OtherGround Forums Bar exam and psychological history

3/5/13 8:29 AM
6/6/00
Posts: 1919
Question for those of you who have taken or will take the bar. (First off, I'm not in law school nor will I ever be; this isn't about me)

One of the questions they can ask on the bar is whether you've had any history of psychological treatment. I can understand how you don't want a schitozophrenic representing the industry, but do they also ding you if you've had depression? Law school, bills, and career prospects can place a pretty heavy emotional burden on even the toughest...

What I'm getting at is if it's better to go see a conselor/psychologist to get depression treated, or go for the Bar first and then get it dealt with. Do you suck it up and let it negatively impact you throughout law school just to be able to honestly answer 'no' on that bar exam question, or seek help and hopefully see your performance improve in the interim? Same question goes for seeing a psychiatrist.

Any insights or tips?
3/5/13 8:12 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 10874
Letting a serious mental illness go untreated for 3 years, especially in the relatively high stress environment of law school seems kind of retarded.

Whether you should seek mental health treatment is also a pretty personal question.
3/6/13 4:25 PM
6/6/00
Posts: 1920
jbapk - Letting a serious mental illness go untreated for 3 years, especially in the relatively high stress environment of law school seems kind of retarded.

Whether you should seek mental health treatment is also a pretty personal question.

Agree on the first part.

The question is whether admitting treatment will serve as a reason for them to ding you on the exam later on.
3/6/13 5:44 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 10875
You really need to research the specific state you're sitting for the exam.

My understanding is that generally they are looking for current problems and if you can show the problem is in the past you're ok, but some may be more strict then others. I believe some don't even ask about mental health unless it is related to a court case, but again you would have to check the specifics.
3/8/13 8:53 PM
3/12/07
Posts: 8075
All of the jurisdictinos that I am licensed in only require disclosure of current issues, not former ones. There is no duty to report past mental health issues.
3/9/13 3:17 PM
6/6/00
Posts: 1921
Any recollection of what they defined as "current"?

3/10/13 7:53 PM
3/12/07
Posts: 8080
The head of the bar association grievance committee told me it meant that the person was presently being treated.

So, if someone was under a doctor's care while filling out the bar application, then there was a reason to report it. If the person had been under a doctor's care until the day before they signed their app, then they didn't need to report it.

In addition to the timing, there is language that says something along the lines of "affect the ability to represent the client," meaning that an applicant doesn't need to report it unless it impacts their competency. So, if it was depression and there were mild doses of anti-depressents prescribed, the applicant doesn't have to report it as long as they are still competent in their representation. The committee head told me they are looking for schizophrenia, bipolar issues, psychopaths, stuff like that, not depression (unless it's debilitating).