Character and Fitness Question

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lawschoolhopeful440

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Character and Fitness Question

Postby lawschoolhopeful440 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:32 pm

Alright so during my sophomore year of college I was unlucky enough to get an alcohol violation warning. It did not result in any probation, suspension, or any other punishment but I know that I will still be required to disclose it on my applications. I was wondering how much this would negatively affect my application. Does this make me look like less of a competitive applicant or do they usually view this as an immature mistake that I honestly disclosed. Thanks guys, I just want the truth so I can prepare myself haha.

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby LSATWiz.com » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:08 pm

lawschoolhopeful440 wrote:Alright so during my sophomore year of college I was unlucky enough to get an alcohol violation warning. It did not result in any probation, suspension, or any other punishment but I know that I will still be required to disclose it on my applications. I was wondering how much this would negatively affect my application. Does this make me look like less of a competitive applicant or do they usually view this as an immature mistake that I honestly disclosed. Thanks guys, I just want the truth so I can prepare myself haha.

Won't have any affect. Just disclose for post-LS C&F purposes. It still won't have an effect then as long as you disclose. Remember that a bar reviewer will eventually read the disclosure you submit to LS.

Bingo_Bongo

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:31 am

+1 for the post saying it won't have any impact.

Just disclose it (if it even comes up; if I remember correctly, I don't think any of my applications or moral character questionnaires asked anything that would require me to disclose a mere warning given by a school about alcohol.) Even if you do have to disclose is, that type of offense is not something that would disqualify you from the practice of law.

The Bar is only concerned about what are called crimes of "moral turpitude." Those are crimes of dishonesty (theft/fraud/ect) and violence. They reflect a willingness to hurt people, or take advantage of situations for your own selfish benefit (a character trait fiduciaries like lawyers, cannot have).

And schools are only concerned about that stuff (crimes/prior bad conduct in school) to make sure you're eligible to be a lawyer. It wouldn't be that good if law schools accepted students who stood no chance of passing the c&f requirements. If your past criminal conduct/discipline from a school doesn't reflect dishonesty or violence they won't care.

jmcali19

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby jmcali19 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:19 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:+1 for the post saying it won't have any impact.

Just disclose it (if it even comes up; if I remember correctly, I don't think any of my applications or moral character questionnaires asked anything that would require me to disclose a mere warning given by a school about alcohol.) Even if you do have to disclose is, that type of offense is not something that would disqualify you from the practice of law.

The Bar is only concerned about what are called crimes of "moral turpitude." Those are crimes of dishonesty (theft/fraud/ect) and violence. They reflect a willingness to hurt people, or take advantage of situations for your own selfish benefit (a character trait fiduciaries like lawyers, cannot have).

And schools are only concerned about that stuff (crimes/prior bad conduct in school) to make sure you're eligible to be a lawyer. It wouldn't be that good if law schools accepted students who stood no chance of passing the c&f requirements. If your past criminal conduct/discipline from a school doesn't reflect dishonesty or violence they won't care.


SO if I have a few discipline issues from undergrad: "dishonesty/fraud" misconduct from a prank (pretended to be suitemate on his chat account with friends) would that be taken seriously? I also have a one-year suspension due to a threat uttered in shock: I yelled I was going to kill someone after they drunkenly almost ran me over with a golf cart. I was not deemed threatening upon investigation, just melodramatic. It was more than 5 years ago...

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:13 am

jmcali19 wrote:SO if I have a few discipline issues from undergrad: "dishonesty/fraud" misconduct from a prank (pretended to be suitemate on his chat account with friends) would that be taken seriously? I also have a one-year suspension due to a threat uttered in shock: I yelled I was going to kill someone after they drunkenly almost ran me over with a golf cart. I was not deemed threatening upon investigation, just melodramatic. It was more than 5 years ago...


If the actual record says that you committed "fraud," that's definitely something you'll want to explain in an addendum. The second one sounds a little more concerning. Why were you suspended for a year if the investigation determined you didn't actually threaten anyone?

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:46 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
jmcali19 wrote:SO if I have a few discipline issues from undergrad: "dishonesty/fraud" misconduct from a prank (pretended to be suitemate on his chat account with friends) would that be taken seriously? I also have a one-year suspension due to a threat uttered in shock: I yelled I was going to kill someone after they drunkenly almost ran me over with a golf cart. I was not deemed threatening upon investigation, just melodramatic. It was more than 5 years ago...


If the actual record says that you committed "fraud," that's definitely something you'll want to explain in an addendum. The second one sounds a little more concerning. Why were you suspended for a year if the investigation determined you didn't actually threaten anyone?


I'm guessing OP yelled that he was going to kill a school employee (who else drives golf carts around campus?). I guessing that the disciplinary board either made a factual finding that (1) OP didn't mean to carrying out the threat, but still made a threat with the intent to scare the other party (which is actually the case of most criminal threat cases I've dealt with); or (2) OP's utterance wasn't actually intended to be a threat, or even scare the other party, but the school had a strict speech code that doesn't care about intent or context (which is actually fairly common).

In either event, I can see a school suspending a person for a year for that. Schools take that violent speech really seriously. There's a guy who was just sent to prison for a couple years for Criminal Threats (not jail, but actual prison) for sending a school administrator a video where he was talking about how much he hated the school/administrators while laying in a bathtub with a handgun on his belly. If I recall correctly, he didn't even actually make any direct threats in the video, but the subtext was enough.

jmcali19

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby jmcali19 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:15 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
jmcali19 wrote:SO if I have a few discipline issues from undergrad: "dishonesty/fraud" misconduct from a prank (pretended to be suitemate on his chat account with friends) would that be taken seriously? I also have a one-year suspension due to a threat uttered in shock: I yelled I was going to kill someone after they drunkenly almost ran me over with a golf cart. I was not deemed threatening upon investigation, just melodramatic. It was more than 5 years ago...


If the actual record says that you committed "fraud," that's definitely something you'll want to explain in an addendum. The second one sounds a little more concerning. Why were you suspended for a year if the investigation determined you didn't actually threaten anyone?


I'm guessing OP yelled that he was going to kill a school employee (who else drives golf carts around campus?). I guessing that the disciplinary board either made a factual finding that (1) OP didn't mean to carrying out the threat, but still made a threat with the intent to scare the other party (which is actually the case of most criminal threat cases I've dealt with); or (2) OP's utterance wasn't actually intended to be a threat, or even scare the other party, but the school had a strict speech code that doesn't care about intent or context (which is actually fairly common).

In either event, I can see a school suspending a person for a year for that. Schools take that violent speech really seriously. There's a guy who was just sent to prison for a couple years for Criminal Threats (not jail, but actual prison) for sending a school administrator a video where he was talking about how much he hated the school/administrators while laying in a bathtub with a handgun on his belly. If I recall correctly, he didn't even actually make any direct threats in the video, but the subtext was enough.


Another student was driving the golf cart, lol, not am employee. And comparing an utterance said in shock to a guy with an actual gun video-recording himself making actual threats is a bit extreme.

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby Empedocles1 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:28 pm

oqkWhile I was an undergrad the guys across the street from us had some CDs stolen and they called the police. The police came to our house, got our IDs and asked us about it. We told them we (honestly) did not take the items and they moved on.

No arrest. No charges.

I assume a police report has to exist somewhere in their records as the officer wrote down our names.

I know the old refrain about "disclose, disclose, disclose....", but falling short of even an arrest, just questioning...thoughts?

albanach

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby albanach » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:19 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:+1 for the post saying it won't have any impact.


Though, if you had future incidents, the sounds become relevant. Say a DUI in 3L. That's already bad, but for someone with an alcohol violation in college it will look even worse.

Not suggesting you haven't learned from this, but be careful not to do anything the board could find establishes a pattern.

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby albanach » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:25 pm

Above post was intended to say "could become relevant". Editing is disabled on this thread, so I can't correct it.

cavalier1138

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:30 pm

jmcali19 wrote:Another student was driving the golf cart, lol, not am employee. And comparing an utterance said in shock to a guy with an actual gun video-recording himself making actual threats is a bit extreme.


I'm sure it sounds extreme from your perspective, but try to imagine just seeing the text of your disciplinary record without context. There's no note saying "but not really" next to the charge of issuing threats. When you disclose that one, it's important that you take responsibility for it and not play it off as "I was just joking!" You can mention the context (shocking situation, etc.), but you absolutely need to acknowledge that you were in the wrong and that you take it seriously.

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby QContinuum » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:27 am

Empedocles1 wrote:oqkWhile I was an undergrad the guys across the street from us had some CDs stolen and they called the police. The police came to our house, got our IDs and asked us about it. We told them we (honestly) did not take the items and they moved on.

No arrest. No charges.

I assume a police report has to exist somewhere in their records as the officer wrote down our names.

I know the old refrain about "disclose, disclose, disclose....", but falling short of even an arrest, just questioning...thoughts?

No, don't disclose. There's nothing to disclose. You were not arrested or charged with a crime.

Bingo_Bongo

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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:14 pm

Empedocles1 wrote:oqkWhile I was an undergrad the guys across the street from us had some CDs stolen and they called the police. The police came to our house, got our IDs and asked us about it. We told them we (honestly) did not take the items and they moved on.

No arrest. No charges.

I assume a police report has to exist somewhere in their records as the officer wrote down our names.

I know the old refrain about "disclose, disclose, disclose....", but falling short of even an arrest, just questioning...thoughts?


The trick is to read the questions carefully. You don't need to disclose any more than what they ask for. The question asks to list "convictions", don't disclose it because it wasn't a conviction. If the question asks to list "arrests", don't disclose, because you weren't arrested. It's that simple. C&F in most states only care about arrests and convictions, so I don't foresee you ever having to disclose that.

The only time in your legal career where you might have to disclose that is during a thorough background investigation for certain government positions (District Attorney, USAO, FBI). A lot of times in those investigations they'll go even deeper and ask not just about arrests but also any "contacts" you've had with law enforcement. But those really detailed investigations only ever apply to government law-enforcement type positions, or positions where you need a security clearance. And yes, if you're mentioned in a police report somewhere, or in an FI card, there are fancy law-enforcement only databases where they can find your documented contacts, even if they didn't result in arrests. But they def ain't doing that just for C&F, or 99% of employment background checks.



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