The Supreme Judicial Court recently denied the application of a prospective attorney for admission to the Massachusetts bar on the basis that she lacked sufficient moral character. In the matter of Malgorzata Chalupowski, a woman, who had passed the Massachusetts bar exam, submitted an application to the Board of Bar Overseers, seeking to be admitted as an attorney in the state. The Board requested a meeting with the woman to discuss several disclosures contained in the application.
After the meeting, the Board appointed special counsel to further investigate the woman’s fitness to practice law. The applicant had disclosed her involvement in several lawsuits, including malpractice cases she and her husband had filed against attorneys, judges, and court personnel. However, the investigator discovered that these cases had been dismissed as frivolous and that she had omitted information about multiple other lawsuits and court proceedings, including a restraining order which was issued against her.
At a formal hearing before the Board, the applicant called four of the attorneys she had sued as witnesses to testify about her character. All four attorneys spoke negatively about her, and recommended that the Board deny her admission. Based on the evidence, the Board dismissed her application, noting that calling these witnesses demonstrated a lack of good judgment and a misunderstanding of the legal process.
The applicant took an appeal of the Board’s decision, which ultimately reached the Supreme Judicial Court. The Court affirmed the Board’s denial, finding that she was not morally fit or qualified to practice law in the Commonwealth. The Court cited her lack of candor on her application and the fact that she had repeatedly filed frivolous lawsuits indicated a lack of respect for the legal system, and a misunderstanding of its proper use.
Decision: In re: Malgorzata Chalupowski