advice concerning both how the process works and practical considerations involved in handling these post-disbarment or post-resignation issues.