Thursday, July 02, 2009

Paying the Bar Bill

After successfully passing the New York bar exam, aspiring lawyer Robert Bowman has been denied a license to practice law by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court - because of an unpaid, $430,000.00 student loan that had accumulated over twenty years, without a single payment ever being made.

The New York Times reports:
In January, the committee of New York lawyers that reviews applications for admission to the bar interviewed Mr. Bowman, studied his history and the debt he had amassed, and called his persistence remarkable. It recommended his approval.

But a group of five state appellate judges decided this spring that his student loans were too big and his efforts to repay them too meager for him to be a lawyer.

...Mr. Bowman, 47, appears to have crossed some unspoken line with his $400,000 in student debt and penalties, accumulated over many years.

The brief, appellate court ruling states:
Our review of the application indicates that the disbursement dates of the loans cover a 20-year period, from as early as 1985. Applicant has not made any substantial payments on the loans. He has not been flexible in his discussions with the loan servicers. Under all the circumstances herein, we conclude that applicant has not presently established the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counselor-at-law.

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