Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

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Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:56 pm

So I had a federal judicial interview today that seemed to go perfectly. Told I was the top candidate for the job, would hear back in a week, etc., etc., etc.

Then, at the end: "We do have to have a background check. You don't have any convictions or anything like that?"

Unfortunately, I do. A DUI last year, pleaded down to a reckless driving. Only trouble I've ever been in, etc., etc. Won't ever happen again. I know, I know. That's what they all say. But the lesson was learned, 1,000 times over. I won't ever touch a wheel again, under any circumstances, and can't believe it happened once. I was completely up front about it with the interviewer.

So let's say I don't get this externship because of it. I was counting on it, stupidly.

Am I completely screwed? As in, drop out of a T14 with a 3.9 screwed??? As in pointless to even touch my books from here on out screwed??? As in time to go home and start working in the factory??? Is there anything I could possibly land at this point in the process?

Worth noting: I'm paying sticker.

Posner
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Posner » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:09 pm

.
Last edited by Posner on Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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booboo
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby booboo » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:10 pm

You didn't consider this or talk to anyone about this before applying to and attending law school?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:12 pm

Posner wrote:Very, very few employers do background checks. It's pretty much exclusive to some government jobs and government contractors. Stay clean from here on out and this shouldn't be a big deal.

This. Though you may have to find new work for this summer, worst case.

roadkilllaw
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby roadkilllaw » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:22 pm

did the interviewer's demeanor change when u told him/her of the charge?

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Cavalier
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Cavalier » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:27 pm

Is there any record of the DUI? Obviously that's a lot more serious than just reckless driving. If it's reckless driving you have nothing to worry about. If the DUI is discoverable, I still wouldn't worry about it. Private sector employers, as far as I know, don't do much in the way of background checks. After all, if you can be admitted to the bar, there probably isn't anything the employer needs to worry about. You should just make sure that you will pass the character and fitness requirement of the bar of the state(s) where you think you might practice.

thegor1987
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby thegor1987 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:33 pm

drop the books now and seek employment at the McDonald's Corporation, it's your last hope!

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:49 pm

(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.

(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.

roadkilllaw
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby roadkilllaw » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.

(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


have you not applied for anything else?

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:53 pm

roadkilllaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.

(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


have you not applied for anything else?


Yes, I have. But like a lot of people, I got not bites from firms, and was turned down from the one public interest firm I interviewed at. I had a state judge who said I could help out in her office if this one didn't work out, but I'm worried now that they'll do a background check there and I'll be dismissed from it also. Because now I feel like I'm going to have to tell them ahead of time, as well.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby DeweyWins » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
roadkilllaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.

(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


have you not applied for anything else?


Yes, I have. But like a lot of people, I got not bites from firms, and was turned down from the one public interest firm I interviewed at. I had a state judge who said I could help out in her office if this one didn't work out, but I'm worried now that they'll do a background check there and I'll be dismissed from it also. Because now I feel like I'm going to have to tell them ahead of time, as well.

I think it's odd the federal judge is asked you. I'm interning for one this summer, and he never asked if I've so much as gotten a parking ticket. I always thought that employers assume if you're clean enough to get into law school, you're clean enough to work for them.

In any event, I wouldn't disclose it to the state judge unless he asks you (he probably won't). If he does, just be open and honest about it.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby sunshinefairy » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:02 pm

This is probably more information than you wanted, but...

I work at a national nonprofit that recently passed legislation to "ban the box" in NM. The law removes the question on public job applications asking if a person has a criminal conviction. By eliminating the box, people with convictions can be considered on equal status with other job applicants, instead of being immediately labeled and dismissed as a "criminal" unfit for the job. The law is very clear that public employers still have the right to ask about convictions status (and even do background checks), but only during the finalist interview process.

National statistics show this one-on-one connection in the interview (like you had) and being upfront with an employer regarding previous convictions (like you did) should not negatively impact your chance at employment. Checking the "box" on applications without the chance to explain, however, lowers a persons chance at receiving the job by 40 to 50% (most applications go straight in the no pile...even if the conviction was 40 years ago and the person is fully qualified.)

Additionally, Boston has recently added "people with criminal convictions" as a protected class (ie: this employer does not discriminate based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, criminal conviction, race, etc...) Other jurisdictions around the country are currently looking at this type of legislation as well.

There have also been lawsuits in California arguing that discrimination against a person for having criminal conviction can actually be classified as racial discrimination based on the disproportionate impact of arrests and sentencing of people of color.

SO, as an activist, future public interest lawyer, and person with an eight-year old criminal conviction, don't give up, don't drop out, and don't let the mistakes of the past control and dominate your decisions in the future. Where ever you end up - get involved with people leaving jail and prison, get involved with local prison rights groups, and fight to remove some of the copious barriers that impact people with criminal convictions.

1 in 5 Americans has a criminal background. 1 in 100 Americans are behind bars and 1 in 32 Americans are currently involved in the criminal justice system in some way (incarcerated or on probation/parole). There are many of us and this issue will only become more prominent for employers as America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world.

PM me if you would like additional information or would like to chat more. This is a passionate issue for me (as you maybe can tell by this rant). This issue is truly one of my motivations for pursuing law school so I can learn more and better improve people's lives who are negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. Anyway...I'm happy to help in any way.

“The best of who I am has come from the worst of where I’ve been.” ~ Steve Judah

PS: I posted a poll on TLS regarding this issue a few weeks ago.

PPS: It is naive to assume that EVERY lawyer in the country has NEVER gotten a DUI, smoked pot, got in a fight, etc - human beings make mistakes. Shit happens. Employers realize this. You will be fine. Just be honest.
Last edited by sunshinefairy on Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:09 pm

Wow. You guys are completely awesome. I expected to get ripped limb from limb. Instead, I have gotten even-handed advice that has made me feel a lot better than I did a few minutes ago. Thank you so much.

I'm going to send a thank you card tonight to the clerk who interviewed me. It's something I should do anyway, but I figured it can't hurt, right?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out. And, sunshinefairy, you're absolutely right about me using this experience in the future to work as a criminal advocate. It's the least I can do, having been through the experience, albeit on a small, small scale.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Oblomov » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:14 pm

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Last edited by Oblomov on Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Abrikos
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Abrikos » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:25 pm

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BradyToMoss
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby BradyToMoss » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.


(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


Not necessarily. Not having any legal experience 1L summer will certainly hurt you during OCI, but it won't automatically shut you out (especially if you remain in the top 5%). Besides, if this one opportunity does not work out, there are certainly other opportunities that you could still try to get that would provide resume building legal experience.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby hiromoto45 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:41 pm

Posner wrote:Very, very few employers do background checks. It's pretty much exclusive to some government jobs and government contractors. Stay clean from here on out and this shouldn't be a big deal.



Wrong! Especially if you decide to transition later in life to in-house corp law or some other form of employment background checks are standard.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:54 pm

DeweyWins wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
roadkilllaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.

(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


have you not applied for anything else?


Yes, I have. But like a lot of people, I got not bites from firms, and was turned down from the one public interest firm I interviewed at. I had a state judge who said I could help out in her office if this one didn't work out, but I'm worried now that they'll do a background check there and I'll be dismissed from it also. Because now I feel like I'm going to have to tell them ahead of time, as well.

I think it's odd the federal judge is asked you. I'm interning for one this summer, and he never asked if I've so much as gotten a parking ticket. I always thought that employers assume if you're clean enough to get into law school, you're clean enough to work for them.

In any event, I wouldn't disclose it to the state judge unless he asks you (he probably won't). If he does, just be open and honest about it.


I am working for a federal judge and was also given a background check. In my understanding it's pretty standard.

I would just keep applying for other non-government jobs for the summer. It's pretty much out of your hands and you may be permanently shut out from certain jobs in the future (DOJ, FBI, etc.) but there should be private work available.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:06 pm

I have had plenty of background check, and I even had a bench warrant durring that once for not paying a ticket. I always got the job. They just look for major stuff like felonies (My jobs were govt jobs working with kids, so you'd expect them to really care about that). If that didn't block me, I think you'll be fine.

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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:10 am

BradyToMoss wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.


(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


Not necessarily. Not having any legal experience 1L summer will certainly hurt you during OCI, but it won't automatically shut you out (especially if you remain in the top 5%). Besides, if this one opportunity does not work out, there are certainly other opportunities that you could still try to get that would provide resume building legal experience.


What other opportunities, though, especially this late? I sent to all the NALP firms and got systematically dinged with form letters, even with strong credentials. I don't even know where to begin to seek anything else this summer, this late.

Just sucks that for the rest of my life, I have to pay for, "Nah, I don't need to sleep on your couch. I'm pretty sure I'm OK."

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb ...

rando
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby rando » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.


(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


Not necessarily. Not having any legal experience 1L summer will certainly hurt you during OCI, but it won't automatically shut you out (especially if you remain in the top 5%). Besides, if this one opportunity does not work out, there are certainly other opportunities that you could still try to get that would provide resume building legal experience.


What other opportunities, though, especially this late? I sent to all the NALP firms and got systematically dinged with form letters, even with strong credentials. I don't even know where to begin to seek anything else this summer, this late.

Just sucks that for the rest of my life, I have to pay for, "Nah, I don't need to sleep on your couch. I'm pretty sure I'm OK."

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb ...


Beg profs for RA positions.

Anonymous User
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:35 am

rando wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) The incident happened after I started law school. I know, I know. Idiot who deserves anything coming to me. But I did tell my dean of students the following Monday, and took all necessary steps, etc. It will never, ever, ever happen again. But that's my answer to why I didn't think about this prior to beginning law school. I was afraid of it coming up for summer employment, but I didn't get any bites from law firms, so that was that.

(2) I know that it won't preclude hiring at a firm. But not working my 1L summer will. I will have no valid explanation next fall at OCI if I don't have any 1L summer legal experience. Thus, no callbacks. Thus, no offers.


(3) So all joking aside, I'm dead serious. If I have, through my own idiocy, closed off all paths to a legal career, and particularly all paths to government work at all, I need to figure out if I should drop out and try to get into a plumber's union or carpenter's union or something else. Or at least take a year off for "personal reasons" and perhaps try again next summer.


Not necessarily. Not having any legal experience 1L summer will certainly hurt you during OCI, but it won't automatically shut you out (especially if you remain in the top 5%). Besides, if this one opportunity does not work out, there are certainly other opportunities that you could still try to get that would provide resume building legal experience.


What other opportunities, though, especially this late? I sent to all the NALP firms and got systematically dinged with form letters, even with strong credentials. I don't even know where to begin to seek anything else this summer, this late.

Just sucks that for the rest of my life, I have to pay for, "Nah, I don't need to sleep on your couch. I'm pretty sure I'm OK."

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb ...


Beg profs for RA positions.


I honestly am leaning toward dropping out at this point. Just sucks because I'll probably never even have another drink in my life, but I can't expect employers to believe me or even care. What's done is done.

narkizopoint
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby narkizopoint » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:19 am

If you can find a job in a factory here in the US, you got some mad job finding skillz so you won't have anything to worry about.

rando
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby rando » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:I honestly am leaning toward dropping out at this point. Just sucks because I'll probably never even have another drink in my life, but I can't expect employers to believe me or even care. What's done is done.


Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb ...[/quote]

As much as your situation sucks try not to play the pity card too much. You dropping out being in the position that you are is ridiculous. Most employers won't even check and if you just anything this summer you will be fine come 2L OCI. You not getting a 1L summer firm job and playing the drop out card when the govt checks into your background is silly.

Anonymous User
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Re: Top 5 percent 1L, T14, worried about background check

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:48 am

rando wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I honestly am leaning toward dropping out at this point. Just sucks because I'll probably never even have another drink in my life, but I can't expect employers to believe me or even care. What's done is done.


Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb ...


As much as your situation sucks try not to play the pity card too much. You dropping out being in the position that you are is ridiculous. Most employers won't even check and if you just anything this summer you will be fine come 2L OCI. You not getting a 1L summer firm job and playing the drop out card when the govt checks into your background is silly.[/quote]

I'm honestly not trying to play a pity card. Just frustrated with myself. It's so late in the game, and I have no clue what to do if the two judge possibilities fall through.




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