Bedford Bentley, Secretary of State Board of Law Examiners, Retires
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. — March 24, 2010) Bedford T. Bentley, Jr., will retire on April 1 after 23 years of service as the secretary of the State Board of Law Examiners.
The State Board of Law Examiners evaluates the professional qualifications and character of individuals who seek to be licensed to practice law in Maryland. The board develops and administers the bar examination, coordinates character and fitness investigations conducted by the character committees of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, and recommends to the Court of Appeals that those applicants who successfully demonstrate their qualifications be admitted to the Maryland Bar.
In his role as secretary, the chief administrator for the board, Bentley manages a staff of six. He advises the board and the Court of Appeals on all matters related to bar admissions, plans and conducts the bar examination, and works in conjunction with the character committees to establish the character and fitness qualifications of bar applicants.
“The Court is very grateful for Mr. Bentley’s dedication and extraordinary professionalism,” said Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals. “Every person who seeks a license to practice law in the state courts must demonstrate that he or she possesses the legal competence and character and fitness necessary for admission to the Maryland Bar. Under Mr. Bentley’s leadership, the State Board of Law Examiners has helped ensure that lawyers practicing in Maryland meet stringent standards of character and legal knowledge. We thank him for his superb service to Maryland’s citizens for almost a quarter of a century.”
Bentley said, “I hope that bar applicants feel that they have been treated fairly and professionally in all phases of the bar admissions process.” He cites the modernization of examination scoring, which the board implemented in 2000, as “the accomplishment of which I am most proud. It improved the consistency of pass/fail determinations for the bar examination,” Bentley said.
“I have enjoyed my job, and I feel blessed to have worked with an exceptional group of people,” Bentley said. “I'd like to thank each of them.”
The State Board of Law Examiners was established in 1898 to provide a statewide process for determining the qualifications of bar applicants. Prior to 1898, various courts in the state licensed attorneys through local procedures.
The State Board of Law Examiners is a court related agency, which depends on the Administrative Office of the Courts for all of its administrative support while reporting directly to the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
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Editor’s note: A photo of Bedford Bentley is available for publication upon request. For more information, contact the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (410) 260-1488.