Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Passing the Bar: An Exercise in ‘Moral Character’

July 2018 Bar Bulletin

By Gene Barton

Following oral argument on November 16, 2017, the Washington Supreme Court issued a unanimous order allowing Tarra Denelle Simmons to sit for the Washington bar examination. In the February issue of the Bar Bulletin, we printed Simmons’ autobiographical story. The Court’s opinion supporting its order, which was not filed until April 5, is the subject of this article.

Justice Mary Yu, writing for the Court, signaled the decision’s central theme from the outset:

Determining moral character as a credential for practicing law has a long and intriguing history. While lawyers may have more work to do in regard to how the...

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