Misdemeanors and Law School

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uncjtd20
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Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby uncjtd20 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:49 am

Hey guys,
I've been mulling over whether or not to apply for law school for some time now. Recently I've decided to take the plunge, but after reading several posts concerning the effects of criminal charges on a person's chances for admission, and more importantly, the character and fitness portion of the bar, I'm a bit concerned.

Long story short, I have a relatively extensive criminal history. And by "criminal," I certainly don't mean anything heinous or egregious, but rather some (incredibly) stupid offenses from a period of time when I was rather immature. Here's the breakdown:
1- Possession of malt beverage (Age 16) - expunged
2 - Drunk and Disorderly; Possession of malt beverage; Resisting arrest (Age 18, these are obviously 3 separate charges) - dismissed after 48 hours of community service
3 - Misdemeanor larceny (shoplifting, Age 19) - this is the one I'm really ashamed of. Dismissed after 24 hours of community service.
4 - Possession of a malt beverage (Age 19) - Dismissed after alcohol classes

If you do the math, that's 6 misdemeanors. I'm 22 now, and haven't gotten in any other trouble. I'll be 23 when I apply, 24 when I enroll. I have pretty good numbers (3.78 GPA with LSATs of 170 and 175), but I'm not sure how much my record will cost me. It also makes it difficult to assess which schools I should target, and how much heat I'll be facing during the Bar process. I'm under the impression that the alcohol related charges won't be of grave concern, but what about the larceny charge. Jesus, it makes me sick just thinking about it.

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. Specifically, if anyone has gone through a similar situation, I would love to hear about it and how it played out.

scammedhard
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby scammedhard » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:45 am

3.78/175. No problems getting into most places, but you may get dinged at HYS because of them. The C+F might be a bit more tricky. You have a lot of alcohol-related offenses, and C+F boards are cracking down those. If you go to law school, and I think you should, you have to make sure you stay DRY. No getting drunk for a few years will convince the C+F boards that you have overcome your problem. But if you don't, then you probably do have a drinking problem, and you may be asked to deal with it before being allowed to sit for the bar.
Also, in your apps, you should be as forthcoming as possible. Get "Certified Dispositions" or other court records and include those in your apps. It seems that you have stayed out of trouble for a few years now, and you could state that in your personal statement.
Last edited by scammedhard on Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:46 am

uncjtd20 wrote:Hey guys,
I've been mulling over whether or not to apply for law school for some time now. Recently I've decided to take the plunge, but after reading several posts concerning the effects of criminal charges on a person's chances for admission, and more importantly, the character and fitness portion of the bar, I'm a bit concerned.

Long story short, I have a relatively extensive criminal history. And by "criminal," I certainly don't mean anything heinous or egregious, but rather some (incredibly) stupid offenses from a period of time when I was rather immature. Here's the breakdown:
1- Possession of malt beverage (Age 16) - expunged
2 - Drunk and Disorderly; Possession of malt beverage; Resisting arrest (Age 18, these are obviously 3 separate charges) - dismissed after 48 hours of community service
3 - Misdemeanor larceny (shoplifting, Age 19) - this is the one I'm really ashamed of. Dismissed after 24 hours of community service.
4 - Possession of a malt beverage (Age 19) - Dismissed after alcohol classes

If you do the math, that's 6 misdemeanors. I'm 22 now, and haven't gotten in any other trouble. I'll be 23 when I apply, 24 when I enroll. I have pretty good numbers (3.78 GPA with LSATs of 170 and 175), but I'm not sure how much my record will cost me. It also makes it difficult to assess which schools I should target, and how much heat I'll be facing during the Bar process. I'm under the impression that the alcohol related charges won't be of grave concern, but what about the larceny charge. Jesus, it makes me sick just thinking about it.

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. Specifically, if anyone has gone through a similar situation, I would love to hear about it and how it played out.



The larceny charge and the fact that you have 6 different misdemeanors will probably count against you (in a small way), for admission. Larceny isn’t great because it’s a pretty word for stealing and one of the biggest problems in the profession is dealing with lawyer-dishonesty / lawyer stealing issues. That said, it was shoplifting at 19, not stock fraud, so I’m inclined to think that with your numbers, you should be able to move past it. Just be completely honest about all of it and be sure to avoid explaining it away, so much as acknowledging your responsibility and the fact that you both regret breaking the law and that you have learned from it.

As far as the bar goes, I’m inclined to think that if you keep your nose clean and fully disclose all of your offense on both your LS and Bar application, you should be admitted without much of a hold up. It can’t hurt to consult a lawyer that handles attorney discipline/malpractice before applying, just to see how your particular jurisdiction views such offenses (all states are different to some degree). But frankly, I really don’t think it’s going to be a tremendous impediment, so long as you’re honest. If you’re in a State like NY, that requires an in person interview to be admitted, you’re going to have to talk about this stuff one day in a very frank manner. So just prepare yourself for that.

uncjtd20
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby uncjtd20 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:21 am

Thanks for the quick responses. As far as cleaning up my act goes, I feel I have made steps in the right direction. After the final offense, I transferred universities to give me some separation from my past and start anew. It took me entirely too long, but I feel I've matured immensely from that time. I transferred to a much more prestigious university, and my grades actually improved somewhat dramatically, so I'm hoping the strong upward trend will help evidence that I've moved on from such foolish endeavors. It just makes me feel a bit queezy when I think about actually putting this stuff down on my applications.

scammedhard
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby scammedhard » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:36 am

uncjtd20 wrote:Thanks for the quick responses. As far as cleaning up my act goes, I feel I have made steps in the right direction. After the final offense, I transferred universities to give me some separation from my past and start anew. It took me entirely too long, but I feel I've matured immensely from that time. I transferred to a much more prestigious university, and my grades actually improved somewhat dramatically, so I'm hoping the strong upward trend will help evidence that I've moved on from such foolish endeavors. It just makes me feel a bit queezy when I think about actually putting this stuff down on my applications.

There. That is an appropriate explanation that you should include in your apps.
Lawyers are amongst the most dishonest, unethical people in the US. And the rest of the population knows that (http://www.gallup.com/poll/145043/Nurse ... -Year.aspx). The C+F is just a game that lawyers play to pretend that they are being ethical. Just play the game (show remorse and rehabilitation), follow the rules (be truthful and candid), and you should be OK.

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txadv11
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby txadv11 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:46 am

If it ends up causing problems for admissions (which I don't think you'll get dinged by too many with those numbers), there are schools that only ask for responses about convictions and I even had one that only asked for felonies and violent crimes. "shop" around if it REALLY bothers you, which by that, I mean log on to LSAC when applications become available and look through different schools.

Again, I think this will warrant a well written addenda, but you'll get past it.

03121202698008
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby 03121202698008 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:46 am

Yeah, stop drinking malt beverages.

uncjtd20
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby uncjtd20 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:34 pm

txadv11 wrote:If it ends up causing problems for admissions (which I don't think you'll get dinged by too many with those numbers), there are schools that only ask for responses about convictions and I even had one that only asked for felonies and violent crimes. "shop" around if it REALLY bothers you, which by that, I mean log on to LSAC when applications become available and look through different schools.

Again, I think this will warrant a well written addenda, but you'll get past it.


Sage advice, although I'm under the impression that the T-14 wants to know about EVERYTHING, not just convictions.

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dood
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby dood » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:51 pm

lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.

SHarry3666
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby SHarry3666 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:52 pm

This might be helpful:

From the AD interview with Jannell Roberts @ Loyola Law School

AD How should an applicant explain criminal or academic probationary issues in the application? Do you recommend an addendum for this?

JR I definitely recommend an addendum. In fact, we require it in such circumstances. There is a part of our application that specifically addresses criminal charges or any disciplinary sanctions in their academic history -- then we require an addendum. If a candidate has one of these, then they must submit an explanation. We care about the applicant’s explanation about whatever that instance was.

Of course, it makes applicants nervous if they have something in their past that they may not be particularly proud of, but I think the key is for that person to be entirely honest about what happened and to show an appropriate level of remorse and regret. If they do that, then the admissions committee will take that into consideration. Bad things in a person’s past are not immediately prohibitive -- it only becomes a problem when the applicant is either dishonest by failing to reveal the incident(s) or where it’s clear that the person is not giving all of the relevant information surrounding that incident. Because the person appears evasive and dishonest it becomes problematic and, again, these are not qualities you want in someone you’re considering for admission to a law school.

AD And it also presents a problem for them down the road when they go before the character and fitness committee of the bar.

JR Absolutely. Which is another thing that I think applicants don’t understand. As thorough as we are in our review of an application for admission, the bar examiners are even more thorough. They will even ask about expunged charges or convictions -- every single thing that the applicant may have been involved in. So, the earlier a student reports it in the admissions process, the less likely it will cause a problem later on down the road. Even things that might seem minor that a candidate doesn’t report on the law school application, they might get discovered when they apply to become members of the bar. Then the applicant’s non-disclosure becomes the issue and this can really cause problems with him or her getting certified to practice law.

AD From your description, it sounds like they need to report any “charges” regardless of whether the applicant was actually ever convicted. Is that correct?

JR We specifically ask for charges where the person has pled, settled, or were found guilty. In those cases, we’d want to know what happened. If the charges were dropped, then at our particular school, we don’t necessarily have to know about the incident. It’s important to note that if the person is applying to several schools, the other schools might have disclosure standards that are very different than ours. Law schools purposely craft their disclosure standards based on their own state’s bar requirements or that school’s requirements. So, it’s in the applicant’s best interest to read that section of the application very carefully and make sure they respond accordingly. Law school applications are by no means uniform -- especially when it comes to disclosing these types of things.

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thecilent
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby thecilent » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:53 pm

Nyu will prob accept you. I'd say YHSCC dings, though.

uncjtd20
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby uncjtd20 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:36 pm

dood wrote:lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.


And what exactly makes you such an expert on the subject? I find a lot of what you've said to be incredibly hard to believe. When I take the Bar, I'll be 27, 8 years removed from my last incident. What makes you so sure I'm fucked? And why should I believe you over anyone else?

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thecilent
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby thecilent » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:54 pm

uncjtd20 wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.


And what exactly makes you such an expert on the subject? I find a lot of what you've said to be incredibly hard to believe. When I take the Bar, I'll be 27, 8 years removed from my last incident. What makes you so sure I'm fucked? And why should I believe you over anyone else?

dood has no idea what he's talking about.

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Magnolia
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby Magnolia » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:02 pm

thecilent wrote:
uncjtd20 wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.


And what exactly makes you such an expert on the subject? I find a lot of what you've said to be incredibly hard to believe. When I take the Bar, I'll be 27, 8 years removed from my last incident. What makes you so sure I'm fucked? And why should I believe you over anyone else?

dood has no idea what he's talking about.

The part of his post that suggests consulting an attorney who specializes in C&F issues is credited. No way should OP be taking the advice of people posting on an internet forum for this issue. Maybe their advice is right. But maybe it's not. And OP needs to know for sure before s/he goes and invests time and money into a law degree.

The only advice I will give OP is to go to a school for the lowest amount of debt possible, especially if the C&F attorney thinks there's even a slight possibility of you not passing the bar. I think this case warrants an even greater degree of debt aversion than normal so that OP doesn't end up with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that he can't pay off because he can't doesn't pass the bar.

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thecilent
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby thecilent » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:05 pm

Magnolia wrote:
thecilent wrote:
uncjtd20 wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.


And what exactly makes you such an expert on the subject? I find a lot of what you've said to be incredibly hard to believe. When I take the Bar, I'll be 27, 8 years removed from my last incident. What makes you so sure I'm fucked? And why should I believe you over anyone else?

dood has no idea what he's talking about.

The part of his post that suggests consulting an attorney who specializes in C&F issues is credited. No way should OP be taking the advice of people posting on an internet forum for this issue. Maybe their advice is right. But maybe it's not. And OP needs to know for sure before s/he goes and invests time and money into a law degree.

The only advice I will give OP is to go to a school for the lowest amount of debt possible, especially if the C&F attorney thinks there's even a slight possibility of you not passing the bar. I think this case warrants an even greater degree of debt aversion than normal so that OP doesn't end up with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that he can't pay off because he can't doesn't pass the bar.

This is ridiculous. OP has some misdemeanors from when he was young. This will not keep his from passing C&F. No idea what you guys are talking about.

PleaseHelpThanks
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby PleaseHelpThanks » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:28 pm

Just be honest and say you've learned from your mistakes, with your numbers, you will get into a GREAT (T15) law school 100%! As for the bar, they let in people who have killed other people; your malt problems will literally not affect you a single bit, and either will the other charge. JUST DON'T LIE and you will be fine!

Also, this is coming from someone who has done A TON of research on this issue, and I told every school about more charges than you have on your record, and not a single one seemed to care about it (saying this because I got in where I should have). You are freaking for NO REASON, just be honest and say you were young, blah, learned, blah...Get it?

However, if you lie, that could cause you serious problems, so once again, JUST DONT LIE AND YOU WILL BE FINE!

PleaseHelpThanks
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby PleaseHelpThanks » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:38 pm

Magnolia wrote:
thecilent wrote:
uncjtd20 wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.


And what exactly makes you such an expert on the subject? I find a lot of what you've said to be incredibly hard to believe. When I take the Bar, I'll be 27, 8 years removed from my last incident. What makes you so sure I'm fucked? And why should I believe you over anyone else?

dood has no idea what he's talking about.

The part of his post that suggests consulting an attorney who specializes in C&F issues is credited. No way should OP be taking the advice of people posting on an internet forum for this issue. Maybe their advice is right. But maybe it's not. And OP needs to know for sure before s/he goes and invests time and money into a law degree.

The only advice I will give OP is to go to a school for the lowest amount of debt possible, especially if the C&F attorney thinks there's even a slight possibility of you not passing the bar. I think this case warrants an even greater degree of debt aversion than normal so that OP doesn't end up with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that he can't pay off because he can't doesn't pass the bar.


.
Last edited by PleaseHelpThanks on Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

03121202698008
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby 03121202698008 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:41 pm

PleaseHelpThanks wrote:!


Commenting or providing advice on C&F issues or admission to the bar requires admission to the bar. I'd suggest you delete it.

PleaseHelpThanks
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby PleaseHelpThanks » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:50 pm

blowhard wrote:
PleaseHelpThanks wrote:!


Commenting or providing advice on C&F issues or admission to the bar requires admission to the bar. I'd suggest you delete it.


lol

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Magnolia
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby Magnolia » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:56 pm

blowhard wrote:
PleaseHelpThanks wrote:!


Commenting or providing advice on C&F issues or admission to the bar requires admission to the bar. I'd suggest you delete it.

This. People here are not qualified to make these assessments. We're not C&F attorneys. Most people on this board do not have the same criminal record as OP. The ones that do probably haven't gone through the bar admission process. And if they have, they certainly haven't done it in all 50 states. So I do not understand how anyone can assert that they know for sure if this will be an issue.

OP, it is worth the couple hundred bucks to find out from a licensed attorney whether you need to worry. If you find out you don't, then you'll have peace of mind. And if you find out you do, you'll know before you invest time and money in law school. I don't think it will be an issue. But when the bar can deny someone admission because they have too much debt, I would not be so quick to dismiss the possibility that they could deny someone based on a criminal record.

Derekj032
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby Derekj032 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:43 pm

thecilent wrote:
uncjtd20 wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ replies. have any of u actually been in OPs situation??

OP: every single response is either irrelevant, pure speculation, or flat out retarded wrong. go see a lawyer who specializes on C&F issues. but in short, u'r most likely fucked for law school, and EVEN IF u are admitted and graduate law school, u'r gonna have hella issues passing C&F, and EVEN IF u pass C&F, no firm or federal agency will hire u. go see a lawyer now.

but blowhard makes a good point: stop drinking malt beverages.


And what exactly makes you such an expert on the subject? I find a lot of what you've said to be incredibly hard to believe. When I take the Bar, I'll be 27, 8 years removed from my last incident. What makes you so sure I'm fucked? And why should I believe you over anyone else?

dood has no idea what he's talking about.

The part of his post that suggests consulting an attorney who specializes in C&F issues is credited. No way should OP be taking the advice of people posting on an internet forum for this issue. Maybe their advice is right. But maybe it's not. And OP needs to know for sure before s/he goes and invests time and money into a law degree.

The only advice I will give OP is to go to a school for the lowest amount of debt possible, especially if the C&F attorney thinks there's even a slight possibility of you not passing the bar. I think this case warrants an even greater degree of debt aversion than normal so that OP doesn't end up with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that he can't pay off because he can't doesn't pass the bar.[/quote]
This is ridiculous. OP has some misdemeanors from when he was young. This will not keep his from passing C&F. No idea what you guys are talking about.[/quote]


Crimes that involve deception and deceit, such as theft, way heavily with the c&f board. My friend has several under age drinking tickets (as do I) and when he spoke with a c&f attorney they told him specifically that a misdemeanor record was not bad UNLESS a person had crimes of deceit, like your shoplifting ticket.

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AreJay711
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby AreJay711 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:51 pm

I didn't read this thread but it looked good and self righteous. If they were all dismissed it probably won't show up anywhere. Do what you want with that info.

flexityflex86
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby flexityflex86 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:11 pm

You really like malt liquor.

Just take responsibility. Won't impact you too much except for at Illinois and Cornell, which for random reasons are less forgiving of mistakes.

flexityflex86
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby flexityflex86 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:12 pm

AreJay711 wrote:I didn't read this thread but it looked good and self righteous. If they were all dismissed it probably won't show up anywhere. Do what you want with that info.

Ehh that's still lying brah.

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AreJay711
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Re: Misdemeanors and Law School

Postby AreJay711 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:13 pm

flexityflex86 wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:I didn't read this thread but it looked good and self righteous. If they were all dismissed it probably won't show up anywhere. Do what you want with that info.

Ehh that's still lying brah.


What is? Giving him some info? I just put it there for his consideration with no attached advice.




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