Law School Discussion

Need help with c&f issue - honor code violation

Need help with c&f issue - honor code violation
« on: April 02, 2012, 06:53:59 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I need help with a pretty serious c&f issue.  I posted on this board last year as well.  In the spring semester of my 2L year I plagiarized several paragraphs on my seminar paper. I know what I did was terrible and I think about it all the time.  I have not regretted anything more.  After a disciplinary hearing, I was given an F in the course with a note in my transcript.  I was not suspended due to certain mitigating circumstances.  First, 7 days before the semester started I ended up in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack ( I was only 23 at that time).  It turned out to be a cyst and I had emergency surgery.  I was told by my doctor to stay home for at least 6 weeks because the after-effects of the surgery were pretty bad involving chronic pain.  Despite his advice, I chose to continue to attend law school.  I also made a mistake of taking an extra heavy course load ( 4 exams and 2 papers).  Instead of trying to get an extension, something certainly possible in light of my medical history, I chose to plagiarize on one of the papers. The second mitigating factor was that I am an international student and suspension would have caused serious visa issues and most likely prevented me from even completing my degree. Here are my questions:

1- How detailed should I be in disclosing the medical background on the c&f application? My doctor is wiling to write a letter describing the procedure in detail. Should I attach it? Will the committee dig into my medicl history any further?
2- One of the questions asks if " the use of drugs has been an explanation/mitigating factor in a disciplinary proceeding."  I was prescribed morphine for 8 weeks and I mentioned to the committee that being on pain medication was a factor in my struggle.  Should I mention it on the application as well? Will it cause more problems?
3 - Will my references be informed of my academic misconduct.  2 out of 5 know about it.  But I would rather not tell everyone if possible.
4 - The state where I'm taking the bar requires a mandatory hearing in cases of honor code violations.  Do I need an attorney or can I manage on my own? I understand how serious this is, but I can't afford an attorney.  I will have to resort to borrowing money from my friends if I really have to.
5 - I was told by one committee member not to disclose it to my employer and by another to disclose.  I ended up disclosing it to my summer employer who rescinded my offer for a ft associate offer.  I was devastated and could not find anything else until recently when my former boss helped me get a legal intern position.  I have not received the formal offer letter yet ( It was mailed 2 days ago), but I was asked for my transcripts or gpa when applying.  Should I disclose it to my potential employer? This job pays very little in comparison with my earlier offer, but I still don't want to lose it.  Am I obligated to inform c&f if I accept the offer? or wait till I actually start, which would be sometime in September?

Thank you all for your time! I addressed these concerns with the dean at my school and did not get any helpful answers.  I was told to hire an attorney :(


Re: Need help with c&f issue - honor code violation
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 11:05:35 AM »
If you are making less than a certain amount, you might be eligible for legal aide.  Maybe the don't ask, don't tell approach would be helpful, here.  Don't mention the severe lack of good judgment on an employment application unless specifically asked about it.  If you are asked about it, admit that, at the time, you didn't know how to handle the pressure and sought the easy way out.  And, that you learned, for next time,  to either asked for help or give the project up entirely (as in, drop the course). 

Try the network approach in looking for jobs; where the interviewer has met you outside the office first. Volunteer at a legal aide office.  Get involved in working with inmates and their legal problems.  There always seems to be work available in criminal law.

Just like a credit history,  build up a dossier of good acts that will bury that one act of moral bankruptcy.