Character and Fitness Question

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BaileyJohnson
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Character and Fitness Question

Postby BaileyJohnson » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:03 pm

Has anyone ever applied to law school with an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). In a nutshell, I got in trouble for something when I was eighteen and the court said if I didn't get in trouble with the law again in the next six months then the case would be dismissed. I started working on some applications and realized that they still ask me to disclose any cases in which you were dismissed. I wasn't arrested, I got a desk summons.

It was considered 3rd degree or Reckless assault at the time. If you think you know what happened, I can assure you, you don't.

If any one would like to take a stab at these questions, than you in advance:

1) Will this character and fitness issue be a detriment to my application?
2) Is there a chance, if I disclose everything properly and pass the BAR Exam, that I won't be admitted to practice law because of this issue?
3) When disclosing this issue on my law school applications, how should I approach it. An ACD cannot be considered an admission of guilt under the eyes of the law, but I am worried that law schools may not see it that way. Should I tell them what happened or just disclose the facts behind the dismissal?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Long time lurker, first time poster.

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ILoveYou
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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby ILoveYou » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:12 pm

BaileyJohnson wrote:1) Will this character and fitness issue be a detriment to my application?

Just going off what you said, probably not.

BaileyJohnson wrote:2) Is there a chance, if I disclose everything properly and pass the BAR Exam, that I won't be admitted to practice law because of this issue?

See 1).

BaileyJohnson wrote:3) When disclosing this issue on my law school applications, how should I approach it. An ACD cannot be considered an admission of guilt under the eyes of the law, but I am worried that law schools may not see it that way. Should I tell them what happened or just disclose the facts behind the dismissal?

I would tell them what happened, particularly if the extra facts are mitigating.

BaileyJohnson
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:31 pm

Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby BaileyJohnson » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:21 pm

ILoveYou wrote:
BaileyJohnson wrote:1) Will this character and fitness issue be a detriment to my application?

Just going off what you said, probably not.

BaileyJohnson wrote:2) Is there a chance, if I disclose everything properly and pass the BAR Exam, that I won't be admitted to practice law because of this issue?

See 1).

BaileyJohnson wrote:3) When disclosing this issue on my law school applications, how should I approach it. An ACD cannot be considered an admission of guilt under the eyes of the law, but I am worried that law schools may not see it that way. Should I tell them what happened or just disclose the facts behind the dismissal?

I would tell them what happened, particularly if the extra facts are mitigating.


Thank you for your response. The "probably" scares me. I have actually considered speaking to an attorney about this, anyone think that is a good idea or a waste of money.

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ILoveYou
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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby ILoveYou » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:34 pm

I guess that comes down to the dollar amount at which you value that peace of mind. I don't know the full situation, and I can't be certain about admissions offices' internal views on this, but I will say that if it were me, I wouldn't waste the money or time.

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Jakobe
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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby Jakobe » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:09 pm

I had something similar in that I had a deferred entry of judgment for a drug possession (more serious than weed). I also had a drinking violation several months prior to the drug arrest.

To be candid with you, I think it will hurt you at some schools. I received waitlists at a lot of schools that I thought I would have a pretty good shot at getting into. However, I also received some great acceptances and scholarships for what my stats are. So, its hard to make a generalization about this as I think there are a lot of factors that can come into play, but I personally think its not a non-issue and is considered a negative in the calculation a school might do as to whether they want to accept you.

BaileyJohnson
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:31 pm

Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby BaileyJohnson » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:48 pm

Jakobe wrote:I had something similar in that I had a deferred entry of judgment for a drug possession (more serious than weed). I also had a drinking violation several months prior to the drug arrest.

To be candid with you, I think it will hurt you at some schools. I received waitlists at a lot of schools that I thought I would have a pretty good shot at getting into. However, I also received some great acceptances and scholarships for what my stats are. So, its hard to make a generalization about this as I think there are a lot of factors that can come into play, but I personally think its not a non-issue and is considered a negative in the calculation a school might do as to whether they want to accept you.


Glad to hear from someone who has dealt with something similar. Would I be able to PM you, I have some questions I'd like to ask you privately.

--

Any lawyers have any problems with this issue when they were trying to be admitted?

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MarkfromWI
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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby MarkfromWI » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:11 pm

Disclaimer- I'm a 2L and haven't started bar apps yet: Generally, the impression that I've gotten is that just being open and honest about everything will mitigate most or all minor issues. The fact that whatever you got involved in was dismissed w/out a charge tells me that it probably wasn't a huge deal. As long as you disclose everything up front and don't try and hide it you should be fine.

SPerez
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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby SPerez » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:42 am

ILoveYou wrote:
BaileyJohnson wrote:1) Will this character and fitness issue be a detriment to my application?

Just going off what you said, probably not.

BaileyJohnson wrote:2) Is there a chance, if I disclose everything properly and pass the BAR Exam, that I won't be admitted to practice law because of this issue?

See 1).

BaileyJohnson wrote:3) When disclosing this issue on my law school applications, how should I approach it. An ACD cannot be considered an admission of guilt under the eyes of the law, but I am worried that law schools may not see it that way. Should I tell them what happened or just disclose the facts behind the dismissal?

I would tell them what happened, particularly if the extra facts are mitigating.



TITCR. No one, even a lawyer, can tell you with any more certainty than "probably". Actually, in my experience, most lawyers who don't specialize in C&F issues before their state bar incorrectly advise applicants regarding their law school applications.

The short answer is always disclose. It's almost never the thing itself that gets people, it's appearing to have lied or tried to hide it. Where state bars catch people is when the results of the background checks don't match up with what the student disclosed on their applications. Here at Tech, I'm constantly receiving application amendments from students who received notices from the Bar that they did not disclose something they should have.

As for how much of the "story" to share, I tell students to use their judgement and give me as much detail as they think I need to have to understand the situation. For your run of the mill Minor in Possession of Alcohol type stuff (which, BTW, is WAY too common you guys), I don't really need a 2 page letter with a minute-by-minute description of your every move that night.

However, for things that involve violence since raises the issue of campus safety, it sounds like you would want the AdComs to know every detail that mitigates what the charge sounds like. In the end, you have no control over what any individual professor or dean at any particular school thinks about it. The solution is not to try and hide it from them. You just have to be truthful and accept the results.

These kinds of addenda take some skill to write so have people you trust review them. You want to be open and honest. You want to advocate for your self and put things in a favorable light, of course, but you don't want it to sound like you're minimizing what you did or are hiding unfavorable facts/details.

At the end of the day, there have been several recent cases of convicted murderers being graduating from law school so hopefully that makes you more at ease about your own situation...(if not so much about the person you might be sitting next to in the fall. :) )

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law

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Jakobe
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Re: Character and Fitness Question

Postby Jakobe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:45 pm

BaileyJohnson wrote:
Jakobe wrote:I had something similar in that I had a deferred entry of judgment for a drug possession (more serious than weed). I also had a drinking violation several months prior to the drug arrest.

To be candid with you, I think it will hurt you at some schools. I received waitlists at a lot of schools that I thought I would have a pretty good shot at getting into. However, I also received some great acceptances and scholarships for what my stats are. So, its hard to make a generalization about this as I think there are a lot of factors that can come into play, but I personally think its not a non-issue and is considered a negative in the calculation a school might do as to whether they want to accept you.


Glad to hear from someone who has dealt with something similar. Would I be able to PM you, I have some questions I'd like to ask you privately.

--

Any lawyers have any problems with this issue when they were trying to be admitted?


Yeah feel free to PM me. Of course my experiences are just anecdotal but I can give you some insight into how my particular application cycle went.




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