Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

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pauwelsd
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Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby pauwelsd » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:02 pm

I have a question regarding the Character and Fitness questions on the law applications I was hoping to get some direction on.

Regarding this question: Have you ever been suspended, disqualified or otherwise disciplined as a member of any profession or in military service?

I was suspended from my job for disciplinary reasons recently and I'm a little hung up on this question. My question is does "member of any profession" restrict the question to professions such as doctors, professors, and the like or is it regarding all careers. I'm a restaurant manager so I'm not exactly a "professional" in the strict sense of the term.

I'd love to hear whatever comments the board has on this question. Thanks in advance!

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gdane
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby gdane » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:13 pm

Id disclose it if it was something major. If you were caught stealing from the company or whatnot then disclose. If you were suspended because you were caught talking on your cellphone or something silly I wouldnt bother. Some may disagree with me.

Action Jackson
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby Action Jackson » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:51 pm

Disclose. C&F's check with your past employers.

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Marionberry
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby Marionberry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:27 pm

I would call or email the school and ask. My interpretation is that this question is asking about suspension or disciplinary action taken against a licensed professional, like a doctor, lawyer, counselor, teacher, etc. If you got suspended from a job at a restaurant for calling in sick too many times or giving your friends comped appetizers, I don't think that's what this is asking about.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:31 pm

Marionberry wrote:I would call or email the school and ask. My interpretation is that this question is asking about suspension or disciplinary action taken against a licensed professional, like a doctor, lawyer, counselor, teacher, etc. If you got suspended from a job at a restaurant for calling in sick too many times or giving your friends comped appetizers, I don't think that's what this is asking about.



That's cool. In what state are you licensed as an attorney?

The answer to this question, almost without fail, is to disclose if its close. Calling the school cannot hurt, but at the end of the day, as op acknowledges, the real question is whether this is a C&F issue. If you fail to disclose it on your application, no one at the school will catch it. However, when you submit to your C&F review, its very likely that it will come to light. Playing cute games with words and not disclosing is generally not a good idea at all. As someone that sat through his own C&F, I can tell you that complete honesty is always the best policy.

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Marionberry
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby Marionberry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:37 pm

Sigh...ya know, I acknowledged the fact that I didn't know the answer and suggested that he figure out for sure what the school was asking. I was just putting out a guess as to what it meant. Really no need to be snarky.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:50 pm

Marionberry wrote:Sigh...ya know, I acknowledged the fact that I didn't know the answer and suggested that he figure out for sure what the school was asking. I was just putting out a guess as to what it meant. Really no need to be snarky.


Nothing particularly against you... But these threads are often filled with grand old advice, most of which is wrong and not really the place for comment and advice from non-lawyers. Too much is at stake for the people who might read the wrong/bad advice and choose to follow it, because the path of least resistance always seems best.

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Marionberry
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby Marionberry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:02 pm

Well, you're certainly right about that, though anyone who makes important decisions based solely on what they read on internet forums is headed for trouble anyway. I was just suggesting that that question could be interpreted another way, so it would be prudent to figure out exactly what the school is asking for.

Action Jackson
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby Action Jackson » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:08 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
Marionberry wrote:Sigh...ya know, I acknowledged the fact that I didn't know the answer and suggested that he figure out for sure what the school was asking. I was just putting out a guess as to what it meant. Really no need to be snarky.


Nothing particularly against you... But these threads are often filled with grand old advice, most of which is wrong and not really the place for comment and advice from non-lawyers. Too much is at stake for the people who might read the wrong/bad advice and choose to follow it, because the path of least resistance always seems best.

Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances read this thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=118464
8)

shoop
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby shoop » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:06 pm

reasonable_man wrote:That's cool. In what state are you licensed as an attorney?

The answer to this question, almost without fail, is to disclose if its close. Calling the school cannot hurt, but at the end of the day, as op acknowledges, the real question is whether this is a C&F issue. If you fail to disclose it on your application, no one at the school will catch it. However, when you submit to your C&F review, its very likely that it will come to light. Playing cute games with words and not disclosing is generally not a good idea at all. As someone that sat through his own C&F, I can tell you that complete honesty is always the best policy.


In your impression as someone who's been through C&F (what state, if I may ask?), are they looking to hang people out to dry for things law schools didn't even ask about?

I'm totally on board with the disclose-everything sentiment, as nothing I've done is really so terrible it should keep me from being admitted. However, if the app explicitly asks only for "convictions and pending charges," and I've got neither, but I DO have a couple juvenile arrests and a juvenile diversion, should I just be word-vomiting all my decades-old transgressions that don't even remotely fall under the scope of the application's question? Bar examiners in the state I want to practice in refuse to give me any guidance at all.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:39 pm

shoop wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:That's cool. In what state are you licensed as an attorney?

The answer to this question, almost without fail, is to disclose if its close. Calling the school cannot hurt, but at the end of the day, as op acknowledges, the real question is whether this is a C&F issue. If you fail to disclose it on your application, no one at the school will catch it. However, when you submit to your C&F review, its very likely that it will come to light. Playing cute games with words and not disclosing is generally not a good idea at all. As someone that sat through his own C&F, I can tell you that complete honesty is always the best policy.


In your impression as someone who's been through C&F (what state, if I may ask?), are they looking to hang people out to dry for things law schools didn't even ask about?

I'm totally on board with the disclose-everything sentiment, as nothing I've done is really so terrible it should keep me from being admitted. However, if the app explicitly asks only for "convictions and pending charges," and I've got neither, but I DO have a couple juvenile arrests and a juvenile diversion, should I just be word-vomiting all my decades-old transgressions that don't even remotely fall under the scope of the application's question? Bar examiners in the state I want to practice in refuse to give me any guidance at all.


New York (which has fairly strict C&F requirements). Its not that they are looking to hang you out to dry. For the most part, more than anything, they are looking for a) past offenses that show some degree of moral-terptitude; and b) incondistancies between your law school application and your bar application. I.e., the fact that you beat up Joey Smith at the bus stop and were arrested when you were 19 and had the charges reduced, etc., is not likely to cause you a problem when trying to get admitted. However, failing to disclose it to your law school and having that come up during your C&F might become an issue. This is why my advice is always to over-disclose, if something is a close call.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:26 pm

In your impression as someone who's been through C&F (what state, if I may ask?), are they looking to hang people out to dry for things law schools didn't even ask about?


This question doesn't tend to come up in that context. It's almost always related to some creative, wordsmith, or "No one would ever find out about this" approach to a law school application C&F (or employment history) question. The bar "hangs you out to dry" because this sort of thing raises very large questions about your character and makes the rest of your declarations inherently suspect.

shoop
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Re: Bar Admission Character and Fitness Question

Postby shoop » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:29 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
In your impression as someone who's been through C&F (what state, if I may ask?), are they looking to hang people out to dry for things law schools didn't even ask about?


This question doesn't tend to come up in that context. It's almost always related to some creative, wordsmith, or "No one would ever find out about this" approach to a law school application C&F (or employment history) question. The bar "hangs you out to dry" because this sort of thing raises very large questions about your character and makes the rest of your declarations inherently suspect.


Le sigh. I figure I'll give schools detailed info on whatever misbehaviors they specifically ask about, and then do a brief "Though XXX Law does not specifically ask for details of all arrests, in the interest of avoiding inconsistency with my eventual bar application, I wish to disclose that I have 2 juvenile arrests in blah and blah years in blah county, resolved through a diversion program and a prosecutors decision to not pursue charges, respectively. Per the blah county prosecutor, I am not considered to have been charged, convicted, or otherwise adjudicated. Details available upon request."




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