Character and Fitness Important Question

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hsk143
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:50 pm

Character and Fitness Important Question

Postby hsk143 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:02 pm

Hi,

I recently came across the Character and Fitness questions asked by the T14 law schools and I was sad to see that most of them ask for convictions/arrests/citations even if they have been expunged. In January of 2009 a couple friends and I went to a local supermarket to shop around. Fresh into college and being 19 at the time (I am 22 now), my friends and I were very stupid. We decided to each steal a bottle of beer from the store in which we were caught. The police came, put handcuffs on us, and put in the backseat of their car, but they never took us in to the station. They told us we were going to be charged with petty theft, but after hiring a lawyer and speaking with him, he told us that the D.A. decided to charge us with 3 misdemeanors: Petty Theft, Commercial Burglary, and Possession of Alcohol as a Minor. My lawyer got Commercial Burglary and Possession of Alcohol as a Minor dropped, but we were still charged with Petty Theft. I was put on informal probation and according to the deal, I had to do 80 hours of community service and had to finish my first 100 units of undergraduate studies with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA in order to get my probation lifted early. I accomplished this fairly quickly and since then I have expunged the incident. This incident definitely changed my outlook on life and definitely put my life into perspective. My GPA is now a solid 3.67 with my entire junior and senior year consisting of only A's and A+'s. I am looking to apply to the T10 law schools but I have lost so much sleep since I came across the C and F questions last night. Will this have a heavy impact on my law school applications?

ALSO: During my first week of college (literally my first week of freshmen year), My roommates and I went to a fraternity party for the first time in our lives. After being dropped off next to our dorms around 2am, I, buzzed at the time, needed to use the restroom really badly. I didn't think I'd make it back to my dorm in time so I decided to run behind the dumpsters to pee quickly. After coming out from behind the dumpsters, an RSO stood there waiting for me. I did not try to run, nor did I try to avoid being disciplined. He proceeded to call a cop over at 2 in the morning and the officer cited me for an infraction: Urinating in Public -_-. She let me go back to my room to sleep and a couple weeks later I received a piece of mail from requiring that I pay $120 to the court. I mailed them my check and that was that. Should I disclose this? Should I expunge this?

I was so stupid my first year of college and since then I have matured to a great extent acing my 3rd and 4th years. How much of an effect will these stupid first year trips have on my T10 law school applications? Please be honest and brutal if need be. Thanks guys I really appreciate your help.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Character and Fitness Important Question

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:14 pm

If that's the extent of your "rap sheet," you're going to be fine. But you absolutely must disclose.

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pacifica
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:34 pm

Re: Character and Fitness Important Question

Postby pacifica » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:25 pm

^ +1 must disclose, but you're fine.

also, your descriptions can be more concise. lawyer part in first story, "didn't try to run" par tin second story are extraneous. seems like similar mistakes, just accept responsibility for both with the whole (im)maturity thing, while keeping the descriptions down to charges and dispositions.

hsk143
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:50 pm

Re: Character and Fitness Important Question

Postby hsk143 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:35 am

Thanks for the responses guys. The cop originally "arrested" us for petty theft only, but it was the D.A. who imposed the other two misdemeanors on us, but fortunately my lawyer got those two dropped. Should I disclose the Commercial Burglary and Possession of Alcohol as a Minor misdemeanors even if they were dropped and I was only charged for Petty Theft? I would prefer to leave those two out since they were both dropped and I was only charged with Petty Theft. Thanks again guys

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PDaddy
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am

Re: Character and Fitness Important Question

Postby PDaddy » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:45 am

Ti Malice wrote:If that's the extent of your "rap sheet," you're going to be fine. But you absolutely must disclose.


I agree. This is normal stuff. Use what you wrote to TLS in your original post, but trim the fat. They want the facts and only the facts. if you want to discuss how your experiences with the law impacted your development, there's a way to do that.

People can use these issues to their advantage if they are savvy about it. You could write a diversity statement about what you learned from your experience, but I would suggest doing so only if something unique in your experience motivated you to pursue a legal career. Be concise (i.e. 1-2 pages max) and self-aware, but don't whine.

Except for in rare instances, the schools only want to know that you are forthcoming and that you take responsibility for your mistakes. Getting off of probation early speaks volumes about your effort, so be sure to mention that.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Character and Fitness Important Question

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:48 am

hsk143 wrote:Thanks for the responses guys. The cop originally "arrested" us for petty theft only, but it was the D.A. who imposed the other two misdemeanors on us, but fortunately my lawyer got those two dropped. Should I disclose the Commercial Burglary and Possession of Alcohol as a Minor misdemeanors even if they were dropped and I was only charged for Petty Theft? I would prefer to leave those two out since they were both dropped and I was only charged with Petty Theft. Thanks again guys


If I were you, I would disclose everything. Perhaps the language of one or more of your apps provides a loophole for omitting that info, but I think the prudent course of action is to reveal it.

None of this is going to hurt you.




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