The Maine Board of Bar Examiners has refused to allow a former Washington County doctor to be licensed as a lawyer because she does not meet the “good moral character” requirement.
Dr. Cathleen London graduated from the Maine School of Law in Portland in May 2022 and passed the bar exam in July 2022.
While practicing medicine in Milbridge between 2015 and Aug. 21, 2022, when the practice closed, 18 complaints were filed against her with Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, according to the Board of Bar Examiners. Not being honest on applications for law school and to take the bar exam were cited as reasons for denying her a law license, along with speeding tickets and citations for having dangerous dogs.
The Board of Bar Examiners is responsible for administering the bar exam in Maine and determining if people who take it are of “good moral character.” Once lawyers have been admitted to the practice of law, their conduct is overseen by the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar.
London’s medical license in Maine is inactive, according to the licensing board. The Democrat announced in 2018 that she would run against Republican Susan Collins for U.S. Senate but London withdrew from the race a short time later after she was reprimanded by the licensing board.
James Bowie, London’s Portland attorney, said Thursday that his client would pursue her application for admission to the bar. The next step would be an appeal to a single justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
“We are deeply disappointed with the board’s decision and disagree with it completely,” Bowie said. “Dr. London intends to pursue her application for admission to the Maine Bar, having successfully passed the bar examination last July and successfully fulfilling a judicial clerkship with the Essex County Superior Court in the New Jersey court system for the last year.”
A four-member panel, made up of three lawyers and one member of the public, issued a 46-page ruling this week following a hearing last month. It described London as a “combative person who infringes the rights of others. She appears unwilling or unable to accept responsibility for her conduct, usually blaming others where only she is to blame.”
The panel also cited her lack of candor in her law school application and application to take the bar exam. London owes five years of state and federal back taxes but said she was up to date on submitting tax returns on those applications, the panel found.
Of the seven decisions posted on the Board of Bar Examiners website, just one ruled that a person who had passed the bar had overcome his past mistakes to be admitted. Christopher Poulos, 40, of Olympia, Washington, overcame a drug conviction with his work in the recovery community to be admitted to the Maine bar in 2017. He currently is the executive director of the Center for Justice and Human Dignity that advocates for alternatives to incarceration.
Poulos was convicted in March 2007 of selling $7,780 worth of cocaine to a confidential informant. He served two and a half years in federal prison and returned to college after his release in January 2011. While in law school, he was an intern at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The most well-known lawyer denied admission to the bar in Maine was F. Lee Bailey, who died in 2021 at the age of 87. The celebrity lawyer defended O.J. Simpson, Patricia Hearst and the alleged Boston Strangler, but his legal career halted when he was disbarred in two states, according to the Associated Press.
Bailey passed the Maine Bar Examination in February 2012. In November 2012, the board ruled 5-4 that he did not have the required good moral character. As required, Bailey appealed that decision to a single justice of the state’s high court who reversed the board’s decision. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court disagreed with their colleague and in a 4-2 vote reversed former Justice Donald Alexander’s ruling and kept Bailey from practicing law in Maine.
The Maine bar exam is offered in February and July. The next exam dates are July 25 to 26 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in South Portland.