In a recent Journal Star article ("Hopwood to talk prison reform," Oct. 29) regarding Shon Hopwood, a Georgetown law professor, it was reported that Professor Hopwood chose the University of Washington over Creighton University because he thought he had a better chance at getting a law license there after finishing his legal education.
The article went on to state that “[c]onvictions like Hopwood’s likely would’ve kept him from being admitted here.” The Nebraska State Bar Commission, appointed by the Supreme Court, considers the character and fitness of each applicant in making its recommendations for admission to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
Essential qualifications to practice law in Nebraska include the ability to effectively communicate, to use honesty and good judgment on behalf of oneself, clients and others and the ability to act professionally. A criminal record, even a felony conviction, is not a bar to admission in Nebraska.
Each year, commissioners speak to University of Nebraska and Creighton University law students to stress the importance of effective rehabilitation as well as the ability to rise above past misconduct because Nebraskans benefit from admitting attorneys who have shown the ability to relate well to clients, to learn from adversity and who exhibit the ability to use honesty and good judgment.
Professor Hopwood exhibited all of these when he graduated from law school.
Mark D. Fitzgerald, Norfolk
Chair, Nebraska State Bar Commission