Law School Discussion

Character and Fitness - Law School App

Character and Fitness - Law School App
« on: July 17, 2012, 09:08:54 AM »
Hi everyone,

I've read a lot of stories about character and fitness for both law school applications and for the bar and had a few questions about my own situation.

I don't have any serious offenses (suspension, expulsion, removal, hearing, arrests) but have a couple of minor things on my school record and wanted to know the best way of disclosing such information.

1. Residence Hall Writeups
-I have a couple of Writeups from RAs about noise complaints, alcohol, parties but majority of them were informal verbal warnings by either RAs or university police to break up the parties. Since this did not result in a formal disciplinary action (letter of warning, suspension, hearing, etc) is it safe to say that I should not disclose these warnings? (too many to count from memory anyway).
-I only have two formal letter warnings on my record. One was for being in an area where people were smoking marijuana. I met with the residence hall advisor, explained my situation and she found me "not responsible". The second was for having a friend stay with me over inter-semester session which violated the housing policy. I was found "responsible", but this did not lead to any disciplinary action.
-I am guessing that I should disclose the two letter of warnings with the corresponding decisions, but what about the other ~10 informal warnings?

2. Letter from Dean of Students
-I was involved with a student incident while in undergrad where students were trying to accuse me of sending threatening messages to another student. I was sent a letter from the Office of Judicial Affairs asking me to speak to one of the administrators. After speaking with him, he understood that  it was just exaggerations and nothing further was filed and I received no letter of warning or disciplinary action.
-Would I have to disclose this even when the letter I received was more of an invitation to speak to an administrator rather than a formal letter of disciplinary action or warning?

I appreciate the help.

Re: Character and Fitness - Law School App
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 09:23:04 AM »
As a general rule, I think you're always better off fully disclosing everything. Most of this stuff probably wouldn't cause any problems anyway, but not disclosing it might. You'll find out during law school that the bar is very intolerant of omissions/misleading statements even when it comes to minor issues. They want your full, frank disclosure. No equivocations, no excuses, just disclosure.

I don't know what individual law schools require you to disclose, or what individual state bars require, either. But think of it this way: you probably don't want any discrepancy between your law school apps and your bar app. If you disclose something on one app and not on the other, that raises red flags.

Just my two cents.


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Re: Character and Fitness - Law School App
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 12:34:38 PM »
I am anonymous internet poster not a bar admissions determiner, but I have been found morally fit to practice law as did many of my law school classmates some of whom had DUI's, arrests, and far worse things than you mentioned. HOWEVER, they disclosed them.

The standard is not to high and generally the only way to get in trouble is BY NOT DISCLOSING. Your not the first person to have been around pot when living the dorms, or have been to rowdy, law students are not saints far from it, but just be honest and you should be fine.

It may vary state to state I am only morally fit in one jurisdiction and there are 50 different ones so check with the state bar your interested in. I notice you mentioned you heard stores, but when that is your source of information it is usually quite wrong (hearsay), which you will learn all about in law school is inherently trustworthy and therefore call the people who actually know the state bar themselves.

I remember had a blip on my record nothing serious and I called and they simply told me to write an addendum. I did and I was cleared in the normal time. In the practice of law there is a lot of things you can do, but NON-DISCLOSURE or LYING is NOT ONE OF THEM. Be honest and forthcoming and you should be fine.

Good luck!

Re: Character and Fitness - Law School App
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 11:22:03 PM »
Answer the questions asked on your law school applications and your bar application.  Don't volunteer info that is outside the scope of a question, but don't be misleading.  I doubt either of these incidents will fall within the scope of questions on law school applications.  However, most states have a "catch-all" question on the bar application that is something to the effect of "Is there anything other than what is previously disclosed on this application that would negatively impact your character or fitness to practice law?"  You may need to report them on that question, however.  As previously mentioned, very few things prevent you from practicing law, but lying or failing to disclose is the big one.