On Jan. 25, 2019, the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee voted to remove mental health questions from the Connecticut bar application, ending long-standing criticism from advocates about the overreaching and discriminatory practice.
For decades, applicants to the Connecticut bar were required to answer questions about and provide documentation regarding mental health diagnosis as well as drug and alcohol use. In 2014, the CBEC changed the questions to focus on an applicant’s behavior and not the underlying diagnosis. That same year, the Department of Justice issued a finding that the Louisiana bar could not ask about mental health diagnoses but could ask about behavior. This ruling provided validation to disability and mental health advocates, who had been fighting for the removal of mental health questions based on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In August 2015, the American Bar Association House of Delegates passed Resolution 102, calling on bar examiners to focus on behavior and conduct that impairs an attorney’s ability to practice in a competent, professional and ethical way.
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