The bar's character and fitness requirement is based on the largely untested premise that an applicant's past history helps predict whether that individual possesses the moral character needed to be a trustworthy lawyer. The primary purpose of the character inquiry is to protect the public and the judicial system from potentially problematic lawyers.The inquiry may also signal to the public that lawyers possess "good character" and deserve to be trusted with their important legal matters, thereby facilitating client representation and the administration of justice. An alternative-and more critical characterization of this purpose is that it is designed to protect the legal profession's reputation in order to promote the profession's autonomy and its monopoly on the provision of legal services.
Levin, Leslie, "The Folly of Expecting Evil: Reconsidering the Bar's Character and Fitness Requirements" (2014). Faculty Articles and Papers. 421.