« on: July 26, 2010, 02:48:06 PM »
You should find out whether it will be expunged after a few years and how your school handles it. When I was in college and was a dumb 18 year old, I was caught drinking on campus and briefly put on conduct probation. After 5 years, the record was expunged. When I applied to LS some schools wanted the information regardless of whether it was expunged and others only said to disclose it if it had not been expunged. When the 5 years were up, my school had completely destroyed the record, took it out of their computer system etc, so when one of the schools wanted a statement from the school, all the school could tell them was that I said something happened, because they didn't even know whether or not anything occurred. So anyway, you should find out what they do, and if you have trouble getting in the first time, maybe you could wait until it is off of your record and apply to more schools. For me, the underage drinking incident didn't affect my applications--I finished school in good standing and it was a dismissed misdemeanor. However, plagiarism is academic misconduct rather than a conduct violation, so I guess it is possible that it might not ever be expunged, and it will likely be viewed very differently when you apply to LS.
You will need to make sure that you answer the fitness questions as honestly and openly as possible. If you don't, then you can you be kicked out of the program. You will also need to make sure that you disclose it to the Bar when you apply.
(It is possible to get into LS with this sort of thing on your record. We had 1 student my 1st year who was kicked out of an undergrad school for plagiarism. However, it didn't seem like she learned anything from that experience, and many of the people in our section saw her committing honor code violations throughout the year and had to turn her in. The LS I went to for 1L was for profit and didn't do anything about it. I hope you have changed since then. If you haven't, know that your classmates will likely notice if you are cheating, and you absolutely don't want to get a reputation for being a cheater in LS. If you do get that reputation, everyone in your section will know, people in other sections will know, etc. and it will very likely make it harder for you if you ever want to use your LS connections because your classmates will not recommend you when you apply to a firm where they work. Instead, they will likely remember that you are the class cheater and let their boss know. LS is a big competition since grades are determined by how well you do compared to your classmates, and law students do not take kindly to cheating.)