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THE COURTS

Title 204—JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART IV. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW

[ 204 PA. CODE CH. 71 ]

Proposed Amendment to Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rule 402

[47 Pa.B. 2423]
[Saturday, April 29, 2017]

 Notice is hereby given that the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners is considering recommending to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it amend Rule 402 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules concerning confidentiality as set forth in Annex A. Additions to the text of the rule are shown in bold, and deletions are in bold and brackets.

 The proposed amendment permits the Board an additional exception to the confidentiality of Board records. Currently, all Board records are confidential with 10 enumerated exceptions ranging from publishing a list of names of those who passed the bar examination to releasing information to the appropriate attorney disciplinary body upon request from that body. Law schools and the Board repeatedly instruct applicants and students to disclose all potentially adverse information on their application. Despite this, the Board occasionally discovers information that was not, but should have been, disclosed that would have impacted the Board's decision. Additionally, the Board sometimes learns of information regarding other misconduct by attorneys or currently disbarred attorneys that would be appropriate to disclose to the proper disciplinary authority.

 The proposed amendment would permit the Board of its own volition to release information that comes to its attention after attorney admission or disbarment that would be appropriate for the Board to provide to the applicable disciplinary authority. The adoption of this amendment would assist in preserving the integrity of the legal system and protect individuals seeking legal representation.

 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed amendments to the Counsel to the Board, Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, Pennsylvania Judicial Center, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 3600, P.O. Box 62535, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2535, no later than May 31, 2017.

By The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

GICINE P. BRIGNOLA, 
Executive Director

Annex A

TITLE 204. JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART IV. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW

CHAPTER 71. PENNSYLVANIA BAR ADMISSION RULES

Subchapter D. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Rule 402. Confidentiality.

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 (b) Permitted Disclosure. The Board may, however:

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 (5) release information with respect to an applicant upon a written request from the Disciplinary Board of this Commonwealth or from a lawyer disciplinary authority in another jurisdiction, provided the disciplinary authority agrees to use the information only for attorney disciplinary matters and has a rule or policy that guarantees the confidentiality of its disciplinary materials and records to the same extent required by this rule;

(6) when the Board learns of information that may be relevant to a disciplinary board or authority, the Board may share that information with the appropriate disciplinary board or authority, provided the disciplinary board or authority agrees to use the information only for attorney disciplinary matters and has a rule or policy that requires the confidentiality of its disciplinary materials and records to the extent required by this rule;

[(6)] (7) release information with respect to an applicant when necessary in defending litigation brought against the Court, the Board, its members or staff arising out of or related to the bar admission process;

[(7)] (8) release a copy of the bar admission application submitted by an applicant upon receipt of a properly executed written authorization and release from the applicant;

[(8)] (9) release information with respect to an applicant pursuant to a court order;

[(9)] (10) release to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the name and the date of birth of individuals who have applied to take the bar examination or be admitted to the bar of this Commonwealth; and

[(10)] (11) publish the contents of responses submitted to a question on the bar examination by an applicant as a representative sample of a good answer, provided the identity of the applicant is not disclosed.

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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-703. Filed for public inspection April 28, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]



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