Aspiring N.H. Lawyers Will No Longer Be Asked About Mental Health History | New Hampshire Public Radio

Aspiring N.H. Lawyers Will No Longer Be Asked About Mental Health History

Jun 22, 2020

Credit Patrick Mansell / flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire will longer ask aspiring lawyers about their mental health history in order to pass the bar.

The state court system joins Massachusetts, New York and a handful of other jurisdictions that have recently made the change.

New Hampshire’s decision comes from the committee of lawyers that judges what’s known as the character and fitness of people who want to practice law in the state.

They say they’ll continue to consider applicants’ past conduct. But they’ll no longer ask about history, diagnosis, or treatment or mental health or substance use problems.

They say that history alone is not the same as the kind of misconduct that would indicate someone couldn't act professionally as a lawyer.

Studies from the American Bar Association in recent years have shown that mental health and substance use questions can discourage law students from seeking treatment they need for fear of hurting their careers.