I live in the state of California, where I will be applying for law school this coming fall. Almost 2 years ago, I had a misdemeanor criminal record of domestic violence nature, I am working to get that expunged in time for law school. Due to the sensitive nature of the circumstances, there are few pre-law advisers, professors, or legal professionals who are willing to offer advice based on the details and specifics of my situation. The most advice I had received were of very general recommendations and opinions that law school admissions do not automatically reject applicants with criminal records. I feel a bit lost as I am trying to put together my application packet, there are no stated guidelines that I know of for this sort of issues and concerns.
1. Should I address, include, or base the substance of my personal statement or admission essays on this "experience/incident" of legal encounter? I thought I could use this as the narrative to my journey to law school, how it affected my life, how it changed who I am, and how it affirmed my long-time aspiration to obtain a legal education. What should I focus on in my personal statement with or without the inclusion of this episode of my life?
2. Most law school applications will ask applicants to disclose fully any convictions of crimes, even if it is expunged, and then explain on a separate page attached. In such "explanation" or addendum, what must I include, and what should I avoid? Is it strictly "factual" as according to the court documents/ police reports, or is it my explanation of the situation? Also, must I include all the initial charges that were later dismissed? As well as the charge that I had pled guilty to?
3. Lastly, I would like to know now, if this record will be a road block for me for getting into law schools, and/or eventually being admitted to the CA Bar. There are some general guidelines offered, and from such, I wish to have clarified what they consider to have satisfied sufficient time passage since the misconduct proportional to the severity of the crime. Would 2 years be sufficient to show that I have rehabilitated, reconciled, and undertaken retribution, provided I have supporting material of my volunteer and counseling?
I really do appreciate any advice, comments, suggestions and recommendations. If you know of similar cases of law school applicants, if you have yourself once faced these challenges, or if you had experience advising on such matters, I would greatly value and appreciate your response. It would also be equally helpful if you have a referral to any consultants, advisers, admissions officers, any appropriate authority or personnel I can speak with in regards to my concerns.