Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
RelativeEase
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:26 pm

Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby RelativeEase » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:37 pm

I have a significant past arrest/citation record

as a minor arrested for marijuana possession
Minor in possession of alcohol
DUI - dismissed in court
a couple of disturbing the peace arrests/citations
careless operation of vehicle
missing a court date and having to spend 24 hours in jail

I was planning on listing the events with dates and outcomes(pre trial diversion, citation paid, plead no contest), but I do not plan on giving much of an explanation, if any, of the actual circumstances. All the instances occurred over 5 years ago and since then i have been married, had kids, and have a full time job with an accounting firm. After listing the items I was going to write a paragraph noting I was young, often drunk accept full responsibility and am now older more mature, etc.

Do you think its a horrible idea not to explain actual circumstances? I, obviously, dont want to draw a lot of attention to this addendum and hence thought a list and a general explanation of being younger, etc, would suffice.

What say you?

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:41 pm

Explanations are typically required by law schools. The good news, however, is that all adcomms will understand your desire to practice law---to save money on your own defense costs !

User avatar
MrKappus
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby MrKappus » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:41 pm

Anything you can do to proscribe what a person's imagination will fill in when reading that list is probably a good idea.

User avatar
lovejopd
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 pm

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby lovejopd » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:43 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Explanations are typically required by law schools. The good news, however, is that all adcomms will understand your desire to practice law---to save money on your own defense costs !

:lol:

RelativeEase
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:26 pm

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby RelativeEase » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:47 pm

MrKappus wrote:Anything you can do to proscribe what a person's imagination will fill in when reading that list is probably a good idea.


I hear ya. I just feel like any explanation will sound like an excuse. For example the marijuana possession. I was riding in a car with 4 other people. The driver had a bag under the passenger seat. The driver wouldnt say its his so everyone got brought in and charged. I feel like if i explain it that way they readers will roll their eyes and think "yeah right".

Same thing with some of the disturbing the peace charges. I was with a group of people one time there was a fight the other it was just a lot of yelling/arguing. In both instances several people were cited when really there were only a couple people truly at fault.

Any tips on how to explain this without sounding like I am passing the buck.

User avatar
MrKappus
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby MrKappus » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:50 pm

I would include in the explanation that you're "not passing the buck." For example, "Although my accounts of these incidents include the culpable actions of other people, I want to emphasize that at the end of the day, I was at fault for putting myself in these situations in the first place."

But more eloquent, which shouldn't be hard.

ogurty
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:16 am

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby ogurty » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:01 pm

RelativeEase wrote:
MrKappus wrote:Anything you can do to proscribe what a person's imagination will fill in when reading that list is probably a good idea.


I hear ya. I just feel like any explanation will sound like an excuse. For example the marijuana possession. I was riding in a car with 4 other people. The driver had a bag under the passenger seat. The driver wouldnt say its his so everyone got brought in and charged. I feel like if i explain it that way they readers will roll their eyes and think "yeah right".

Same thing with some of the disturbing the peace charges. I was with a group of people one time there was a fight the other it was just a lot of yelling/arguing. In both instances several people were cited when really there were only a couple people truly at fault.

Any tips on how to explain this without sounding like I am passing the buck.


I wouldn't send in anything that sounds remotely like this post. You don't that many drug/alcohol citations and other misdemeanors without doing something wrong. And anything that sounds, even a little bit, like you're explaining how it wasn't really your fault, will probably rub an adcomm the wrong way.

Your idea in the OP is much better. Try to highlight any rehabilitation/counselling you may have done. And make it clear that everything was several years ago. I'd stay far away from providing details as to individual incidents unless there's very compelling information - and "it wasn't my weed" is not compelling.

User avatar
typ3
Posts: 1362
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:04 am

Re: Disclosing Past Legal Incidents...How much explanation

Postby typ3 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:58 pm

ogurty wrote:
RelativeEase wrote:
MrKappus wrote:Anything you can do to proscribe what a person's imagination will fill in when reading that list is probably a good idea.


I hear ya. I just feel like any explanation will sound like an excuse. For example the marijuana possession. I was riding in a car with 4 other people. The driver had a bag under the passenger seat. The driver wouldnt say its his so everyone got brought in and charged. I feel like if i explain it that way they readers will roll their eyes and think "yeah right".

Same thing with some of the disturbing the peace charges. I was with a group of people one time there was a fight the other it was just a lot of yelling/arguing. In both instances several people were cited when really there were only a couple people truly at fault.

Any tips on how to explain this without sounding like I am passing the buck.


I wouldn't send in anything that sounds remotely like this post. You don't that many drug/alcohol citations and other misdemeanors without doing something wrong. And anything that sounds, even a little bit, like you're explaining how it wasn't really your fault, will probably rub an adcomm the wrong way.

Your idea in the OP is much better. Try to highlight any rehabilitation/counselling you may have done. And make it clear that everything was several years ago. I'd stay far away from providing details as to individual incidents unless there's very compelling information - and "it wasn't my weed" is not compelling.



This.

Show that you've changed by 1. having no present or pending charges and a long amount of time since those. 2. prove you've taken steps to correct your problems, rehabilitation, counseling, AA, some sort of support group / public speaking / community outreach etc. 3. take ownership for the violations of the law and misconduct and put it squarely on yourself.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest