Law School Discussion

Employment, background checks, etc...

Employment, background checks, etc...
« on: February 28, 2004, 06:37:45 PM »
I've been asking around but havent gotten any answers to the following..I notice that the applications for school and bar request info from (in my case) way back. The Bar application goes back to age 21. I would assume that when you apply for the Bar they would check your school application for verification/accuracy, etc. I havent a clue as to dates and I'm not even sure I can remember YEARS of jobs, addresses, etc.! I have a work history for the last 25 years or so, the majority with one employer. In between I had a couple of small, short term jobs that I barely remember. Will the Bar or school look back THAT far for exact dates and places or do they only go back so far? If they do honestly go all the way back to when you were 21, does Social Security or some other government agency have a record that would show it?

What kind of background check does the Bar (in general) perform? Cursory arrest record and employment verification or a governmental type of investigation?

I know honesty is the best policy so I want everything to match up. I think the questions arise more from inaccurate or conflicting info than the info itself.

Re: Employment, background checks, etc...
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2004, 03:14:32 PM »
Each state bar is different.

My husband joined the Indiana bar and he was required to submit along with his bar application a fingerprint card (for an NCIC background check) as well as driving records, and copies of any arrest records (he had a slight run in with the law when he was 18 years old). 

The state bars generally don't have the time to check out every reference on your bar application, but they will check out your law school application.  If you purposely leave something off of one or both, chances are, you'll get caught.  Indiana also has character and fitness personal interviews that require the applicant meet with a representative of the fitness committe personally and review all items on the bar application.

As for actual employment dates, they generally don't verify that. If it comes down to it, list only approximate years. That's what he did and it wasn't a problem.

Criminal/court records though, you don't have that luxury. YOU MUST go to the individual courts and get exact dates/dispositions/etc. if that's what they're asking for. Otherwise, it appears as though you're trying to 'hedge' the facts.  If the records are no longer available, you still should list the incident and make mention that you attempted to get the information from the court, but there was no record. You should then also include a statement from the court indicating that they show no record.

Something else to remember - you're not going to be precluded from a law school just because of past indiscretions, unless they are so absolutely horrible, that the school has no choice. The purpose of them asking those questions is to make sure there is nothing in your past that will come out to haunt the school later. They need to be prepared up front.

Hope that helps.

Karen W.

Re: Employment, background checks, etc...
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2004, 01:42:27 PM »
Well if it helps, my husband's incident was shoplifting, a crime of dishonesty, that is looked very poorly on.  But it was not an issue on his law school application or his bar application.

The key is to being honest..

Karen W.