Criminal Record on PS and Application

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deezx2
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:52 am

Criminal Record on PS and Application

Postby deezx2 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:15 am

I just got my LSAT scores back from the December test (163) and now that I have them back I need to start applying to law schools by the end of the month. As of right now, I have decent GPA (3.61) at Penn State and have one good letter of recommendation with another average one likely on the way. With my metrics, I realize that the schools I should be applying to are in the 20-50 range and plan on applying to schools like George Washington, Maryland, and Temple. However, I have a major compounding factor in my admission, I have been arrested for burglary.

To make a long story short, I basically got too drunk at a friend's place back home in a suburban community and blacked out. I tried to walk back to my place (which was a major mistake) and got lost on the way and managed to mistake another house for mine. I went into the unlocked house and slept in an empty bedroom that I thought was mine and the cops were called and I got arrested on burglary charges. This was a big story in my hometown and a simple Google search of my name will bring up the incident. I have recently had everything expunged due to completing ARD program in PA for first time offenders.

My major question is whether I should mention this incident on my law school applications at all. They will clearly be able to find this should they look. Do they even look? The next part of this is whether I should use an addendum or personal statement to address this issue. I could easily write a great personal statement about this incident and how it changed me and how it made my desire to study law stronger. I cannot stress how good this personal statement would be. However, I am wary about making this regrettable instance a focal point in my personal statement and curious as to whether they would even know about this if I did not mention it. My other personal statement ideas would likely be average personal statements. Should I draw attention to this or should I ignore it for the range of law schools I am applying to?

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

Re: Criminal Record on PS and Application

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:38 am

deezx2 wrote:My major question is whether I should mention this incident on my law school applications at all. They will clearly be able to find this should they look. Do they even look?


You really have a lot to learn about the law school application process. Every application has a character and fitness section because you have to pass a state bar's character and fitness evaluation in order to be licensed to practice, and schools aren't interested in admitting people who will ultimately denied admission to the bar. You will likely have to disclose this incident on every app, regardless of whether the charge has been sealed, expunged, etc. If you do not, when the bar evaluates your character and fitness to practice law and investigates your records, you will run the grave risk of not being admitted to the bar. When the bar notifies your school of this omission, your school could even rescind your degree. You will owe a ton of money and have nothing to show for it.

The next part of this is whether I should use an addendum or personal statement to address this issue. I could easily write a great personal statement about this incident and how it changed me and how it made my desire to study law stronger. I cannot stress how good this personal statement would be.


I cannot stress enough what a bad idea this would be. The "I've learned so much from my past drunken/criminal behavior" personal statement is a dime a dozen, and this kind of inspirational redemption story will not at all improve your standing in the eyes of adcomms. They're not touchy-feely people. Focusing on past criminal behavior and its aftermath in the PS is almost always a terrible idea. Write it if you want to get it out of your system, and post it on the PS forum for critique, but understand in advance that you almost certainly should not submit it. Use the PS to show your strengths.

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swilson215
Posts: 1109
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:35 pm

Re: Criminal Record on PS and Application

Postby swilson215 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:50 am

You NEED to disclose. Even if the application says "you don't need to disclose sealed, etc." you should still disclose, because when you apply for the bar, their C&F can/may/will look at it like you were trying to hide something.

DISCLOSE.

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Criminal Record on PS and Application

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:24 pm

Disclose.

And instead of making that essay your personal statement, make it your explanatory essay for why you answered, "Yes", to a question. Then, take out all the excuses and sentimentality.

deezx2
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:52 am

Re: Criminal Record on PS and Application

Postby deezx2 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:11 am

Thanks. I will be using this experience in an addendum and another topic for my personal statement. Out of curiousity, how much does this hurt my chances even though it was expunged?




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