Offer contingent upon background check

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Anonymous User
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Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:32 pm

Anyone know what they're looking for in the background check? Will a credit score of 630 ding me?

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone know what they're looking for in the background check? Will a credit score of 630 ding me?


no, a credit score of 630 won't ding you.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone know what they're looking for in the background check? Will a credit score of 630 ding me?


Nope, but I can tell you from personal experience that the higher in prestige a firm is, the more likely they are to disqualify you for anything legal. This is not to say your speeding tickets or open container from when you were 18 is an auto-out. But they can get whoever they want and, at this stage of the game, it's about reasons NOT to take someone.

Point is, if they've moved you into a contingent category, or put you in one from the outset, DO NOT bank on that job. Keep your lines in the water.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:47 pm

you are applying for a job, not a mortgage...

they arent checking your credit score, its criminal history/work-related violations/sanctions

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:you are applying for a job, not a mortgage...

they arent checking your credit score, its criminal history/work-related violations/sanctions


Just to correct this, they DO check your credit score. They will know about every revolving account you have, whether you've paid your car/school notes on time, etc. It is, however, correct that most of the DQs come from the areas of criminal history and work-related malfeasance.

However, they are also using the background check as a general picture of your respect for laws, institutions, and customs. If you are unbelieveably debt-ridden, or notoriously in default, this can be construed as something as simple as an inability to organize an easy task like your personal finances to as major as you generally don't care about obligations you take on. In either case, you don't put someone you perceive in such a light in charge of multi-million/billion dollar legal questions.

Anyway, if you think there's any data that they have at their fingertips that they are not going to try to use to get a picture and, potentially, cull some from the herd, you are dreaming and I will be happy to take the offer you won't get.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:20 pm

Willing to disclose what firm does this? And is this an end-of-summer permanent-job offer, or a post-callback summer-associate offer?

NYAssociate
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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby NYAssociate » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:26 pm

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:14 pm

NYAssociate wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:you are applying for a job, not a mortgage...

they arent checking your credit score, its criminal history/work-related violations/sanctions


Just to correct this, they DO check your credit score. They will know about every revolving account you have, whether you've paid your car/school notes on time, etc. It is, however, correct that most of the DQs come from the areas of criminal history and work-related malfeasance.

However, they are also using the background check as a general picture of your respect for laws, institutions, and customs. If you are unbelieveably debt-ridden, or notoriously in default, this can be construed as something as simple as an inability to organize an easy task like your personal finances to as major as you generally don't care about obligations you take on. In either case, you don't put someone you perceive in such a light in charge of multi-million/billion dollar legal questions.

Anyway, if you think there's any data that they have at their fingertips that they are not going to try to use to get a picture and, potentially, cull some from the herd, you are dreaming and I will be happy to take the offer you won't get.


Not really sure this is universal. I wasn't subjected to a credit check (even though I agreed to one). I'd know. I have my report monitored daily.



I have been told it is not universal. I think I made some reference earlier that this becomes more relevant the higher tier the firm is. I speak from personal experience of having an offer for first year summer employment at a t5 vault firm. The offer was rocksolid. Then I filled out the HR paperwork, let them know I had something to disclose, as well as signed the release for the standard background check. Suddenly, my 100% solid offer backed by congratulatory emails from all the people I interviewed with turned into "conditional on results of background check." After my background check produced precisely the information I disclosed, they withdrew the offer anyway.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:18 pm

was this financial (credit) related or criminal/work violation/sanction related?

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone know what they're looking for in the background check? Will a credit score of 630 ding me?

One of my SA offers is also contingent on a background check done in the Spring. I think it's standard, for the firm at least.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:was this financial (credit) related or criminal/work violation/sanction related?


My actual issues were criminal. However, the background check included all the financial data we've been talking about. In my many meetings with them that followed, Career Services informed me that while in my case there wasn't anything to be concerned about (financially), people have gotten rejected in their experience for extreme financial stress or a history of clear financial mis/malmanagement.

And they made a point of emphasizing extreme. So a 630 credit score will not lose anyone a job. Factors I mentioned before, which demonstrate a clear inability or lack of care or respect in this area, can and will be included in the calculus if they are present.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:00 pm

what is a "work violation"? Why would firms not ask for references and then look into this...presumably by contacting your old work?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:03 pm

Being listed as "ineligible for rehire".

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:03 pm

Does anyone know if firms will rescind an offer if someone has some drug possession convictions, but they are over 10 years old? The offer letter doesn't say anything about the offer being condition on a background check.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone know if firms will rescind an offer if someone has some drug possession convictions, but they are over 10 years old? The offer letter doesn't say anything about the offer being condition on a background check.


In my experience, if they decide for their purposes they don't like what they see, they will bounce you for whatever. So it is absolutely possible to be DQ'd because of an ancient charge. My issues are non-drug, non-violent and now almost 8 years old. I am literally a whole different person than I was then (I suppose not literally, though maybe so, if we're talking at the cellular level). And it still wasn't enough.

As to your second point, note that my offer was not conditioned on anything at the time it was made nor was the possibility mentioned by any person or document. It was only AFTER I disclosed that the "conditional" got thrown in. It sounds like some firms will tell you straight out that your offer is conditioned on a background check; the fact that they don't say that is no indication of the firm policy.

Having said ALLLLL this, two facts are true, one from people who know, one from logic: A. I've been told by school Career people that the extremely extensive background checks and the "high bar" of a totally clean record is almost entirely limited to the highest tier of law firms and is a fairly new element of the process. My Career people are confident that the issue will most likely not even come up with most V100 firms, and for those that do check, will likely not disqualify on the basis of what I have or what a minor drug offender at age of 19 will have. Having said THAT, know that they were highly confident that my first offer would be just fine and they were pretty surprised that the offer got pulled. B. There are lots of people, I would imagine a fairly similar percentage in the law community to the regular population, that have a minor drug offense from their youth. Assuming that is the one and only time, you should be able to write a pretty tight explanation about how it was a youthful mistake that has had no recurrences since and atually led you to become a better person, etc etc.

So proceed in your biglaw aspirations but just know that every single percentage chance of jobs, etc. you see out there, your chances are some unknowable amount lower just for the simple fact that you have that. It's not insurmountable but it is a reality, all things being equal.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:31 pm

Thank you very much for this very informative reply. Are you saying that some firms do not ask about criminal records at all?

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:40 pm

Why does this thread have 15+ posts and yet not a single firm name? It's anonymous, people, and you aren't the only SA at your firm that has to consent to a background check. Out the firm.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:49 pm

I would expect a background check with any government agency. I've had two government-related internships before law school and both required it, and I can't imagine that a legal internship would have less strict requirements.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:09 pm

i was under the impressions that most offers are (implicitly even if not explicitly) contingent upon background checks. most firms at the callback stage (anywhere from V10 to V100 to non-vault) have had me fill out a form which asks about criminal convictions and there is always fine print that you give them permission to conduct a background check... is this not standard??

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you very much for this very informative reply. Are you saying that some firms do not ask about criminal records at all?


I was told by Career Services that many, if not most, firms do no background check at all and will likely not even ask about criminal history.

There was a longstanding presumption of good standing in the legal community, by virtue of the fact that you have cleared many ethical and screening hurdles just to get into and succeed in law school. This presumption has been significantly diminished by firms getting burned in various ways (don't ask, I don't know, just reciting) over the last decade-ish, so it has become standard practice at the elite firms; the farther down you slide, the less likely it becomes that a firm will ask. There is, of course, no accounting for any individual firm's policy.

NYAssociate
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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby NYAssociate » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:19 pm

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i was under the impressions that most offers are (implicitly even if not explicitly) contingent upon background checks. most firms at the callback stage (anywhere from V10 to V100 to non-vault) have had me fill out a form which asks about criminal convictions and there is always fine print that you give them permission to conduct a background check... is this not standard??


I have never been handed such a form at a callback. My information is that background checks in general are not yet the norm, but becoming far more common than they were even 3-5 years ago.

As you learned in Contracts, when someone makes an offer and you accept it, there cannot be additional requirements made upon the deal once mutual understanding has been reached without both parties consenting. In my particular case, there was an absolutely 100 percent solid offer, where the firm urged me to accept quickly so we could all be set in our choices, where I told the firm I was going with them, discontinuing my search for other employment, and they congratulated me on committing, expressed their eager anticipation for me to start work.

The day my paperwork arrived in their office, which included my standard response to their question about "any criminal convictions, excluding traffic violations and misdemeanor marijuana convictions," I was called by the firm's head HR representative to inform me my "status had been changed to 'provisional offer, pending results of background check.'" My Career Services people expressed small surprise, but after looking at my situation, insisted that tey had gotten "way worse" into firms just as good and that they were confident I was fine. Approximately a full month later, I got a perfunctory email containing the results of the background check. Three days later, the same HR lady called and "regretted to inform me that the firm could not proceed with my employment."

Take from it what you will.

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PKSebben
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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby PKSebben » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:23 pm

offers to work at a law firm isn't a contract. hth.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:24 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Being listed as "ineligible for rehire".



So do they contact all previous employers? I've never been fired but I know one of my more recent bosses did not like me.

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Re: Offer contingent upon background check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:24 pm

PKSebben wrote:offers to work at a law firm isn't a contract. hth.


Detrimental reliance.




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