Law School Discussion

Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?

opal

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2015, 11:35:11 AM »
Yes, you're right--I need to be readmitted back into my original school before I can apply as a visiting student to the local schools. 

In July, I will have my psychiatrist. psychologist, psychotherapist, and support group director submit evaluations to my original school saying that under treatment I am doing stable and do not present a danger to myself or others.  I will also submit a letter of support from a law professor I have good rapport with, a letter of recommendation from my internship supervisor and my MPRE score report (passed with a 128) as further evidence that I am doing well and can successfully resume my legal education.  My parents are willing to personally speak with the school administration about the visiting situation and the fact that I need to stay local in order to continue my treatment for bipolar disorder.   

I'm just worried that given my lengthy rap sheet with the school, they won't take me back despite positive evaluations from my treatment providers and other evidence of my stability.  Do I have any legal recourse if they reject my petition for readmission?  (i.e. discrimination under the ADA)

loki13

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Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2015, 11:54:49 AM »
opal,

At this point, I know you're looking for specificity, but I have to be general. You need to look at the terms of your medical leave of absence/medical withdrawal/whatever it was called. Did you have specific terms written down? Was it pursuant to an official policy? Were there verbal terms offered by a decision maker that you know of and can reference? Or was it a general understanding? Make sure you understand that, and comply (to the best of your ability) with any terms. Include references to said terms in your petition for readmission to show your compliance.

At this point, just make sure you're taking care of yourself, and documenting. It doesn't pay to think "three chess moves ahead." Legal options should be a last resort.* Again, if there is someone at the school that you can speak candidly with, and informally with, regarding your desire to re-enroll so that you can visit at another school, that might be a good thing. I am somewhat concerned that you'd look to have your parents have that conversation; while I know that these past experiences have been exceptionally difficult for you, the school's administration would probably feel better seeing that you can discuss these issues. 

Good luck.

*Remember that filing a lawsuit means depositions, discovery, litigation costs, etc. Not to mention time and stress. My advice as an attorney, when talking to friends, is always to avoid litigation whenever possible. It's a fun job, but a terrible life, if you know what I mean.

opal

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2015, 12:21:23 PM »
Yes, there were specific terms written down for the medical withdrawal.  The terms included:

-that I stay off campus
-that I seek mental health treatment
-that the treatment providers should submit their evaluations to University Counseling Services for the purposes of my readmission
-that I sign a release allowing University Counseling Services to speak with my treatment providers

My parents are going to send an email to the Director of University Counseling Services and the Dean of Students in June to set up a face-to-face meeting in July re: visiting away logistics at one of the local schools.  I think, given my history, that it's best that I have as little contact as possible with the administration.  They clearly don't respect me (for obvious reasons), but they will respect my parents (mom is a psychiatrist).   

opal

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2015, 05:47:18 AM »
Another ?, if you don't mind...

I have consulted with various attorneys in my state who specialize in representing bar applicants in C&F.  One firm offered a flat fee of $3,500 to represent me before C&F.  Is this a reasonable fee or should I keep shopping around?  Other firms offered $1,000 retainers with hourly rates of up to $400.  I'm guessing my case would take more than 10 hours to prepare, but that's just a hunch. 

loki13

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Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2015, 01:34:29 PM »
Been away for a while.

As a general rule (and I do mean general), the better attorneys will charge by the hour (with a retainer). An attorney who charges a flat fee (for something other than the absolutely most mundane issue, like a simple will or other transaction) will be looking to minimize their work.

But the most important thing is fit. People often discount how they feel when the talk to their attorney. Yes, some will put on the charm offensive for the first meeting and then disregard you. But this is supposed to be a relationship. Would you feel comfortable having this person represent you? Did they explain the issues? Etc.

opal

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2015, 04:53:41 PM »
Yes, I would feel comfortable having this firm rep me.  I had a free consult with one of the attorneys.  He explained the C&F process in general and I felt like I developed a good rapport with him.  I hesitate to hire the hourly fee attorneys.   I just feel that my case, given how messy it is, will take a lot more than 10 hours to prepare and I don't think I could stomach paying more than $3,500. 

Thanks for all of your input.  I hope my school buys my redemption crusade. I just don't know what I'd do if I lose out on my dream.  :( 

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2015, 05:13:35 PM »
Nice to have the site up and running again.

Hi Opal. Loki has done a very good job of addressing the major issues, but I just wanted to mention a few things.

First, I'm not familiar with PA's C&F process, but I imagine it's not too different from CA (my home state). The key to C&F issues is full, unequivocal disclosure. The Bar is often quite forgiving of many issues, but NOT of a lack of candor. I was always told that if in doubt, fully disclose.

Your situation IS going to attract the attention of the bar. You will have to disclose the disciplinary actions, and they will likely investigate. Admission to the bar will likely rest on two major factors: 1) your honesty, candor, and willingness to cooperate, and 2) your ability to demonstrate recovery. At least here in CA, it is up to the applicant to demonstrate that they presently possess good moral character. In other words, the burden is on you.

Part of the Bar's job is to protect the public. Thus, they are probably going to want to see that this problem is behind you rather than ongoing. You're going to have to establish that, probably by showing a clean track record for a decent period of time accompanied by affidavits from doctors attesting to your progress. BTW, don't take my word as anything more than my non-professional opinion. This is just based on what I remember from law school.

I would think that at this point any talk of an ADA lawsuit is premature, to say the least. Even if the Bar did turn you down, I'm not sure how successful that route would be as opposed to waiting a couple years, showing continued progress, and reapplying. Typically, people who are denied the C&F are not permanently denied. They can reapply and show changed circumstances. Again, just my opinion, but I wouldn't want to get into an adversarial relationship with the Bar if I could avoid it. It often doesn't turn out well.

As far as getting into another school to finish out your JD, I don't know. I mean, honestly, having a disciplinary action on your record is not a small issue. My guess is that most schools would want to see changed circumstances before admitting you.

Loki gave great advice regarding retaining an attorney. If you decide to go this route, pay attention to the "chemistry". It really does help when you have a natural, positive relationship with someone who you're going to have to spill your guts to.

opal

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2015, 07:49:51 AM »
By "legal recourse" I didn't mean sue the C&F folks for denying me.  I meant to ask what should I do if my law school doesn't readmit me.

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2015, 12:40:11 PM »
Yes, my mistake.

As far as readmission/ADA "reasonable accommodations", I don't know. The school will be balancing your rights against their obligation to provide safety for other students. Perhaps finishing at another school renders the point moot?

I strongly believe that the key is to get healthy FIRST. Not only will you be in a better position to demonstrate changed circumstances, but you will probably do better on a personal level, too. I wish all the luck in the world with your continued recovery. People with such issues DO finish law school, pass the bar, and get admitted. Take care of your most immediate needs first, and everything else will follow (even if it takes a little longer than anticipated).

One last point: if I were an administrator at your law school, I would be wary of speaking to your parents without you being present. I would want to see that you were at least capable of handling a conference on your own before I'd consider readmission. I would expect that from any adult. This may be something to discuss with your lawyer.

 

opal

Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2015, 05:50:16 AM »
I would like my parents/treatment providers to do most of the communicating because the school has respect for those individuals (parents are physicians, mom is a psychiatrist).  I won't hold any clout on my own.  They f-ing despise me and want nothing more than to throw me under the bus.