Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

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throwaway13579
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Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby throwaway13579 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:16 pm

Throw-away account (I couldn't figure out how to anonymously post in this section)

Anyway, here are my concerns for the Character and Fitness Questions for my law school applications:


#1 - Minor in Possession of Alcohol as a Juvenile
When I was a minor in California (I'm not sure how other states deal with this, or whether it varies by county), I was caught drinking alcohol. I was "arrested and cited" by an agency. I was not "convicted." I just had to go to a class for an alternative solution. Upon completion, my record was destroyed and "not entered into the system" (I believe a computer system). There would be, however, a hard copy of the file at the arresting agency's office.

Should I disclose everywhere? Should I not disclose if the question asks for convictions?


#2 - Noise Complaint at my residence
So, I was not at my college residence for either of these noise complaints (scumbag roommates). Anyway, we had a noise complaint filed by the city against our house. I'm not sure the exact type of "crime" (citation, infraction, misdemeanor, etc.) that this noise complaint was. We had to pay a fine. I no longer live at this address. Should I disclose?


#3 - Other run-ins with the police
I have never been arrested (i.e. my miranda rights read) to me, but I have had police officers stop me, take my ID, write something down, etc. I didn't get a ticket or letter in the mail for anything. I think they just wanted to scare me? This has happened to me as a juvenile and adult. Disclose?


To be honest, there is no way law schools will find out about these things. I'm worried one or more could bite me in the ass during Bar Certification. Please let me know what you think. Thank you TLS.

jml8756
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby jml8756 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:21 pm

What is the exact wording of the questions to which you are responding?

throwaway13579
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby throwaway13579 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:44 pm

jml8756 wrote:What is the exact wording of the questions to which you are responding?



Chicago
Have you ever been charged with or convicted of any crime or offense other than a minor traffic violation? This includes any charges, complaints or citations that were filed against you as a juvenile or as an adult, formal or informal, pending or closed, dismissed, expunged, sealed or subject to a diversionary program, and includes any charges, complaints or citations that you reasonably expect to be brought against you. If so, please provide all material facts and an explanation of the circumstances.


Columbia
Have you ever, either as a juvenile or an adult, been convicted of a crime other than minor traffic violations? This should include matters that have been expunged or subject to a diversionary program. If you answered yes, you must attach a detailed, complete, and truthful written explanation. Please answer honestly, irrespective of any advice you may have received to the contrary.

NYU
Have you ever, either as an adult or a juvenile, been charged with or convicted of any crime, or charged with or found to have committed any offense (whether or not defined as a crime), or are any such charges pending?
This should include matters that have been expunged or dismissed.

Also, other applications ask whether I have ever been convicted of a crime other than minor traffic violations, but do not specify as a juvenile and adult, as Columbia, Chicago, and NYU do.
Last edited by throwaway13579 on Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby Kilpatrick » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:47 pm

Sounds like you should definitely disclose #1 and write an addendum about maturing since then or whatever

#2 is trickier. Is your name on the ticket? It sounds so trivial. Like, less than a traffic ticket. I would hope you wouldn't have to bother disclosing it. But it might be better to err on the side of caution.

#3 definitely not.

throwaway13579
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby throwaway13579 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:49 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:Sounds like you should definitely disclose #1 and write an addendum about maturing since then or whatever

#2 is trickier. Is your name on the ticket? It sounds so trivial. Like, less than a traffic ticket. I would hope you wouldn't have to bother disclosing it. But it might be better to err on the side of caution.

#3 definitely not.


I do not believe my name is on the noise complaint discussed in #2. I was more worried the Bar would ask all of my residences ever and see if anything has ever happened in those residences (ex. a roommate did something bad and I knew about it).

I had a gut feeling I wouldn't need to disclose #2 or #3. I was just worried about #1 :/

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby Kilpatrick » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:52 pm

Yeah I'd say if your name isn't on the ticket, don't disclose a noise complaint. If it ever came up at C&F (and I doubt it would) you can just, truthfully, say you weren't even home when the complaint was issued.

throwaway13579
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby throwaway13579 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:52 pm

What should I do for #1 (read original post) for this:

Harvard
Have you been convicted of a misdemeanor (excluding speeding tickets)?

I wasn't "convicted" and I was a juvenile.

Again, this is much more of a will this screw me in Bar C&F for saying no?

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gaud
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby gaud » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:45 pm

Tell the truth on it. If it asks if you've been 'charged with a crime' then it is absolutely a good idea to disclose it (schools will more than likely not take this too seriously as long as you can write even a decent statement about how you were young and immature yada yada yade (like other posters said to do))

if it asks if you've been convicted then you are correct, as a juvenile you were not convicted so you do not need to disclose it.

just be extra careful and make sure that you tell the truth according to what they are asking.... i seriously doubt that a juvenile charge like that could hinder many opportunities

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89vision
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby 89vision » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:46 pm

How much weight do schools place on the C&F portion of application?

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theadvancededit
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby theadvancededit » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:54 pm

89vision wrote:How much weight do schools place on the C&F portion of application?


The schools don't place weight on them, necessarily. It's for admission to the bar.

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89vision
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby 89vision » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:23 pm

If it's meant for the bar, why do schools even ask for C&F? It doesn't make sense to me for schools to ask anything that is not considered. Does the bar require law schools to ask C&F questions?

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Hopefully2012
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Re: Character and Fitness Question - Law School Application

Postby Hopefully2012 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:41 pm

89vision wrote:If it's meant for the bar, why do schools even ask for C&F? It doesn't make sense to me for schools to ask anything that is not considered. Does the bar require law schools to ask C&F questions?

Law schools want their graduates to be able to pass the bar so it's relevant that they know ahead of time whether or not an applicant has committed any crimes/infractions that would preclude the applicant from doing so. While typically only felony+ will disqualify you, I would imagine 30+ speeding/parking violations would also make it difficult for a graduate/law student to pass the bar.

Plus, I think law schools would like the ability to deny someone even with a 4.0/180 if they have a criminal history that speaks negatively towards their character.




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