Lawyer’s bar application rejected over unpaid student loans

By Lawyers Weekly|03 March 2012

While it is often regarded as a tough slog for legal students in Australia, spare a thought for one US law graduate whose crippling student loans have made him ineligible to become a…

While it is often regarded as a tough slog for legal students in Australia, spare a thought for one US law graduate whose crippling student loans have made him ineligible to become a lawyer.

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Robert Bowman, 47, a determined student who had persevered with his legal education despite crippling injuries and four attempts at the New York bar exam, has been denied his dreams after a panel of five judges decided his unpaid student debts made him an unsuitable candidate for the bar, reports The New York Times.

The judges ruled that Bowman, "has not presently established his the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counselor-at-law", due to his US$400,000 student debt, a ruling that came despite a bar review committee of his peers recommending approval for his 'remarkable persistence'.

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Bowman's rejection raised the eyebrows of The New York Times, with the paper pointedly comparing Bowmans "unusual rejection" to previous cases when the judges had "overlooked misconduct like lawyers' solicitation of minors for sex, efforts to deceive judges and possession of cocaine", declaring that Bowman must have "crossed some unspoken line" in not paying off his debts.

Cruelly, Bowman's plan to pay off the debt, by working as an attorney, has now been foiled.

In Folklaw's opinion, if Bowman can't get a practicing certificate from the bar, he should at the very least be made an honorary graduate of the School of Hard Knocks.

Lawyer’s bar application rejected over unpaid student loans
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