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Bar Admission

WI Supreme Court

Case Name: Abby D. Padlock v. Board of Bar Examiners

Case No.: 2021 WI 69

Focus: Bar Admission

We review, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 40.08(7), the final decision of the Board of Bar Examiners (Board) declining to certify that the petitioner, Abby D. Padlock, has satisfied the character and fitness requirements for admission to the Wisconsin bar set forth in SCR 40.06(1). The Board’s decision was based primarily on its conclusion that Ms. Padlock was deceptive in her law school application and in her bar application by underreporting, in a misleading manner, the details of an arrest that caused her to be charged with two felony drug charges, which were later dismissed pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement.

The initial duty to examine an applicant’s qualifications for bar admission rests with the Board. In the final analysis, however, this court retains supervisory authority and has the ultimate responsibility for regulating admission to the Wisconsin bar. See In re Bar Admission of Rippl, 2002 WI 15, ¶3, 250 Wis. 2d 519, 639 N.W.2d 553, and In re Bar Admission of Vanderperren, 2003 WI 37, ¶2, 261 Wis. 2d 150, 661 N.W.2d 27. Here, although Ms. Padlock’s disclosures raised significant questions about her fitness to practice law, we conclude that Ms. Padlock may be admitted to the practice of law in this state. Accordingly, we reverse and remand the matter to the Board for further proceedings.

Reversed and remanded


Dissent: ZIEGLER, C.J. filed a dissenting opinion, joined by ROGGENSACK and HAGEDORN, JJ.

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Derek A Hawkins is Corporate Counsel, at Salesforce.

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