La. to change bar applicant mental health queries

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says it has reached an agreement with the Louisiana Supreme Court over the evaluation of applicants to practice law in the state who have mental disabilities.

Friday's news release says a department investigation found that applicants for the state bar were evaluated based on mental health diagnoses and treatment instead of conduct.

Among other things, the state court agreed to establish screening questions to focus on applicants' conduct or behavior. Questions about an applicant's condition or impairment would be asked only when they affect the applicant's ability to practice law competently, ethically and professionally. They could also be asked if an applicant discloses a condition to explain conduct that may otherwise warrant denial of bar admission.

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