Legal Ethics

F. Lee Bailey's quest for a law license will be heard by Maine's top court

F. Lee Bailey is 80 years old and disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts for mishandling stocks for a client.

But that’s not stopping him from seeking a law license in Maine, where he has lived since 2010, the Bangor Daily News reports. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday.

Bailey told the Portland Press Herald last March that he had soured on law practice until moving to Maine, where lawyers are honest and practice “without any dirty tricks.” He said he’s got some “good cross-examination left in me.”

The state Board of Bar Examiners had refused to issue a law license after Bailey passed the bar in February 2012. Bailey appealed to a single justice of the high court, who ruled against Bailey in April 2013 but said he would reconsider if the lawyer had a plan to pay back $2 million in federal tax debt. In June the justice reversed himself and said Bailey met character and fitness standards, but stayed his order pending appeal.

The Board of Bar Examiners argues in its appeal that Bailey has failed to “own up” to the full extent of his transgressions, according to the Bangor Daily News account. “There is no dispute that Bailey is a skilled advocate,” the brief said. “However, Bailey believes that rules that apply to all others do not apply to him. Bailey’s failure to recognize and accept all of his past violations dooms his petition for admission.”

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