See In re
Hyra, 15 N.J. 252 (1954):
disclosure of one’s personal life and his affairs should be made by every
prospective candidate and it can be generally stated that there is no place in
the law for a man who cannot or will not, tell the truth even when his own
interest are involved. In the legal profession particularly there must be
reverence for the truth.”
See In Matter of the Application of Frank B. McLaughlin, 144 N.J. 133 (1996):
emphasized truthfulness and honesty as requisite traits for admission to the
bar. The Court noted that a candidate who conceals issues or misleads the
Committee on Character subverts the process of character review and the Court’s
responsibility to protect the public and preserve the justice system.
In In re McLaughlin, Justice Handler discussed the need for attorneys
and bar applicants to adhere to the highest principles of integrity. He explained:
Candidates for the bar are expected to
understand and satisfy the personal, educational, and professional requisites
that inhere in good character and fitness and are indispensable in seeking
authorization to engage in the practice of law. Good character does not
emerge on licensure. It is absurd to suggest that good character is not
revealed until one becomes an attorney. The fundamental character traits
of honesty and truthfulness are not valued in abstract, but are assumed to be
inherent aspects of one’s personality; they can, and must, be considered the
measure of a candidate‘s eligibility to seek admission to practice law and
ability to fulfill the responsibilities of legal profession.
Excerpted from New Jersey
Law Journal article, June 1, 2009
The COC has
advised the NJLAP that present lack of candor when disclosing or discussing a
matter that has taken place in your past is a separate and distinct act of
misconduct. In fact, the COC may view present lack of candor more seriously
than the original matter itself since it would constitute recent misconduct.
Lack of candor may be grounds for the COC to recommend that your certification
for admission to the bar be withheld. Additionally, if the lack of candor is
discovered after you have already been certified for admission to the bar, the
COC can refer the matter to the Office of Attorney Ethics for further action.
As an additional reminder, you have an ongoing duty to report any updates or
changes to your Certified Statement to the COC until your date of admission.