Character and Fitness Disclosure for two DUI arrests (No convictions)

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Lexetius

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Character and Fitness Disclosure for two DUI arrests (No convictions)

Postby Lexetius » Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:35 pm

I am aware that different schools have different disclosure questions. For those that require disclosure of all charges I am aware that I am obligated to report both arrests, even though neither of them resulted in a conviction. My question is regarding those schools whose disclosure statements include only arrests that resulted in convictions. My first DUI arrest was in 2012 and the case was dismissed by the judge for lack of evidence. The second, unfortunately, was in Nov. of 2017 and for in this case, although my actual BAC lovel were borderline (.079/.08), I ended up taking a pre-trial diversion deal and the case was dismissed after a period of probation. Thus neither of these arrests resulted in convictions. My concern, however, is that if I don't disclose the arrests on the applications that don't require such disclosure, I would be setting myself up for trouble with the Character and Fitness portion of the bar later down the line. Please correct me if I'm wrong. From what I have read, although I am fully within my rights not to disclose these arrests on applications that only call for convictions, the character fitness committee might nevertheless view this as bad-faith/lack of transparency and hold it against me when I apply for admittance to the bar. Has anyone had experiences with this? One solution comes to mind and that is to not disclose these arrests on the applications that don't require non-conviction disclosure, and that after admittance (hopefully) to contact the dean of the law school and just submit an addendum to my application acknowledging that these events happened so that the character and fitness committee won't think that I was trying to hide anything. I have read that others have contacted the Dean of the school to make slight changes to their application after admittance. Granted, most of the time such changes are the result of inadvertently leaving information out, whereas in my case that would be deliberate - yet in my view completely warranted. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated. On the one hand, I want to increase my chances of being admitted to a T10 law school that doesn't ask for convictions in their C & F section, but on the other hand I don't want to jeopardize my chances of passing the C & F portion of the bar later down the road.

Thank you

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tada77

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Re: Character and Fitness Disclosure for two DUI arrests (No convictions)

Postby tada77 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 pm

Lexetius wrote:I am aware that different schools have different disclosure questions. For those that require disclosure of all charges I am aware that I am obligated to report both arrests, even though neither of them resulted in a conviction. My question is regarding those schools whose disclosure statements include only arrests that resulted in convictions. My first DUI arrest was in 2012 and the case was dismissed by the judge for lack of evidence. The second, unfortunately, was in Nov. of 2017 and for in this case, although my actual BAC lovel were borderline (.079/.08), I ended up taking a pre-trial diversion deal and the case was dismissed after a period of probation. Thus neither of these arrests resulted in convictions. My concern, however, is that if I don't disclose the arrests on the applications that don't require such disclosure, I would be setting myself up for trouble with the Character and Fitness portion of the bar later down the line. Please correct me if I'm wrong. From what I have read, although I am fully within my rights not to disclose these arrests on applications that only call for convictions, the character fitness committee might nevertheless view this as bad-faith/lack of transparency and hold it against me when I apply for admittance to the bar. Has anyone had experiences with this? One solution comes to mind and that is to not disclose these arrests on the applications that don't require non-conviction disclosure, and that after admittance (hopefully) to contact the dean of the law school and just submit an addendum to my application acknowledging that these events happened so that the character and fitness committee won't think that I was trying to hide anything. I have read that others have contacted the Dean of the school to make slight changes to their application after admittance. Granted, most of the time such changes are the result of inadvertently leaving information out, whereas in my case that would be deliberate - yet in my view completely warranted. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated. On the one hand, I want to increase my chances of being admitted to a T10 law school that doesn't ask for convictions in their C & F section, but on the other hand I don't want to jeopardize my chances of passing the C & F portion of the bar later down the road.

Thank you


Personally, I would disclose this on all applications. Then you won't have to worry about it, as you'll have been transparent. I had a similar situation and chose to disclose. If you can take responsibility but show these events don't define you, I thing that's the strongest route. It is unfortunate that the second DUI was recent, but it's on your side that your BAC was borderline and you dealt with it. Don't hide - if you add an addendum after you definitely look, at the very least, like you chose not to disclose these things. Ultimately up to you, of course, but I think this is the most honest route and actually carries less risk.

Lexetius

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Re: Character and Fitness Disclosure for two DUI arrests (No convictions)

Postby Lexetius » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:29 pm

tada77 wrote:
Lexetius wrote:I am aware that different schools have different disclosure questions. For those that require disclosure of all charges I am aware that I am obligated to report both arrests, even though neither of them resulted in a conviction. My question is regarding those schools whose disclosure statements include only arrests that resulted in convictions. My first DUI arrest was in 2012 and the case was dismissed by the judge for lack of evidence. The second, unfortunately, was in Nov. of 2017 and for in this case, although my actual BAC lovel were borderline (.079/.08), I ended up taking a pre-trial diversion deal and the case was dismissed after a period of probation. Thus neither of these arrests resulted in convictions. My concern, however, is that if I don't disclose the arrests on the applications that don't require such disclosure, I would be setting myself up for trouble with the Character and Fitness portion of the bar later down the line. Please correct me if I'm wrong. From what I have read, although I am fully within my rights not to disclose these arrests on applications that only call for convictions, the character fitness committee might nevertheless view this as bad-faith/lack of transparency and hold it against me when I apply for admittance to the bar. Has anyone had experiences with this? One solution comes to mind and that is to not disclose these arrests on the applications that don't require non-conviction disclosure, and that after admittance (hopefully) to contact the dean of the law school and just submit an addendum to my application acknowledging that these events happened so that the character and fitness committee won't think that I was trying to hide anything. I have read that others have contacted the Dean of the school to make slight changes to their application after admittance. Granted, most of the time such changes are the result of inadvertently leaving information out, whereas in my case that would be deliberate - yet in my view completely warranted. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated. On the one hand, I want to increase my chances of being admitted to a T10 law school that doesn't ask for convictions in their C & F section, but on the other hand I don't want to jeopardize my chances of passing the C & F portion of the bar later down the road.

Thank you


Personally, I would disclose this on all applications. Then you won't have to worry about it, as you'll have been transparent. I had a similar situation and chose to disclose. If you can take responsibility but show these events don't define you, I thing that's the strongest route. It is unfortunate that the second DUI was recent, but it's on your side that your BAC was borderline and you dealt with it. Don't hide - if you add an addendum after you definitely look, at the very least, like you chose not to disclose these things. Ultimately up to you, of course, but I think this is the most honest route and actually carries less risk.


tada77, thank you very much for your candid response. I am seriously considering going that route with most schools. However, Harvard's disclosure question clearly refers only to arrests and not convictions. So wouldn't it be honest and completely justifiable if I were to say that I do not have any convictions? I just can't help but think that if I'm a borderline candidate, they would give the nod to someone who answered "No" to that question over someone who answered "yes" even with a convincing addendum. The C & F committee can't hold it against me for answering a C & F question on an application honestly, can they?

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tada77

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Re: Character and Fitness Disclosure for two DUI arrests (No convictions)

Postby tada77 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:53 am

Lexetius wrote:
tada77 wrote:
Lexetius wrote:I am aware that different schools have different disclosure questions. For those that require disclosure of all charges I am aware that I am obligated to report both arrests, even though neither of them resulted in a conviction. My question is regarding those schools whose disclosure statements include only arrests that resulted in convictions. My first DUI arrest was in 2012 and the case was dismissed by the judge for lack of evidence. The second, unfortunately, was in Nov. of 2017 and for in this case, although my actual BAC lovel were borderline (.079/.08), I ended up taking a pre-trial diversion deal and the case was dismissed after a period of probation. Thus neither of these arrests resulted in convictions. My concern, however, is that if I don't disclose the arrests on the applications that don't require such disclosure, I would be setting myself up for trouble with the Character and Fitness portion of the bar later down the line. Please correct me if I'm wrong. From what I have read, although I am fully within my rights not to disclose these arrests on applications that only call for convictions, the character fitness committee might nevertheless view this as bad-faith/lack of transparency and hold it against me when I apply for admittance to the bar. Has anyone had experiences with this? One solution comes to mind and that is to not disclose these arrests on the applications that don't require non-conviction disclosure, and that after admittance (hopefully) to contact the dean of the law school and just submit an addendum to my application acknowledging that these events happened so that the character and fitness committee won't think that I was trying to hide anything. I have read that others have contacted the Dean of the school to make slight changes to their application after admittance. Granted, most of the time such changes are the result of inadvertently leaving information out, whereas in my case that would be deliberate - yet in my view completely warranted. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated. On the one hand, I want to increase my chances of being admitted to a T10 law school that doesn't ask for convictions in their C & F section, but on the other hand I don't want to jeopardize my chances of passing the C & F portion of the bar later down the road.

Thank you


Personally, I would disclose this on all applications. Then you won't have to worry about it, as you'll have been transparent. I had a similar situation and chose to disclose. If you can take responsibility but show these events don't define you, I thing that's the strongest route. It is unfortunate that the second DUI was recent, but it's on your side that your BAC was borderline and you dealt with it. Don't hide - if you add an addendum after you definitely look, at the very least, like you chose not to disclose these things. Ultimately up to you, of course, but I think this is the most honest route and actually carries less risk.


tada77, thank you very much for your candid response. I am seriously considering going that route with most schools. However, Harvard's disclosure question clearly refers only to arrests and not convictions. So wouldn't it be honest and completely justifiable if I were to say that I do not have any convictions? I just can't help but think that if I'm a borderline candidate, they would give the nod to someone who answered "No" to that question over someone who answered "yes" even with a convincing addendum. The C & F committee can't hold it against me for answering a C & F question on an application honestly, can they?


Yes, I think you could technically answer that question honestly without disclosing. However, if it's something you feel like you would need to disclose after being admitted, I think that's important information. We can all wonder for days about what Harvard might do comparing you to a similar candidate with no C & F issues, but the truth is we don't know, and there are far too many variables to try and guess. I think there's something to be said for being transparent as possible, and your writing made it sound like this might nag at you, but no one can make the choice for you. For the record, I applied to Harvard too.

nixy

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Re: Character and Fitness Disclosure for two DUI arrests (No convictions)

Postby nixy » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:48 am

Answer what the application asks. C&F can’t ding you down the line for not providing what wasn’t asked for. C&F will want to see that 1) you answer C&F questions accurately/fully and 2) you answered the law school app questions accurately and fully. C&F is fully capable of recognizing that a law school app asked different questions than C&F asks and that’s why your answers to each are not the same.

So if an application asks for arrests you include these incidents. If they ask only for convictions, you don’t. No one can claim you hid anything or weren’t forthcoming as long as you answer the question that was actually asked.

(Schools’ questions often arise from the requirements of the bar where the school is located. My understanding is that Harvard asks its question that way specifically because the Massachusetts bar doesn’t/can’t ask about arrests, only convictions. Obviously lots of Harvard grads won’t practice in MA and so they may face different questions, but that’s why the different schools ask their questions differently. If Harvard wanted to know about non-conviction arrests they would ask. Since they don’t, there’s no need to give them info they don’t want.)



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