Lady Justice

Bar Admission: Formal Hearings

If the Board votes for a formal hearing on your Florida Bar admission, you should hire counsel without delay. In one type of formal hearing the applicant’s character and fitness is put on trial, based on filed “Specifications.” A formal hearing is what the name implies; there are deadlines, procedural rules, motion practice, discovery, witness and exhibit lists, etc. The allegations may include an applicant’s lack of candor, criminal history, academic misconduct, or a host of other adverse events.

There are two basic types of formal hearings regarding Florida Bar admission.  Both involve testing the applicant’s character and fitness to be a lawyer. In the first, a charging document is filed, detailing formal charges called Specifications.  The pleaded allegations must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.  Failing to timely answer the charges will cause the Board to deem them admitted. The other type of formal hearing is upon re-application, when the applicant petitions the Board to show that his or her character and fitness has been rehabilitated sufficiently to permit admission to the bar.  The Office of General Counsel litigates both kinds of formal hearings before the Board.  We have achieved positive outcomes in both types of formal hearings.


To convene a formal hearing, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners appoints five panelists.  The panel members cannot have served on the investigative hearing panel.  As with its investigative hearings, the Board conducts formal hearings several times a year at locations around Florida. An experienced Florida Bar defense attorney can help you put your best case forward at a formal hearing before the Board.  Contact us today for a consultation.