Character and Fitness Language Question

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

Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby hsk143 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:01 am

Hi,

I am wondering a few things and I'd be really grateful if you guys could help me out. I'll list my concerns below:

1. I received a misdemeanor a few years back and I have since then expunged the incident. I noticed that some apps specify that you must disclose crimes even if they have been sealed or expunged but I was wondering if I would still need to disclose if they just ask "Have you ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor or is any such charge now pending against you?" without specifying any more.

2. Would I need to disclose an INFRACTION for "Urinating in Public?"

Thanks guys. The help is much appreciated.

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WhiteyCakes
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Re: Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby WhiteyCakes » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:17 am

It is better to disclose too much than to not disclose something and then have it come back to bite you when you are applying to the Bar. With that said, it doesn't have to be a long explanation. 3-5 sentences is probably sufficient for a stupid alcohol-related infraction like that.

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North
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Re: Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby North » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:21 am

1. Unless the C&F section specifically notes that you don't have to include expunged cases, be safe and disclose.

2. Unless the C&F section specifically states that you don't have to include infractions or says that you don't have to include, say, any charges less than a misdemeanor, be safe and disclose.

These aren't big deals (unless your expunged misdemeanor is a DUI or something like that), so there's no reason to not err on the side of caution. Disclosing up front won't hurt you, but finding out later that you should have will.

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

Re: Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby hsk143 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:14 am

North wrote:1. Unless the C&F section specifically notes that you don't have to include expunged cases, be safe and disclose.

2. Unless the C&F section specifically states that you don't have to include infractions or says that you don't have to include, say, any charges less than a misdemeanor, be safe and disclose.

These aren't big deals (unless your expunged misdemeanor is a DUI or something like that), so there's no reason to not err on the side of caution. Disclosing up front won't hurt you, but finding out later that you should have will.


Thanks for the responses guys! Does everybody else agree with this? Because normally when other apps, for example job apps, just ask if you have ever been convicted isn't the expungement supposed to allow the omission? I know some apps say that you must disclose expunged matters but if they don't mention that and just say ""Have you ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor or is any such charge now pending against you?" I still need to disclose?

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reasonable_man
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Re: Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:07 am

I'm a practicing attorney in NYC, graduated LS in 2008. If you're inquiry involves dissecting the language of the C&F question to determine if you must disclose something; you're fucking doing it wrong brah.

The point of the C&F exercise (both pre-LS and pre-bar-admission), is not to exclude people for what are, usually, trivial "crimes." Hell, even some serious crimes can be explained away. As long as you aren't talking about a crime that shows a lack of moral sensibility, (i.e. crimes involving “moral turpitude”) such as theft, fraud, etc., or seriously violent crimes, or a pattern of criminal activity that shows a lack of respect for the law, etc., the chances of you not gaining admission to LS or the bar for that matter are slim, even with some small infractions on your record.

What might trip you up is getting called out for not disclosing criminal activity when asked. Bar examiners can request your criminal background and also your law school transcript. What they are looking for is to see if you failed to report relevant information when applying to LS because that shows a true lack of integrity because the chance of getting caught is pretty low (LS are not doing background checks). Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching and that’s what C&F is about.

So in sum, when in doubt – report. This is not the time to show off your statutory interpretation skills, it’s the time to be honest.

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

Re: Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby hsk143 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:21 pm

reasonable_man wrote:I'm a practicing attorney in NYC, graduated LS in 2008. If you're inquiry involves dissecting the language of the C&F question to determine if you must disclose something; you're fucking doing it wrong brah.

The point of the C&F exercise (both pre-LS and pre-bar-admission), is not to exclude people for what are, usually, trivial "crimes." Hell, even some serious crimes can be explained away. As long as you aren't talking about a crime that shows a lack of moral sensibility, (i.e. crimes involving “moral turpitude”) such as theft, fraud, etc., or seriously violent crimes, or a pattern of criminal activity that shows a lack of respect for the law, etc., the chances of you not gaining admission to LS or the bar for that matter are slim, even with some small infractions on your record.

What might trip you up is getting called out for not disclosing criminal activity when asked. Bar examiners can request your criminal background and also your law school transcript. What they are looking for is to see if you failed to report relevant information when applying to LS because that shows a true lack of integrity because the chance of getting caught is pretty low (LS are not doing background checks). Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching and that’s what C&F is about.

So in sum, when in doubt – report. This is not the time to show off your statutory interpretation skills, it’s the time to be honest.


My misdemeanor is a "moral turpitude" (petty theft) :( It was 3 years ago and it has been expunged and I have gotten straight 4.0's since. Am I going to be rejected from the T-14 schools due to the moral depravity?

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reasonable_man
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Re: Character and Fitness Language Question

Postby reasonable_man » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:06 pm

Petty theft that was expunged is unlikely to cause a problem, especially where you take the high-road and disclose it on the app (even though you might not have had to do so). You'll be fine; just don't steal any shit during LS ;)




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