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Author Topic: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?  (Read 6631 times)

ashley06

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I've heard mixed opinions on the subject, so I thought I'd ask here since this site has the highest concentration of law students that I have seen.

Given the nature of these boards, I pray I come out of this thread with my hymen intact...
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Jumboshrimps

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2006, 12:22:33 PM »
I've heard mixed opinions on the subject, so I thought I'd ask here since this site has the highest concentration of law students that I have seen.

Given the nature of these boards, I pray I come out of this thread with my hymen intact...

Given the wit of this last observation, if anyone can overcome a criminal record in bar admissions, you can.  ;)

Eventually, someone is going to ask, "what did you do?" I won't. If you committed some sort of criminal fraud or some other crime of dishonesty, law school is probably out. If you killed somebody, that's probably forgiveable. Most lawyers do that eventually. If you  just have a whole bunch of little things, you've got your work cut out explaining them away. Contact your state's bar admissions people. Now, here's the absolute most important thing when talking to these people: Be absolutely forthcoming and honest about everything. Bar admissions people despise failure to disclose more than they look down upon a criminal past.


jacy85

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2006, 01:29:05 PM »
Call the florida bar association, and ask.  Give them your history, and see what they say.  You may have a very hard time, esp. with the DUIs and drug para conviction, but only the people who administer the character and fitness exam can answer you with any amount of certainty.

I don't remember if you said you'd be attending some of the lower ranked schools you got into; when you applied, did you send an addendum for your criminal history?  Yes, the drug/DUI convictions are bad; but if you can show that you've done community service and are in AA and sober, that could help.  An an explanation on the failure to register as a solicitor, while not necessarily excusing the charge, at least explains it and gives a school something to go on aside from just the charge and disposition.

And while I'm not sure about a firm doing background checks (most probably do them; not sure on how they'd feel about your record), you probably won't be able to work for the DA or any other gov't job.  Your best bet is to talk to the career services advisors at your school to see how your record might affect your job prosepects, and how you should handle any questions.

antwan

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2006, 01:29:36 PM »
I had a juvenile record but still got into several schools. From what ive been told, as long as you are completely candid with the bar people they can be very forgiving. Exception: The Florida bar examiners are the most brutal in the country. They do a more extensive background check than the FBI. From what I know they look for ANY reason not to admit you. Georgia is similar. IF I were you I would try to go to law school in a different region. good luck

JD_MSA

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2006, 10:09:50 PM »
I second the emotion that the FBBE are the most brutal anywhere.  I just sat for the Florida Bar last week, and I feel like the bar examiners know more about me than most members of my family do.  (Ever try to track down the exact date of an out-of-state speeding ticket from more than ten years ago?  Fun stuff.)

Obviously you are smart enough to figure things out before you commit to law school, which is good.  If I were in your situation, I would probably be worried since the most recent offense was, well, fairly recent, and since you've got more than one to worry about. 

Instead of calling the bar examiners first, you should consider talking with an attorney, if that's an option for you.  That's often the best route when you believe you might be prevented from being admitted. 

tacojohn

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2006, 12:45:56 AM »
The first DUI and the telemarketing thing would not be a problem in most states if you disclosed them.  I don't know about Florida though.  The last offense was fairly recent though, and like JD_MSA said, that can be a big problem.  Even if you disclose something recent and have served your punishment or been "treated", bar examiners like to make people wait, I guess to see if you'll make another mistake.

While I said the telemarketing thing would not be a huge issue, it might be more than just saying it happened.  That might look like fraud, and felony fraud convictions, or anything where you mishandle money entrusted to you makes the bar almost a dead end.  So you'll need to explain exactly what happened, although it sounds like it wouldn't be that hard.  All of this is based on very little knowledge though, I'm two years away from going through this.

TwinCities20

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2006, 03:19:59 AM »
Don't let the man keep you down...

LostMyMonkeys

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2006, 10:13:19 PM »
I go to school in Florida and I can tell you from the speakers we have had on bar admission, you would likely be ok. Not sure about the felony charge of no permit thing but the DUI's and the chronic charge are probably not going to be an issue for you provided that you explain everything and EMPHASIZE that you are in AA, been clean for XX amount of years etc. There is a group in Florida, I forget the name offhand but I can find it for you easily, that is for students and lawyers in recovery. The guy who founded it had been disbarred in MASS for some crazy drug traffiking charges and was in prison (and did some trafficking there too). Eventually moved to florida and was admitted to practice... AFTER he got sober, clean, groups, meetings, proved his worth to society and all that. Anyway, he is full of stories and it sounds like yours would be fine. Let me know if you want the name of the group. I think they are HQ'd out of south florida somewhere but he speaks around the state
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PSUDSL08

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2006, 11:53:22 AM »
My friend had 3 dui's and 2 days after finals ended, had to spend 3 weeks in jail. He actually worked on his law review write on submission while in jail. He told me that he already did his research and would be able to pass the character evaluation. You've got 2 dui's, one poss of paraphenalia, and some bs licensing charge. You seem to be in the same boat...keep out of trouble and I think you'll be ok.

chaser

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Re: I have a criminal record. Should I bother going to law school?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2006, 08:21:34 PM »
I think your chances are actually pretty good--

The "failure to register" thing and the marijuana thing are mala prohibita--things not inherently wrong, but made wrong by legislation.

The DUI's I don't think will be a deal breaker.

The other side of the coin is that the Florida bar is the most "judgmental" I have seen.

But I think you will be able to get around that stuff--if not try for another jurisdiction.
"Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite."  Oliver Wendell Holmes