Committee on Character and Fitness

250 Benefit Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 222-3272 telephone
ribarexam@courts.ri.gov

The Committee on Character and Fitness determines the moral fitness of bar applicants by scrutinizing their finances, legal training, and criminal records, if any.  The Committee conducts personal interviews with the applicants and, if further review is warranted following the interview, the Committee will conduct a full hearing and make its recommendations to the Supreme Court as to whether or not an applicant should be admitted to the bar or allowed to take the bar examination. The Supreme Court may either grant the applicant’s request or require the applicant to show cause why the court should not grant the request.

The Committee has seven (7) members and is appointed by the Supreme Court.  The members include one (1) member of the Board of Bar Examiners, the Attorney General or his or her designee, the Supreme Court Clerk, and four (4) members of the Rhode Island Bar.

Members serve for three (3) years and have a two (2) term limit.  However, the terms of the Clerk of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General or his or her designee are coterminous with their terms of office.

Members

  • Gerard Coyne, Esquire, Chair
  • Debra A. Saunders, Esquire, Vice Chair
  • Melissa Darigan, Esquire
  • Carly Iafrate, Esquire
  • Kevin McHugh, Esquire
  • Mortimer Newton, Esquire
  • Kerry Rafanelli, Esquire

  • Julie Hamil, Esquire
    Legal Counsel

  • Nancy R. Mahoney
    Bar Administrator