Another background check question

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Anonymous User
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Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:53 pm

So, I received an offer from a firm that says "upon clearance of background checks." I have a misdemeanor on my history from 2004 for shoplifting (basically I was with a kid who pocketed something from a Walmart, and we both got "arrested" by security). It was dismissed after I took a class (sort of like traffic school). Anyway, should I be worried? It was a long time ago, and dismissed, so I'm not sure if I should mention it now (or wait until they ask).

I'm sure I'm being paranoid, but I'm worried it will get my offer rescinded. Thanks for any help.

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, I received an offer from a firm that says "upon clearance of background checks." I have a misdemeanor on my history from 2004 for shoplifting (basically I was with a kid who pocketed something from a Walmart, and we both got "arrested" by security). It was dismissed after I took a class (sort of like traffic school). Anyway, should I be worried? It was a long time ago, and dismissed, so I'm not sure if I should mention it now (or wait until they ask).

I'm sure I'm being paranoid, but I'm worried it will get my offer rescinded. Thanks for any help.

If you ever lied about it, on their job app, the LSAC, FAFSA, or your law school app, that would probably be an autoding. If they ask about it or ask a question that could be construed as asking about it "were you ever found guilty of a crime?" you should admit it (and drop any attitude about the seriousness of the arrest) and explain you were immature at the time and have since learned the error of your ways. Otherwise you should be fine.

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I received an offer from a firm that says "upon clearance of background checks." I have a misdemeanor on my history from 2004 for shoplifting (basically I was with a kid who pocketed something from a Walmart, and we both got "arrested" by security). It was dismissed after I took a class (sort of like traffic school). Anyway, should I be worried? It was a long time ago, and dismissed, so I'm not sure if I should mention it now (or wait until they ask).

I'm sure I'm being paranoid, but I'm worried it will get my offer rescinded. Thanks for any help.

If you ever lied about it, on their job app, the LSAC, FAFSA, or your law school app, that would probably be an autoding. If they ask about it or ask a question that could be construed as asking about it "were you ever found guilty of a crime?" you should admit it (and drop any attitude about the seriousness of the arrest) and explain you were immature at the time and have since learned the error of your ways. Otherwise you should be fine.


Thanks for the info. No lying anywhere- it just hasn't come up, since I just received the offer.

zomginternets
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Re: Another background check question

Postby zomginternets » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you ever lied about it, on their job app, the LSAC, FAFSA, or your law school app, that would probably be an autoding. If they ask about it or ask a question that could be construed as asking about it "were you ever found guilty of a crime?" you should admit it (and drop any attitude about the seriousness of the arrest) and explain you were immature at the time and have since learned the error of your ways. Otherwise you should be fine.


This is ridiculous, a law firm isn't going to ask LSAC and your law school (or any of those other places) for any application material, and they wouldn't turn it over to them even if they did ask.

Just don't lie about it to the firm, or try to downplay it too much (in your explanation it sounds like you're doing the "it wasn't my fault" thing). They'll probably ask you about it, and just tell them what happened--I highly doubt it's enough to get you dinged. I'm not sure if you should preemptively bring it up to them or not.

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:27 pm

Was the charge expunged after you took a class? I know some diversion programs do that so perhaps it won't even appear on a background check.

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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:48 pm

Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Was the charge expunged after you took a class? I know some diversion programs do that so perhaps it won't even appear on a background check.


OP here. Not expunged, unfortunately. It's still there (I can see it on Westlaw), although again, it does say it was dismissed. I was never convicted of anything.

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?


OP, any thoughts on how you would have checked the box in your situation? I feel like I'm overstressing this so any thoughts would be helpful.

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction and I don't want to disclose something negative unnecessarily but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?


Bump- anybody?

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I received an offer from a firm that says "upon clearance of background checks." I have a misdemeanor on my history from 2004 for shoplifting (basically I was with a kid who pocketed something from a Walmart, and we both got "arrested" by security). It was dismissed after I took a class (sort of like traffic school). Anyway, should I be worried? It was a long time ago, and dismissed, so I'm not sure if I should mention it now (or wait until they ask).

I'm sure I'm being paranoid, but I'm worried it will get my offer rescinded. Thanks for any help.

If you ever lied about it, on their job app, the LSAC, FAFSA, or your law school app, that would probably be an autoding. If they ask about it or ask a question that could be construed as asking about it "were you ever found guilty of a crime?" you should admit it (and drop any attitude about the seriousness of the arrest) and explain you were immature at the time and have since learned the error of your ways. Otherwise you should be fine.


Thanks for the info. No lying anywhere- it just hasn't come up, since I just received the offer.


How could this not come up on your law school application?

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction and I don't want to disclose something negative unnecessarily but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?


Bump- anybody?

Remember, it happened to you, so when you read the Westlaw screen, you know exactly what it means. Now put some 20-something HR person with a list 100 people in front of them doing background checks. You checked "no" and when they put your name in the system, they see something. Maybe they understand it and move on. Maybe they don't and ding you. You get the same rejection/no offer and never know why. Do you really want to trust their attention to detail?

zomginternets
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Re: Another background check question

Postby zomginternets » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?"


Sounds like you answered your own question. Even if it turns up on a background check (which it might if there is a booking record), you were not "convicted" of anything and so they won't interpret it as you lying.

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?


OP, any thoughts on how you would have checked the box in your situation? I feel like I'm overstressing this so any thoughts would be helpful.


Anonymous User wrote:How could this not come up on your law school application?


OP here.

To answer both of these, when I was asked if I had ever been convicted of a crime (on the application procedure for law school), I answered truthfully that no I had not. I really wasn't trying to parse anything, it's a simple yes or no question and I gave my honest answer.

To Anon #1, I'm in no way telling you to do this or not to do it, but know that it's what I did and it worked out for me, at least for my law school application.

FWIW I also externed in a district court this summer and passed their background check, and I worked in public schools before that and passed their background check no problem.

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paratactical
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Re: Another background check question

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?

I've worked in biglaw at several places and I have an expunged DUI. I have always taken the time to tell an HR person about what happened, my recalcitrance, and then asked if I should report it or not. I have always been praised for my disclosure and told that it didn't matter. I can't see your issue being regarded more despairingly then my DUI.

To clarify: I was never convicted. I pled no contest and completed an ADR program and therapy that wiped the charge.

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deebs
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Re: Another background check question

Postby deebs » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was the charge expunged after you took a class? I know some diversion programs do that so perhaps it won't even appear on a background check.


OP here. Not expunged, unfortunately. It's still there (I can see it on Westlaw), although again, it does say it was dismissed. I was never convicted of anything.


You can view your record on westlaw?

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:19 am

deebs wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was the charge expunged after you took a class? I know some diversion programs do that so perhaps it won't even appear on a background check.


OP here. Not expunged, unfortunately. It's still there (I can see it on Westlaw), although again, it does say it was dismissed. I was never convicted of anything.


You can view your record on westlaw?


Yup. I just searched for myself.

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deebs
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Re: Another background check question

Postby deebs » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
deebs wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was the charge expunged after you took a class? I know some diversion programs do that so perhaps it won't even appear on a background check.


OP here. Not expunged, unfortunately. It's still there (I can see it on Westlaw), although again, it does say it was dismissed. I was never convicted of anything.


You can view your record on westlaw?


Yup. I just searched for myself.

Where do I go? I don't know if my subscription has access - trying to use peoplemap?

Anonymous User
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:26 am

deebs wrote:Where do I go? I don't know if my subscription has access - trying to use peoplemap?


I don't remember specifically how I did it, but I just looked under my state, and looked my name up from there. If you have access through your law school you should be able to do it.

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blurbz
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Re: Another background check question

Postby blurbz » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:31 am

Westlaw only has criminal records for like 15 states.

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dood
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Re: Another background check question

Postby dood » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:03 am

lexis has crim records for all

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MrKappus
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Re: Another background check question

Postby MrKappus » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:50 am

dood wrote:lexis has crim records for all


Click the "coverage" button and you'll see this is wrong.

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Bronte
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Re: Another background check question

Postby Bronte » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but related question: I got a stupid underage drinking charge in college. Pretrial diversion program allowed me to avoid a conviction. A firm employment questionnaire asked "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" My gut is to answer no since there was no conviction and I don't want to disclose something negative unnecessarily but I'm concerned about appearing shady if the dismissal/charge were to appear on a background check. Thoughts?


Bump- anybody?

Remember, it happened to you, so when you read the Westlaw screen, you know exactly what it means. Now put some 20-something HR person with a list 100 people in front of them doing background checks. You checked "no" and when they put your name in the system, they see something. Maybe they understand it and move on. Maybe they don't and ding you. You get the same rejection/no offer and never know why. Do you really want to trust their attention to detail?


The only people who don't know the difference between convictions and charges are TLSers. For some reason, the distinction does not allude the rest of the adult world. My less sarcastic point, however, is that the background checks are done by background check companies, not some idiot in HR.




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