Readmission after Disbarment or Suspension

      Hello Chris, 

     Today, for the first  time in 20 years, and due largely to your efforts I appeared in Court as a respected member of the Bar.  My earnings were modest but the satisfaction was priceless.

     Thanks again, Bill   (November 14, 2014)

There is no automatic or guaranteed readmission after any removal from practice.  Applicants for readmission must file a motion for reinstatement at the conclusion of seven years if disbarred, or upon the expiration of any suspension period, unless otherwise permitted by the Court.

Every readmission application must be reviewed and approved by the Court initially.  In the case of disbarment or suspension of more than one year, every application is then forwarded to Character and Fitness for review before they can grant readmission.  In the case of suspensions of one year or less, the Court may send the application for review or decide to admit solely on the application.  22 NYCRR 691.2.

The Character Committee requires that the applicant demonstrate that they have complied with the order of suspension or disbarment, and that they currently possess the requisite “character and general fitness to practice law.”   The applicant has the burden of demonstrating the above by clear and convincing evidence.   22 NYCRR 691.11(1).  This standard puts the onus squarely upon the applicant to demonstrate that he or she has not violated the order and that they deserve reinstatement.  It also allows the Court, by the amorphous nature of the standard, the opportunity to simply reject an application based upon the applicant’s “failure to demonstrate” that level of fitness; without further explanation.

An important first step in proving your fitness is to ensure that the application submitted is complete and persuasive.  A complete application will be moved promptly to a decision.  An incomplete application or an application that does not thoroughly anticipate and then address potential issues will result in delay that could be substantial and/or rejection.

In sum, every applicant must make certain that their application is carefully drafted to addresses potential issues and anticipates problems that could trigger a rejection by the Character and Fitness Committee or the Court, or a drawn out review by the Character and Fitness Committee staff, or a hearing before a Sub-Committee.

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2 Responses to Readmission after Disbarment or Suspension

  1. dennis berkowsky says:

    I plead to a felony in 2011. By motion of the the grievance committee my name will be stricken from the roll of atty in nys in Sept 2014
    Is the effective date for application for reinstatement 2011 or 2014? Thank you
    Tel 516 432 4416

    • The effective date of any Court suspension or disbarment is normally the issue date of the Decision and Order of the Court; unless the Decision and Order designates another date. However, you can always make a motion for permission to reapply early, based upon the date you ceased practice or some other argument acceptable to the Court.

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