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State Bar May Not Seek Attorney Mental Health Records

Posted Aug 19, 2019

A new California law blocks the State Bar from seeking the mental health records of bar applicants. The law prohibits the Bar from reviewing or considering mental health records when evaluating an applicant’s moral fitness. There is an exception for applicants who seek to use their records to demonstrate good moral character or mitigate an act of misconduct. According to the bill’s author, the law is intended to “reduce the stigma of mental health issues, and to help mitigate any chilling effect that prevent law students from getting treatment for mental health issues, including sexual assault and PTSD.” Several other states, including Connecticut, Virginia, Washington, and New York, have removed or are considering removal of moral character questions related to mental health. See Metropolitan News-EnterpriseAttorney at Work, Above the Law.