STATE BOARD OF LAW EXAMINERS
Chairperson: Charles H. Dorsey, Jr., 1988
Appointed by Court of Appeals: John W. Sause,
Jr., 1989; Robert H. Reinhart, 1990; Pamela J
White, 1990; William F. Abell, Jr., 1991; Jonathan
A. Azrael, 1991; John F. Mudd, 1992.
Bedford T. Bentley, Jr., Secretary
Joanne G. Dowgwillo, Clerk
EQ Box 1911
District Court Building
Annapolis, MD 21404 974-2140
Originally, the various local courts were author-
ized to examine persons seeking to be admitted to
the practice of law in Maryland. Examination of
attorneys remained a function of local courts until
1898, when the State Board of Law Examiners was
created (Chapter 139, Laws of 1898).
The Board and its administrative staff administer
bar examinations twice annually during the last
weeks of February and July Each is a two-day
examination of between nine and twelve hours of
Since 1972, the Board has used the Multistate
Bar Examination (MBE) as part of the overall ex-
amination. The MBE is the nationally recognized
law examination consisting of multiple-choice ques-
tions, prepared and graded under the direction of
the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The
MBE test covers six subjects: contracts, criminal
law, evidence, real property, torts, and constitu-
tional law. The MBE test usually is given on the
second day of the examination. The first day usually
is devoted to the traditional essay examination,
prepared and graded by the Board.
Pursuant to the Rules Governing Admission to
the Bar, the subjects covered by the Board's essay
examination encompass but need not include all of
the following subject areas: agency, business associ-
ations, commercial transactions, constitutional law,
contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence,
Maryland civil procedure, property, professional re-
sponsibility and torts. Single questions may encom-
pass more than one subject area and subjects are not
specifically labeled on the examination paper.
The Board also processes applications for admis-
sion filed under Rule 14, which permits out-of-
State attorneys who have practiced for at least five
consecutive years to apply for admission to the
Maryland bar. The lawyers' examination is an essay
test limited in scope and subject matter to the rules
in Maryland that govern practice and procedure in
civil and criminal cases and the Code of Professional
Responsibility The test is three hours long and is
administered on the first day of the regularly sched-
uled bar examination.
The requirement that all applicants to practice
law in Maryland be domiciliaries of the State when
admitted to the bar was abolished in 1982.
The Board is composed of seven lawyers ap-
pointed to fivc-ycai terms by Lhe Court of Appeals.
Authorization for the Board continues until July 1,
1994 (Code 1957, Art. 10, secs. 2-8).
Chairperson: William Wells Beckett, 1991
Appointed by Court of Appeals: Ernest M.
Thompson, 1988; Karen Egorin, 1989; Edwin A.
Lechowicz, 1989; Robert S. Paye, 1989; Barry
Bach, 1990; Barry P. Gossett, 1990; Marvin B.
Miller, 1990; Judith C. H. Cline, 1991; Donna L.
Melvin Hirshman, Bar Counsel
District Court Building, Room 404
Rowe Blvd. and Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 974-2791
toll free: 1-800-492-1660
By Rule of the Court of Appeals, the Attorney
Grievance Commission was created in 1975 to ad-
minister discipline and supervise the inactive status
of lawyers. The Commission appoints, subject to
approval of the Court of Appeals, a lawyer to serve
as bar counsel and principal executive officer of the
disciplinary system. The bar counsel and staff inves-
tigate all matters involving possible misconduct,
prosecute disciplinary proceedings, and investigate
petitions for reinstatement (Md. Rules, Chapter
1100, subtitle BV). By the same Rule of Court, the
Court of Appeals also established a disciplinary
fund to cover expenses of the Commission and
provided for an Inquiry Committee and a Review
Board to act upon disciplinary cases.
The Commission consists of eight lawyers and
two lay persons appointed by the Court of Appeals
for four-year terms. The chairperson is designated
by the Court.
The Review Board consists of eighteen persons
appointed to three-year terms by the Commission.
Fifteen are attorney members selected by the Board
of Governors of the Maryland State Bar Associa-
tion. Three are lay members from the State at large.
Judges are not permitted as members of the Board.
Appointed by the Commission, the Inquiry
Committee consists of attorneys selected by the Bar
Associations of the appropriate county or Baltimore
City, and lay members.