BAR EXAMINER'S INQUIRIES ON ALCOHOLISM, SUBSTANCE ABUSE/DEPENDENCY
 
WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Board of Bar Examiners currently asks all bar applicants the following three questions:

11.(a) Are you currently addicted to or dependent upon narcotics, intoxicating liquors, or other substances?

11.(b) Are you currently undergoing treatment or hospitalization for addiction to or dependence upon narcotics, intoxicating liquors or other substances?

11.(c) Have you ever been confronted by an employer, supervisor, teacher or other educator about:

(1) your truthfulness?

(2) excessive absence?

(3) inability to work with others?

(4) the manner in which you handled or preserved the money or property of others?

(5) the thoroughness and/or timeliness of your preparation for work and/or your work itself?

(6) your competence?

(7) your promptness?

(8) your diligence?

(9) your moral standards?

(10) your ability to maintain the confidentiality of information?

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association recognizes the need for appropriate inquiries of bar applicants to determine the character and fitness of bar applicants;

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association further believes that all such inquiries should be crafted to elicit responses that will provide meaningful information regarding an applicant's character and fitness and to be consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act;

WHEREAS, Question 11(a) inappropriately requests an applicant to identify whether be or she is addicted to or dependent upon narcotics, intoxicating liquors or other substances even though he or she may not currently use and may not have used for years the narcotics, intoxicating liquors or other substances;

WHEREAS, Question 11(b) inappropriately requests an applicant to identify that he or she is receiving treatment for an addiction or dependence even though the applicant no longer uses narcotics, intoxicating liquors or other substances;

WHEREAS, Question 11(c) inappropriately is unlimited as to the time when the applicant was confronted; requires an applicant to answer in the affirmative where he or she has only been confronted for, inter alia, excessive tardiness (or any other of the enumerated items), but was not disciplined, punished or otherwise sanctioned; requests information regarding areas that are either unduly subjective or not helpful in determining fitness to practice law; and fails to request additional information that may be helpful in determining fitness to practice law;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association recommends that the Board of Bar Examiners replace question 11 with the following questions or other similar language:

11.(a) Are your currently engaged in the illegal use of narcotics or other drugs?

11.(b)Have you within the past five years been disciplined, punished or otherwise sanctioned by an employer, supervisor, teacher or other educator about:

(1) your truthfulness?

(2) excessive absence?

(3) the manner in which you handled or preserved the money or property of others?

(5) the thoroughness of your preparation for work and/or your work itself?

(6) the timeliness of your preparation for work and/or your work itself?

(7) your ability to maintain the confidentiality of information?

(8) a conflict of interest?

(9) your use of alcohol, drugs or narcotics?

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association further contact other bar associations in the Commonwealth to request that they join the Philadelphia Bar Association in requesting that the Board of Bar Examiners amend question 11.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: July 27, 1995