Law School Discussion

Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor

Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor
« on: September 17, 2014, 06:10:19 PM »

I was charged with a misdemeanor class 2 (criminal mischief) in the US almost 7 years ago (when I was 20 years old). Im planning on applying to several law schools, some of them among the top ranks (NYU, Columbia, Harvard, etc.). In the application forms all universities request disclosure on past criminal records.

Do you believe that having this charge will seriously affect my chances of getting in? I have very good academic records and my LORs are expected to be good as well.

Thank you in advance,

Re: Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2014, 08:06:49 AM »
Probably not as long as you disclose what happened.

Plenty of people make mistakes I had friends in law school that had DUI's and one guy had a misdemeanor battery charge before law school. They were up front and honest about it, and had nothing to worry about.

If you don't disclose and they find out you lied about it then you will have a problem, but I think if you are honest it should be fine. It won't help obviously, but I expect it would have minimal impact.

However, the best source of information is the admissions offices they are the ones making the decision. Columbia may have a policy that they do not allow anyone with misdemeanors and if that is the case don't apply there.

You should also check with the State Bar you are interested in taking if any. The New York State Bar may have different rules for criminal charges than the California Bar etc, but go directly to the sources anyone here is nothing more than anonymous internet poster, but there are people that are literally paid to make polices for this kind of thing and they are the best point of contact.

Good luck in your pursuit of a legal education.

Re: Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 08:55:38 AM »
The key is full, complete disclosure. Be completely honest, and you should be alright.

I don't know if you obtained your J.D. in the U.S., but if you did then you have already reported this to your law school and state bar (hopefully). I imagine the process is similar for LL.M programs.

Definitely check out the rules for admission to each individual state bar you plan on applying to, however. Some states are much stricter than others and you don't want to spend a couple of years on an LL.M only to be denied admission to the bar. Be sure to look into this.


Re: Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 06:28:13 PM »
Depends on the school, I knew guys with felonies so factor that in.

Re: Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2014, 08:34:42 AM »
What everybody else said: Disclose, disclose, disclose.

Depending on the circumstances, it won't be a big deal. Many people have done dumb things and been admitted to law school and the bar without further issue. Just don't go and execute an endangered bird in Vegas.