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DOJ says state bars cannot review mental health status


By Shannon Sweeney

17 June 2014 at 09:57 BST


Assessing the ability of a lawyer to practice law based on mental health is discriminating against people with disabilities.

State bars are saying that assessing possible attorneys' ability to practice law based on mental health is discriminating against people with disabilities IMG_191 LLC

The United States Department of Justice has said that states may examine prior behaviour of applicants when deciding whether or not to give them a law license, but not their mental health status. Ira Burnim, legal director of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, DC, told ABA Journal that it violates federal law to inquire into mental health diagnosis and treatment rather than conduct. Ms Bazelon filed the original complaint to the Justice Department in January 2011 that lead to the investigation. The Department of Justice's disability rights arm of its Civil Rights Division is responsible for enforcing the law, and each state must make sure applicants have demonstrated sound mind, good moral character and fitness to practice law. Source: ABA Journal

 
   
 
 
 

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