Legal Ethics

F. Lee Bailey wins ruling opening door to bar admission in Maine

Famous trial attorney F. Lee Bailey, disbarred nearly a decade ago in Florida and Massachusetts for mishandling a client’s stock, appears likely to obtain a law license in another state.

Overturning a 5-4 decision by the state Board of Bar Examiners, the Maine Supreme Court on Friday ruled (PDF) that Bailey meets prerequisite character and fitness standards.

Although he owes tax debt of nearly $2 million, which he is contesting in court, Bailey has acted responsibly in dealing with the issue, the court said:

“Bailey has been convicted of no crime, and he has paid or resolved every obligation he has been ordered to pay by a final judgment of any court. He is actively litigating and seeking to resolve or compromise his current tax debt. The record demonstrates, to the clear and convincing evidence standard, that Bailey is making a ‘genuine effort’ to meet his responsibilities, indicating he has ‘the character and integrity expected and required of one who seeks to become a member of the bar,’ ” the court wrote, citing Failure to Pay Creditors as Affecting Applicant’s Moral Character for Purposes of Admission to the Bar, 108 A.L.R. 5th 289, §§ 2(a), (b) (2004).

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog.

See also “Will F. Lee Bailey practice law again? Opinion sees good character and one $2M problem”

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