Disability Law

Report: DOJ is investigating mental-health screening of bar applicants by Florida's top court

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The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the mental-health screening imposed by the Florida Supreme Court on bar applicants.

In a December letter, the DOJ notified Chief Justice Jorge Labarga of the probe and asked for information about the mental-health questions posed to applicants, conditional admission procedures and whether hearings were held concerning those for whom medical records are requested, reports the Daily Business Review (sub. req.).

A Florida Supreme Court spokesman declined comment but Greg Coleman, who serves as president of the Florida Bar, told the legal publication the Board of Bar Examiners is pondering potential changes in its questions.

“This has to be decided on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “There is no broad brush. It’s a complicated area because there’s a balance that must be struck between looking at someone’s background and deciding whether they are a threat in becoming a lawyer.”

See also:

ABA Journal: “State bars may probe applicants’ behavior, but not mental health status, says DOJ”

ABAJournal.com: “Louisiana Supreme Court settles ADA probe by DOJ over mental-health queries on bar application”

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