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Author Topic: Character & Fitness Woes  (Read 4114 times)

RDJunior

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Character & Fitness Woes
« on: March 21, 2009, 08:59:11 PM »
Hello, all.  I'm a law student planning to take the bar exam in Florida.  I've never been arrested for anything and I have no criminal record, only a few minor traffic infractions (speeding tickets).  Yet, as I attempt to answer all the questions on the Florida bar exam truthfully, I find myself remembering several unfortunate incidents from my past that I am afraid will keep me from passing Florida's apparently stringent Character & Fitness examination.  I can't tell if the horrible feeling in my gut is justified or if I'm over-reacting, and after scouring the internet for information I've stumbled upon this forum in the hopes of getting some advice.

Both the incidents that concern me happened in my first two years of undergraduate study, and both revolve around the consequences of being involved with a girl who, to say the least, was bad for me.  The first incident happened at the end of my first year of college (2003).  After getting into an argument with my significant other, I consumed several bottles of beer and became intoxicated (under age, obviously) in my dorm room.  After getting drunk I wandered across campus to visit a friend in the hopes of crying on a shoulder.  My friend was concerned for my safety and notified her RA of my inebriation; the RA escorted me back to my dorm room and that was the end of it.  I assume that the RA was required to record this incident somewhere, but I was never subjected to any disciplinary action aside from an e-mail the following day indicating that my own RA application would have to be denied due to the incident.

The second incident happened roughly a year later during the spring semester of my sophomore year (2004).  After my girlfriend casually mentioned over AIM that she was cheating on me - with another girl - I became seriously upset, and (understandably) I decided to end the relationship with her.  Rather than see her in person, which I never wanted to do again, I sent a strongly-worded e-mail which, as you can imagine, contained a variety of vulgarities.  The e-mail was not threatening in any way; it was merely an expression of my outrage and my intent to conclude our rather destructive relationship once and for all.  I fully intended on never seeing her again (and I never did).  But that's not the end of the story, unfortunately.  A few weeks later I was summoned to see the Dean of Students, who claimed that the e-mail, in conjunction with some other pieces of evidence, constituted sexual harassment.  As a result I was issued an "Active Avoidance Order" to stay away from the girl in question, which I complied with fully.  I was not issued any probation, suspension or any other disciplinary action, nor was I asked to leave the school.  At the end of that semester I even transferred schools to get away from the situation once and for all, in the hopes of starting fresh.

After reflecting on both of these incidents and conducting research on what exactly constitutes poor character and fitness in Florida, I can't tell whether or not this is a big problem.  Most of the cases I read about online in which an applicant has problems passing the character and fitness portion of the Florida Bar Exam involve serious misconduct in the form of criminal conviction and the concealing of those convictions.  As I said before, I have no criminal record and I intend to keep it that way.  But the two above incidents don't exactly speak well for my moral character.  The horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach is only worsened by the fact that I did not disclose either of these incidents on my application to law school, which I hear is a big no-no.  Upon examination of my law school application, I fully and truthfully answered all the questions on it, but the application asked only about criminal convictions, having been suspended/expelled/placed on probation by a school, and being asked to leave a school.  The law school application did not ask about violations of student conduct codes or ask about minor disciplinary actions.  If it had, I would have certainly disclosed the information.

So, here I am asking for your opinions.  I can't tell if I'm being silly or if I have legitimate concerns.  Thanks in advance for responses.

TTom

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2009, 10:47:21 PM »
Hello, all.  I'm a law student planning to take the bar exam in Florida.  I've never been arrested for anything and I have no criminal record, only a few minor traffic infractions (speeding tickets).  Yet, as I attempt to answer all the questions on the Florida bar exam truthfully, I find myself remembering several unfortunate incidents from my past that I am afraid will keep me from passing Florida's apparently stringent Character & Fitness examination.  I can't tell if the horrible feeling in my gut is justified or if I'm over-reacting, and after scouring the internet for information I've stumbled upon this forum in the hopes of getting some advice.

Both the incidents that concern me happened in my first two years of undergraduate study, and both revolve around the consequences of being involved with a girl who, to say the least, was bad for me.  The first incident happened at the end of my first year of college (2003).  After getting into an argument with my significant other, I consumed several bottles of beer and became intoxicated (under age, obviously) in my dorm room.  After getting drunk I wandered across campus to visit a friend in the hopes of crying on a shoulder.  My friend was concerned for my safety and notified her RA of my inebriation; the RA escorted me back to my dorm room and that was the end of it.  I assume that the RA was required to record this incident somewhere, but I was never subjected to any disciplinary action aside from an e-mail the following day indicating that my own RA application would have to be denied due to the incident.

The second incident happened roughly a year later during the spring semester of my sophomore year (2004).  After my girlfriend casually mentioned over AIM that she was cheating on me - with another girl - I became seriously upset, and (understandably) I decided to end the relationship with her.  Rather than see her in person, which I never wanted to do again, I sent a strongly-worded e-mail which, as you can imagine, contained a variety of vulgarities.  The e-mail was not threatening in any way; it was merely an expression of my outrage and my intent to conclude our rather destructive relationship once and for all.  I fully intended on never seeing her again (and I never did).  But that's not the end of the story, unfortunately.  A few weeks later I was summoned to see the Dean of Students, who claimed that the e-mail, in conjunction with some other pieces of evidence, constituted sexual harassment.  As a result I was issued an "Active Avoidance Order" to stay away from the girl in question, which I complied with fully.  I was not issued any probation, suspension or any other disciplinary action, nor was I asked to leave the school.  At the end of that semester I even transferred schools to get away from the situation once and for all, in the hopes of starting fresh.

After reflecting on both of these incidents and conducting research on what exactly constitutes poor character and fitness in Florida, I can't tell whether or not this is a big problem.  Most of the cases I read about online in which an applicant has problems passing the character and fitness portion of the Florida Bar Exam involve serious misconduct in the form of criminal conviction and the concealing of those convictions.  As I said before, I have no criminal record and I intend to keep it that way.  But the two above incidents don't exactly speak well for my moral character.  The horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach is only worsened by the fact that I did not disclose either of these incidents on my application to law school, which I hear is a big no-no.  Upon examination of my law school application, I fully and truthfully answered all the questions on it, but the application asked only about criminal convictions, having been suspended/expelled/placed on probation by a school, and being asked to leave a school.  The law school application did not ask about violations of student conduct codes or ask about minor disciplinary actions.  If it had, I would have certainly disclosed the information.

So, here I am asking for your opinions.  I can't tell if I'm being silly or if I have legitimate concerns.  Thanks in advance for responses.

We can't help you if you won't tell the whole story.

ps You aren't telling the whole story.

RobWreck

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2009, 02:30:00 AM »
TTom's right... we'll need the specifics regarding your girlfriend breaking up with you for another girl. What details did she provide that justified your harshly-worded response? Did she forward any incriminating photgraphs that we could review in helping to provide you with an answer?
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LawSchoolAuthority

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2009, 07:52:31 AM »
RDJunior, I sent you a PM.

TheDudeMan

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 08:41:04 AM »
RDJunior, I sent you a PM.

LawSchoolAuthority - You are a friggin student (1L I believe) at a mediocre law school.  What makes you think you should be offering advice as gospel all over these forums and worse yet, trying to charge for more detailed advice?

haulin_oats

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 09:27:09 AM »
So long as you are candid in your BAR application you will be fine. If you're less than candid on your BAR application you will not be fine.

Kirk Lazarus

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 10:18:38 AM »


Neither of those things at your previous school involved dishonesty or a reflection of bad character so the bar doesn't care anyways. If you want to play it safe, file an amended application.

YLS c/o 2009

nealric

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 11:00:20 PM »
While I am far, far, from an authority on such matters, I would be shocked if anything you described creates a problem. The only thing I could see possibly being an issue is if the letter was more threatening than you admit here. 
Georgetown Law Graduate

Chief justice Earl Warren wasn't a stripper!
Now who's being naive?

DuckHuntinLawyer

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2009, 03:45:44 AM »

LawSchoolAuthority - You are a friggin student (1L I believe) at a mediocre law school.  What makes you think you should be offering advice as gospel all over these forums and worse yet, trying to charge for more detailed advice?

I haven't been on here in a while...Who the hell is this joker???


Anyways, to the OP, disclose, disclose, disclose. I'll bet you a hundy those bastards don't raise too much of a stink about it. Do you realize how many people get admitted to the bar after being arrested on drug charges, DUIs, etc.??? Don't let those folks find out about stuff on their own. I am a "deny till you die" kind of person myself, but not when it comes to C&F. Not worth the risk.

RDJunior

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Re: Character & Fitness Woes
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2009, 01:43:59 PM »
Thanks for the responses, all.  I'm well aware of the dire consequences of not disclosing to the bar examiners, and I fully intend to describe the incidents on my bar application.  My main concern at this point is that the bar examiners will call attention to my failure to disclose these incidents on my application to law school.  Again, the law school application asked only whether I had ever been suspended, expelled, or placed on probataion at any educational institute, so when I answered "no" it was completely truthful.  Additionally, the application had no "catch-all" question asking whether there were any other character and fitness concerns that I should make them aware of.  So I definitely answered all the questions on my application to law school truthfully, but since the Florida bar examiners are such sticklers I'm worried that they will still find fault in my failure to disclose information that wasn't requested.