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(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Prelawtiger
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:14 pm

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Postby Prelawtiger » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:33 pm

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Last edited by Prelawtiger on Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kiersten1985
Posts: 784
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:36 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby Kiersten1985 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:45 pm

I think they want the whole story. The worst thing you can do is hide things or make excuses. It's good that you're taking responsibility. I would leave out the fact that your friend was rich, or that your ex still had your keys, etc. These only sound like excuses.

These don't exactly put you in the best light, so I would make sure you have something positive in your application that attests to the fact that you've matured, can actually get along with others, and haven't done anything illegal since this stuff. Solid work experience or a lengthy volunteering stint are some examples. You should also try to get a recommendation from a professor who can speak to your current maturity and judgment. Even though these happened 5 and 2 years ago, it's not exactly like you were 13. They'll probably want some evidence that you've changed.

Good luck.

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phoenix323
Posts: 348
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Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:46 pm

Prelawtiger wrote:I have two ugly red flags on my application, though neither resulted in a conviction. I disclosed both on my applications, but was pretty vague in my descriptions. I basically put the charge, that it was dismissed or whatever, and when it happened.

Now one school has asked for clarification on the events:

So here's what happened. In charge #1, it was back in 2005, so I'm pretty far removed from it now (thankfully). I was arrested and charged with forgery. A friend of mine had told me to take a check from his check book and write it to myself for what he owed me. With my need and my knowledge that he was rich as shit, I took additional checks, hoping that he would not notice and that I could put the money back in his account before anyone figured it out.

19 at the time, and really immature. Was in financial trouble, and I made a stupid mistake. The bank figured it out, they immediately called the cops, my friend wasn't given any option before I was arrested. Terrible situation and I paid back the money that day, my friend's family asked that the charges be dropped, and they were before I had to go to trial or get a lawyer or anything.


Then 2 years ago, I had a lot of trouble with an ex-girlfriend. Did not handle a breakup well at all, and was arrested for "harassment" for trying to communicate with her through instant message. I didn't curse at her, or threaten her, or anything like that. I just didn't like getting broken up with via text message after a year, and I stupidly wouldn't leave it alone. The police showed up at my door and arrested me for harassment because of the internet contact and trespassing because I had gone to her apartment to try and talk to her.

I ended up taking the pre-trial intervention option here, just so I wouldn't have to risk anything and I could put it behind me. It was a pretty complicated situation because there was contact from a lot of different people during the whole ordeal...and the gal still had a key to my house so I had a legitimate right to speak with her. But the police did not see it that way, and it was certainly my fault.

So, how much of this do I disclose. They wanted clarification, but I'm not wanting to give out every single detail.

Also, considering I don't have any convictions or anything, is this going to hurt me bad in admissions?

Thanks in advance.


Since they are asking for further details, I would provide them with as much information as possible. Did they ask for the police reports?

I don't know how the harassment charge will affect your applications, but I think the forgery charge might hurt you, especially considering your rationale for doing it. This is a situation that really calls your ethics into question and I can see it coming up during C&F. I would write a thoughtful addendum explaining the situation and what you have done to improve yourself since then (community service, etc.). But do make sure you express remorse, because in this post you don't appear to seem sorry for stealing your friends checks. If you have the same nonchalance in your addendum, it may hurt your further. Hth.

Also, it's always a good idea to call the Bar in the state where you want to practice and ask them if this charge will affect your ability to be admitted to the Bar.

Best of luck.

blahblah blah222
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:45 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby blahblah blah222 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:49 pm

you sound pretty shady and creepy to me

Prelawtiger
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:14 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby Prelawtiger » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:57 pm

phoenix323 wrote:
Prelawtiger wrote:I have two ugly red flags on my application, though neither resulted in a conviction. I disclosed both on my applications, but was pretty vague in my descriptions. I basically put the charge, that it was dismissed or whatever, and when it happened.

Now one school has asked for clarification on the events:

So here's what happened. In charge #1, it was back in 2005, so I'm pretty far removed from it now (thankfully). I was arrested and charged with forgery. A friend of mine had told me to take a check from his check book and write it to myself for what he owed me. With my need and my knowledge that he was rich as shit, I took additional checks, hoping that he would not notice and that I could put the money back in his account before anyone figured it out.

19 at the time, and really immature. Was in financial trouble, and I made a stupid mistake. The bank figured it out, they immediately called the cops, my friend wasn't given any option before I was arrested. Terrible situation and I paid back the money that day, my friend's family asked that the charges be dropped, and they were before I had to go to trial or get a lawyer or anything.


Then 2 years ago, I had a lot of trouble with an ex-girlfriend. Did not handle a breakup well at all, and was arrested for "harassment" for trying to communicate with her through instant message. I didn't curse at her, or threaten her, or anything like that. I just didn't like getting broken up with via text message after a year, and I stupidly wouldn't leave it alone. The police showed up at my door and arrested me for harassment because of the internet contact and trespassing because I had gone to her apartment to try and talk to her.

I ended up taking the pre-trial intervention option here, just so I wouldn't have to risk anything and I could put it behind me. It was a pretty complicated situation because there was contact from a lot of different people during the whole ordeal...and the gal still had a key to my house so I had a legitimate right to speak with her. But the police did not see it that way, and it was certainly my fault.

So, how much of this do I disclose. They wanted clarification, but I'm not wanting to give out every single detail.

Also, considering I don't have any convictions or anything, is this going to hurt me bad in admissions?

Thanks in advance.


Since they are asking for further details, I would provide them with as much information as possible. Did they ask for the police reports?

I don't know how the harassment charge will affect your applications, but I think the forgery charge might hurt you, especially considering your rationale for doing it. This is a situation that really calls your ethics into question and I can see it coming up during C&F. I would write a thoughtful addendum explaining the situation and what you have done to improve yourself since then (community service, etc.). But do make sure you express remorse, because in this post you don't appear to seem sorry for stealing your friends checks. If you have the same nonchalance in your addendum, it may hurt your further. Hth.

Also, it's always a good idea to call the Bar in the state where you want to practice and ask them if this charge will affect your ability to be admitted to the Bar.

Best of luck.


No, I can assure you that I'm remorseful. It was the worst mistake of my life and something I still regret and hate to think about. I was pretty deep into the throws of a gambling addiction, and it's something that I had to battle out of over the last couple of years. I broke a lot of relationships out of stupidity, but that was absolutely rock bottom.

Prelawtiger
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:14 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby Prelawtiger » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:03 pm

blahblah blah222 wrote:you sound pretty shady and creepy to me

Registered to say that. Interesting.

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bees
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:50 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby bees » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:05 pm

I'll try to help you find some good (or at least not bad) in this situation.

Forgery and harassment both include a decent range of things that you could have done. I can't imagine any schools not wanting more information since all you listed was the charge, outcome, and date (I definitely would not have done this, as it really makes it look like you have something to hide).

Stealing some money and texting an ex/showing up at her door are less serious than some things that schools might be expecting to hear that you did.

I am sure people have gotten into law school after doing worse, but I am really in no position to say exactly how schools will view this stuff.

As far as disclosing, do what others have said: be honest, tell the school(s) everything that happened, and do not try to make excuses. Also attempt to highlight ways in which you have grown and matured if you can.

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jks289
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:42 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby jks289 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:12 pm

I think that you should tell them what you've told us. I'd imagine what they want to know is the nature of the harassment (ie non-violent) and the extent of the theft and forgery charges. Considering they already know you have this on your record, both of your answers are not as bad as you might expect after seeing the vague description. Especially the harassment charge seems innocuous, and while the theft is stupid it was a single event of incredibly poor judgment. I think you're doing yourself a favor to be more open.

Prelawtiger
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:14 pm

Re: Questions on handling a sticky criminal disclosure

Postby Prelawtiger » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:17 pm

jks289 wrote:I think that you should tell them what you've told us. I'd imagine what they want to know is the nature of the harassment (ie non-violent) and the extent of the theft and forgery charges. Considering they already know you have this on your record, both of your answers are not as bad as you might expect after seeing the vague description. Especially the harassment charge seems innocuous, and while the theft is stupid it was a single event of incredibly poor judgment. I think you're doing yourself a favor to be more open.


Thanks - I appreciate the serious answers. This is kind of delicate, and I got advice early on to "disclose as few details as possible", which led to the vague descriptions.

I can see now that harassment might carry a pretty broad scope of things, none of which are very pretty. The other, well it is what it is. There's no sugarcoating a decision that stupid.




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