Skip to main content
Law Student Admissions and Ethics - Rethinking Character and Fitness Inquiries
South Texas Law Review
  • Susan Saab Fortney, Texas A&M University School of Law
Document Type
Publication Year

This article expands on the use and recommended methods of including criminal background inquiries on law school applications. Part I of this article begins with an introduction to the ethics issues arising in connection with the admission of law students. Part II focuses on different purposes served by criminal background questions on the law school admission application, including screening applicants’ fitness to practice law. Part III considers the various ways law schools handle applicants’ nondisclosure and expands on the benefits of a modified amnesty program. Part IV explores how criminal background inquiries differ in depth, spanning from questions asking about criminal convictions to questions covering criminal charges, and how these inquiries may reflect a socio-economic bias. Part V details the advantages lawyers can provide applicants regarding disclosure. The article concludes by recommending measures law schools can take to effectively employ criminal background inquiries while simultaneously limiting any socio-economic bias.

Num Pages
FIle Type
Citation Information
Susan Saab Fortney. "Law Student Admissions and Ethics - Rethinking Character and Fitness Inquiries" South Texas Law Review Vol. 45 Iss. 4 (2004) p. 983 - 996
Available at: