Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

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mileena
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Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby mileena » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:52 am

Please, no jokes or accusations of trolling. I want only serious responses, as I am a serious person.

I am a 43 year old single female. I very much want to go to law school and finish this time. In 1992, right after I graduated from college, I attended at top 25 law school, but withdrew after a semester for non-academic, health reasons.

As an undergraduate, I had a 3.96 GPA out of 4.00 from a top 25 national university, graduated summa cum laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, etc. I also placed in the 99.6 percentile for the LSAT the last time I took the test in 1996. That's higher than the median LSAT score for any law school.

I also was matriculated in a Ph.D. program in an academic field at an Ivy League school from 2000-2002, but withdrew for non-academic, health reasons.

After withdrawing from law school in 1993, I had 11 criminal convictions: 10 misdemeanor and 1 summary (less than misdemeanor; it is on par with a traffic ticket). The misdemeanors were mostly in 1995-96. The 1 summary conviction was in 2003. These were for writing bad checks, driving after license suspension, retail theft, and residential theft.

I was also arrested in 2006 for felony identity theft, misdemeanor receiving stolen property, etc., but all the 5 charges were dropped in return for payment of restitution in 2006. Those arrests, as well as the one summary conviction, can be expunged/pardoned if I apply and cough up the fees. But the remaining 10 misdemeanors are from another state, and it does not offer routine pardons.

I also have 5 active arrest warrants from out-of-state [4 traffic from 2006-2008, and 1 misdemeanor for false personation from 2008 (lying about your name and date of birth to police)], which I will take care of shortly once I have the money to travel back there, across the county, to make an appearance in court. I expect that one criminal charge to be dismissed; and I will just pay the 4 traffic fines to clear those warrants.

If it matters at all, I have a poor credit history (including a judgment against me), have an open Chapter 7 bankruptcy, was involuntarily hospitalized in various psychiatric facilities six times in my wild youth in the mid-1990's, and have received Social Security Disability since 1993 for non-serious mental illnesses. I also have 4 or 5 trespassing notices issued against me in 2009, and a 1-year restraining order issued against me from 1997. And I have 9 or so traffic tickets from 1991-2003, which have been taken care of. And a number of past and current driver's license/registration suspensions. As well as some parking tickets.

I also lied on my application for law school in 1992 by not disclosing my prior one or two traffic convictions, but I plan to be honest this time around.

I know all the above looks bad, but it really isn't. I could sit here and give you the sad story of my life and childhood, but I am not. Suffice it to say, I am pulling myself up by the bootstraps and going to start a new life at 43. I had a stroke in 2011, which has led me to become a more mature person. I want to get off disability, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. and finish my education.

I want to start fresh and go to a new law school, preferably a top-tier one. What are my chances for admission, as well as for passing the Bar's character and fitness requirements?

Thanks!
Last edited by mileena on Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:56 am

As someone who knows nothing about any bar requirements, I doubt you would pass in any state. Definitely talk it over with a lawyer in your state to see if you have any shot, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

mileena
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby mileena » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:01 am

Thanks for your reply.

That's sad, because I really have a strong passion for the law and love practicing it (I am acting pro per in my current bankruptcy and unlawful detainer cases). I do it really well and did great when I did go to law school in 1992.

BTW, I read about an ADA in Philadelphia who has a murder conviction and spent time in prison. If he can get in, I hope I can too! After all, what I have done is a lot less worse than murder!

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:08 am

First and foremost, contact a C&F attorney to see if you can still pass the bar given your history. Unfortunately I've heard the dishonesty (theft), mental instability, and a pattern of sordid behavior is what the Bar flags hardest. But I am absolutely not the person whose word to take on this, just off-hand observations. Again, contact a C&F attorney. You do not want to attend law school, be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, only to not be able to practice.

As far as admissions, given the extent of your circumstances 4 years since the last incident doesn't seem too far in the past. But I'm not sure. Speaking to a few admissions officers may help. Dean Perez of Texas Tech and Mike Spivey (former AdComm) both post on TLS. Find their threads using the search function and ask them, they're quite candid and helpful. Also, you will need to retake the LSAT as your score is expired (5+ years old).

All that being said, two personal things.

1) Do you genuinely feel as if the circumstances that brought you to the low points you were at are behind you? You really need to settle this above all else before engaging in another academic endeavor that you may not be able to handle. The stress of law schools is sometimes too much for average folks let alone for someone who has already experienced some trauma. Screw law school, for your own well being make sure these issues are truly addressed. Being at peace makes everyday life, and especially driving towards a goal, so much easier.

2) I'm sorry for whatever crap you had to go through to get you to that point and I am genuinely pulling for you to put the past behind you and move forward in a healthy way. A lot of people would've given up.
Last edited by John_rizzy_rawls on Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:14 am

Just want to point out that getting admitted to a law school, even a good one, isn't what matters. The bar is what matters. If you get into school, but fail the bar you aren't any more qualified for a job and you have $200,000 in debt (that can't be discharge via bankruptcy).

mileena
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby mileena » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:26 am

Hey, thanks john_rizzy_rawls for your supportive post and referrals.

You ask some very good questions. Basically, make sure whatever caused you to act badly in the past has been addressed. That's a question I have asked myself many times, in particular why I dropped out of grad school/law school twice, and would I be successful this time around? I would answer that that's a very complex issue. Some of the issues have been addressed, and some will continue to be addressed throughout my life and in the future, as I become more mature/tolerant/self-confident, and as more civil rights are respected more by society. I know, the latter part is a very cryptic answer, as I don't want to appear to blame society for my plight, but the issues are intertwined. It would help if I could find a mental health counselor, but when you're on Medicare and Medicaid, they either don't take your insurance or aren't seeing new patients.

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:32 am

Keep trying in network counselors until you find one willing to take on a new patient. Also try free of charge mental health facilities that do intensive everyday sessions. Most mental hospitals have these kind of programs for patients not formally admitted to the hospital but seeking help.

Also, try to find out what your condition is or could be. You sound intelligent, a look through DSM could help you maybe identify potential realms of illness that could be afflicting you.

Finally, get books. Most people I work with can't afford therapy so I always recommend Amazon books on the cheap. It's like having some of the country's most renowned mental health specialists in areas that directly afflict you (stress, anxiety, self-worth, emotional masochism, whatever) speaking to you in your living room.

mileena
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby mileena » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:34 am

Tom Joad wrote:Just want to point out that getting admitted to a law school, even a good one, isn't what matters. The bar is what matters. If you get into school, but fail the bar you aren't any more qualified for a job and you have $200,000 in debt (that can't be discharge via bankruptcy).


A good point!

The loans can be more easily discharged though once you reach your 50's and if you're officially disabled, like I am (see the Pilcher and Bruner federal cases for this). Also, there is a far easier way to get the loans cancelled: though the federal administrative cancellation process offered by the Department of Education for total and permanent disability. This way, your credit score takes no hit. Some bankruptcy courts, in fact, make you do this first, before hearing a discharge application/adversary proceeding.

I had 8 federal student loans (Perkins, Stafford, SLS) administratively cancelled for total and permanent disability just last month by the Department of Education, and am trying to get the one remaining private student loan discharged in bankruptcy. But I just called the guarantor for the private student loan, Keybank, and believe it or not, since it was from 1992-93, they have no record of the loan! They looked it up under both my name and my social, and nothing appeared. So I am free!

mileena
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby mileena » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:43 am

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:Keep trying in network counselors until you find one willing to take on a new patient. Also try free of charge mental health facilities that do intensive everyday sessions. Most mental hospitals have these kind of programs for patients not formally admitted to the hospital but seeking help.

Also, try to find out what your condition is or could be. You sound intelligent, a look through DSM could help you maybe identify potential realms of illness that could be afflicting you.

Finally, get books. Most people I work with can't afford therapy so I always recommend Amazon books on the cheap. It's like having some of the country's most renowned mental health specialists in areas that directly afflict you (stress, anxiety, self-worth, emotional masochism, whatever) speaking to you in your living room.


Wow, another good post. Thank you again. Yes, I do have one Axis I diagnosis and 1 Axis II diagnosis (a personality disorder). I also am looking forward to the new DSM-V coming out in May, because one of my mental illnesses has been officially eliminated in that edition!

I am also going to step up the search for counselors and classes/books, as you suggest, once I finish my two current civil court cases, which seem to be taking up most of my time. In fact, I have another free bankruptcy seminar to go to tomorrow (or today, actually). So, I probably should be getting some sleep :)

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:08 am

If you have an Axis II mental disability you should absolutely be looking up every renowned book on the subject. Especially if its something akin to Bipolar Personality Disorder, or really anything non-genetic brought on by trauma and experience (Axis I discharged, Axis II, Axis IIB, Category 4 Non-Habitual, etc).

These are simultaneously the most frustrating and most curable, if that's at all encouraging. If you want to PM me the specific disorder I can try recommending a few books.

Also, your disorder being eliminated from DSM does not mean the symptoms you experience from the disorder's core will not continue to exhibit themselves if given the correct stimuli. For example, if BPD were eliminated from a book tomorrow that wouldn't mean BPD patients wouldn't continue to feel crippling sensations of loneliness at the slightest indication of emotional separation. What goes in these books is as much politics as it is science. All that to say, treat yourself based on what you feel.

Take care of yourself then think about law school; they're not going anywhere. My two cents.

Best of luck.

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northwood
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Re: Law school applicant with 11 misdemeanor convictions??

Postby northwood » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:27 am

contact both your local C&F attorney as well as some local schools and talk to admissions. You ought to double check your eligibility for student loans, as you had them discharged for disability- could that affect your eligibility to get them? ( I honestly dont know, but its a possible issue/ thing to check)

Also, i think ( but im not offering advice at all) that yuo may want to get those arrest warrents taken care of before you do any of this




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