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Messages - loki13

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11
General Board / Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« on: May 07, 2015, 12:57:16 PM »
opal,

That's great info! Visiting student status is very different than a "pure" transfer. One of my good friends did that back in law school (he did his first two years with me on the East Coast, then went to Loyola-LA law as a visiting student for his third year) and it's definitely doable, but fairly rare. That said, it may be something your current school administration would be amenable to, given both your needs (continued stability, etc.) and, perhaps, their needs.

I think you will need to start with a conversation with your current school's administration (some type of Dean of Student, etc., whoever you feel comfortable talking to). It is my general understanding that you would need to be "enrolled" at your current institution (cleared) before you can visit another for your third year. Remember, though, that the administration, despite whatever disagreements you might have had with them, has an interest in your success as well, if for no other reasons than to keep their numbers up.

Good luck!

12
General Board / Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« on: May 07, 2015, 12:07:11 PM »
opal,

Thank you for the clarification! It's certainly better that it was just a school sanction.

Regarding the transfer- eh.... too many factors to consider. Your timeline makes it look like you started in 2013, and didn't quite finish your first semester of your second year. So it would be a decent option just based on time. But you- 1) have disciplinary issues at your prior school, and 2) I would assume that the same issue you had might have prevented you from being at the top of your class?

You can always try. On the plus side, enrollment numbers are way down, so if you're paying full freight somewhere, you might have more of a shot.

13
General Board / Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« on: May 07, 2015, 11:27:03 AM »
opal,

I stated that you need to make sure you have been candid in the past. If you were, then no problem.

Again, every state is different. If there are no "red flags," then most applications, in most states, tend to sail through. Yours--- won't. You have a *recent* stay order against you, as well as disciplinary action against you in law school. For these reasons, it is incredibly likely that the Bar will go through your past more thoroughly.

I added that note as a caution, as I have experience dealing with attorneys seeking admission in a different jurisdiction that have similar issues. It is rare for someone to have issues with mental illness or substance abuse as serious as yours that have caused no problems at all, and then suddenly cause such serious problems in law school. But it does happen. More often, however, they had sporadic issues prior to that, there was a question on the law school application that could have been answered one of two ways (let's say... completely candidly, or a little less candidly), and they chose less candidly. It's no big deal if they amend prior to the process (assuming it's something small).

If this doesn't apply to you, ignore it. And I will reiterate that mental illness, alone, will not be a reason to deny you the license.

14
General Board / Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« on: May 07, 2015, 11:01:07 AM »
opal,

I am not familiar with Pennsylvania. I will assume that you're planning on practicing in the state where you are re-enrolling in law school. Pennsylvania, I believe, is one of the few states that does not specifically ask about mental illness, but does have a catch-all question. In addition, it will be extremely difficult to explain the recent issues you had in law school and the order against you without full disclosure.

At this point, everything you are doing is correct. If your question is a general, "I screwed up, I have been diagnosed as bipolar, can I pass?" then my answer to you is a qualified yes.  (That's going to be a common answer you can give as a practitioner!). Mental illness, alone, will not disqualify you from any Bar so long as you show evidence that you acknowledge the problem, you are treating it, and it will not impact your ability to practice law while treated (which is a little bit of a higher bar than not a danger to yourself or others!).

However, you should be aware that your illness, *combined with your recent conduct in law school* will raise a red flag, and the bar will be reviewing your application very thoroughly. Make sure you have been candid in the past- including your original law school application (and make sure you amend, if necessary). The exact facts and issues are going to be a little complex, and I don't know that you want to get too detailed on a public forum on the internet, so I will repeat my advice to you- talk to an individual familiar with the process in Pennsylvania, confidentially. Clear the first hurdle (get back in school!) and worry about the Bar after after that. Nothing you've written will automatically disqualify you, so long as you remain candid.

15
General Board / Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« on: May 07, 2015, 09:10:49 AM »
opal,

There's a lot to unpack here. So let me start with the basics- you failed to provide one crucial piece of information. What state? Every state has a different bar. Some states' bars are notorious for the C&F (sometimes called moral character and fitness) determinations, some states are a little more lax. So that would help.

Next, your question is whether this will impact the determination. That's easy- yes, it will. It will impact it. The type of impact it will have is the interesting question.

Then there's the issue of re-enrolling. Here's the thing- when you re-enroll, you have to be 150% honest. Go above and beyond. Disclose everything to the law school. Why? Because what kills people with "issues" isn't just the issue, it's the candor. The bar loves that word. They don't like to screw you on the actual issues (for reasons we will discuss shortly), but they will nail you every time if you haven't been candid. Partly it's because you are required to be candid as an attorney. Partly it's because that's one area where the bar can restrict membership easily, and if you've lied or failed to disclose on a law school admission, they can go after you for that.

Now, you'll have to divide the issues into two areas- the legal issues, and the medical issues. While you present them as intertwined, and they are, they present slightly different issues. The legal issues (the stay order, the campus sanctions) are the type of issues that, but for your illness, you'd have to otherwise explain away. The mental illness issue, properly treated, also would not be enough to deny you admission.

But the mental illness issue is further complicated. IIRC, in the last few years, several state bars have come under fire because denying someone solely based on a mental illness may be considered a violation of the ADA. But this is an evolving area of the law.

Arggh... so what does this all mean?
1. Many states have some type of lawyer assistance for attorneys and/or law students who have struggled with mental illness or substance abuse. See if your state has one and contact them. They may be able to help you.
2. Be candid.
3. Be healthy!!!!!!
4. Talk to someone informally in your state who is a practitioner about your issues; maybe a professor at the law school could point you in the right direction (a PR prof?)? You may want to contact an attorney who specializes in bar admissions issues.

I don't want to write any of this to discourage you. Many attorneys have struggled with substance abuse and mental illness, and have not only been accepted by their state bar, but have successful practices. Just make sure you protect yourself.

16
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Arizona Law
« on: May 07, 2015, 08:54:30 AM »
abdre,

I agree with what CityLaw wrote. A few additions. I personally think that lawschooltransparency.com has good stats for job placement from the NALP database in easily accessible numbers. Go to the main page and look under the tab "What We Do" and then NALP Report Database- it's sorted by school.

But this is relatively simple. Once you get past the very top schools, and you avoid the very bottom schools, it doesn't matter a great deal. All that should matter is cost and location. Personally, I would put cost first (assuming location is acceptable). You might want to check those NALP reports I mentioned and see the geographic locations that those schools place their grads at- U Ariz. places 63% of their grads in Arizona. The next biggest state, unsurprisingly, is California... at 5%. That said, if you want to practice in Arizona, that is a great school. Seriously. But if you don't want to live in Arizona, if you don't want to practice there, don't go there.

More so than almost any other profession, where you go to law school will have a giant impact on where you want to practice (outside of the T14). It isn't necessarily your destiny- for example, I went to random state law school on the East Coast, and I first practiced in California. But for most people, it is.

Cost (minimize) and location (where you want to practice). Don't overthink. No one cares if you went to the #32 school or the #62 school.

17
lawguy,

I think it would help to understand your objective? For example, different states have different weights (heh). So you can score really high on the MBE and make up for a low score on a different part of the exam. But I assumed your question was different (iow, I've already passed the bar somewhere else, can I waive in elsewhere).

What is it that you want/are looking for? Most people have some restriction on where they will live/will practice (jobs, families, houses, networks, etc.), so it's not like you can just say, "I will choose to practice in the state where I think I have the best shot at passing the bar, and/or the requirements seem the least onerous."

IMO, most states don't have very hard portions on their state bar. I've past two bars that are widely considered two of the toughest bars in the nation (and neither with reciprocity!) and it wasn't that hard. But if you're just looking for easy, it's my understanding that South Dakota isn't too rough.

18
Here's a good website-
http://barreciprocity.com/bar-exam-mbe-transfer/

My recollection of DC was personal- I had a lot of friend who went this route, and IIRC they were able to "pass in" based on MBE scores alone. My information is based on recollection, and may be out of date.

19
D.C.

Take another jurisdiction's exam, and transfer in the MBE score.

20
sharka,

As always, personal preferences matter. So this is general advice. For signalling purposes (resume, BigLaw) it tends to break down like this:
Law Review > Moot Court ............ > Other Journals > Trial Team. (Some might put trial team ahead of other journals, either way, it's close).

A brief explanation. The main journal (usually referred to as just "Law Review") is the single "best" thing you can do, period. Employers love it, because it both shows you accomplished something early on (either grade on or write on) and that you continue to work your behind off and learn second year. Moot court is 1a; I think that moot court is awesome, it's a wonderful experience, and it will help you, esp. if you do litigation, but remember that it focuses on appellate work- the vast majority of attorneys will not be doing much appellate work. So, again, it's the bluebooking, writing, researching that's important.

If you had to ask me which is the most useful, and you know you're going to be a litigator, I might say trial team. But it's not very prestigious, and unless you're going to a small, litigation-only firm, it's not going to look that good (but better than nothing).

As for the other journals, it is usually the opinion of people that many of these journals have "lax" standards. It's much better than nothing, especially if you can tie it into an interest or publish something, but it's not Law Review.

Everything else is "niche"- intl' moot court, ADR, whatever. Clubs too. Sure, they can look good, give you some networking, maybe some wider exposure (FedSoc, ACS). But none of them are a substitute for LR/Moot Court/Journals/Trial Team (The Big 2/4).

Clinics and externships are great.

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