Background checks and Biglaw

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Anonymous User
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Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:10 pm

I want biglaw. I'm a 1L right now so I won't be really trying for it until next fall, as I haven't had any luck w/ firms yet. I am #1 in my class at a T25, but I have a pretty tainted background. Two crimes of moral turpitude. Both were theft misdemeanors, one class B and one class C. I also have multiple class C drug/alcohol misdemeanor charges. Two public intoxications, a minor in consumption, and a possession of paraphanalia charge.

This all happened during my senior year of high school and my first year of college. I haven't had any trouble with the law in 4 years now, besides 1 speeding ticket.

Any information regarding biglaw firms and hiring people with bad backgrounds is appreciated.

And, no, this is not a flame.

Thanks.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:12 am

No advice/information? Am I completely screwed?

target
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby target » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:44 am

Bendini, Lambert and Locke may not care about your criminal background.

Seriously, I don't have an answer for you, but I think apply to all firms that you are interested in, and take what they give. There is not much you can do at this point regarding your record, maybe considering transferring just to boost your big law chance?

truevines
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby truevines » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:I want biglaw. I'm a 1L right now so I won't be really trying for it until next fall, as I haven't had any luck w/ firms yet. I am #1 in my class at a T25, but I have a pretty tainted background. Two crimes of moral turpitude. Both were theft misdemeanors, one class B and one class C. I also have multiple class C drug/alcohol misdemeanor charges. Two public intoxications, a minor in consumption, and a possession of paraphanalia charge.

This all happened during my senior year of high school and my first year of college. I haven't had any trouble with the law in 4 years now, besides 1 speeding ticket.

Any information regarding biglaw firms and hiring people with bad backgrounds is appreciated.

And, no, this is not a flame.

Thanks.



Not sure what you could do.

Background checks come up around March in your 2L year. The report will show your criminal records.

By that time, you already refuse all the other offers you get from OCI or other venues. You are stuck with the one firm that runs background checks on you. If the firm dings you because of your criminal history, you probably don't have any fallback option for the summer. It might be too late to find other stuff.

But, no one's going to run a background check before calling you back or extending you an offer.

This sounds like a dead end.

Maybe you can speak with the hiring partner immediately after they extend you an offer and see what that firm's policy is.

You should also speak with a C&F attorney and see whether you will have problems with the C&F checks.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:I want biglaw. I'm a 1L right now so I won't be really trying for it until next fall, as I haven't had any luck w/ firms yet. I am #1 in my class at a T25, but I have a pretty tainted background. Two crimes of moral turpitude. Both were theft misdemeanors, one class B and one class C. I also have multiple class C drug/alcohol misdemeanor charges. Two public intoxications, a minor in consumption, and a possession of paraphanalia charge.

This all happened during my senior year of high school and my first year of college. I haven't had any trouble with the law in 4 years now, besides 1 speeding ticket.

Any information regarding biglaw firms and hiring people with bad backgrounds is appreciated.

And, no, this is not a flame.

Thanks.


Does your state expunge convictions? If so how long do you have to wait after a conviction to try for an expungement? Worth looking into.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I want biglaw. I'm a 1L right now so I won't be really trying for it until next fall, as I haven't had any luck w/ firms yet. I am #1 in my class at a T25, but I have a pretty tainted background. Two crimes of moral turpitude. Both were theft misdemeanors, one class B and one class C. I also have multiple class C drug/alcohol misdemeanor charges. Two public intoxications, a minor in consumption, and a possession of paraphanalia charge.

This all happened during my senior year of high school and my first year of college. I haven't had any trouble with the law in 4 years now, besides 1 speeding ticket.

Any information regarding biglaw firms and hiring people with bad backgrounds is appreciated.

And, no, this is not a flame.

Thanks.


Does your state expunge convictions? If so how long do you have to wait after a conviction to try for an expungement? Worth looking into.


I'm working on getting one of the thefts expunged right now, and after that I'll be motioning for non-disclosure on the 2nd one. If I can get the theft charges covered up, will companies care about the alcohol/drug offenses?

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:39 am

Here's what you should do:

Note: You can probably kiss having anything even remotely to do with Finance related law goodbye, I know, first-hand of a C-level exec (clearing $2MM+ a year) that got fired from one of the big banks for stealing a $25 thing from Target and getting a misdemeanor theft, the laws may actually require it.

1. Talk to C&F attorney immediately, some states allow you to get pre-approved for the C&F part of the bar (NY is one of these). Do whatever you can to get some sort of advisory opinion, even if it is just a letter signed by the attorney stating he expects you to pass based on x and y.

2. Run an FBI background check on yourself (this will take up to 10 weeks to come back). Make sure you know exactly what the background check the firm/C&F runs will show.

3. When a firm gives you an offer, disclose this to their head of HR immediately in a long, articulate and well-written letter that explains the changes you have made in your life and points to the evidence of it, they may rescind your offer but at least you will be able to try your luck at other firms rather than waiting until March when you have had to reject all other offers. I would explain this situation to them also, in terms of not wanting to wait until March to learn you don't meet their hiring criteria.

3. Hope someone will let you in - Any one of these steps could end your chances completely. I'm not exactly sure what the hiring criteria are, I just remember that Finance has some laws about crimes of "moral terpitude."

Also I would bid all over the map, but serious effort in to some smaller firms that may care less. I have no idea whether bigger/smaller firms care less/more, so I would scatter your efforts across the board.

Source: Law student, worked for a background check company, had some criminal trouble myself.

Best of luck

CanadianWolf
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:25 pm

Background checks are easy to do & often done before offers are extended. Disclose.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:41 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Background checks are easy to do & often done before offers are extended. Disclose.


I am aware of that. When during the process would I disclose? Even w/o them asking?

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Here's what you should do:

Note: You can probably kiss having anything even remotely to do with Finance related law goodbye, I know, first-hand of a C-level exec (clearing $2MM+ a year) that got fired from one of the big banks for stealing a $25 thing from Target and getting a misdemeanor theft, the laws may actually require it.

1. Talk to C&F attorney immediately, some states allow you to get pre-approved for the C&F part of the bar (NY is one of these). Do whatever you can to get some sort of advisory opinion, even if it is just a letter signed by the attorney stating he expects you to pass based on x and y.

2. Run an FBI background check on yourself (this will take up to 10 weeks to come back). Make sure you know exactly what the background check the firm/C&F runs will show.

3. When a firm gives you an offer, disclose this to their head of HR immediately in a long, articulate and well-written letter that explains the changes you have made in your life and points to the evidence of it, they may rescind your offer but at least you will be able to try your luck at other firms rather than waiting until March when you have had to reject all other offers. I would explain this situation to them also, in terms of not wanting to wait until March to learn you don't meet their hiring criteria.

3. Hope someone will let you in - Any one of these steps could end your chances completely. I'm not exactly sure what the hiring criteria are, I just remember that Finance has some laws about crimes of "moral terpitude."

Also I would bid all over the map, but serious effort in to some smaller firms that may care less. I have no idea whether bigger/smaller firms care less/more, so I would scatter your efforts across the board.

Source: Law student, worked for a background check company, had some criminal trouble myself.

Best of luck


Thanks for this.

So is there a chance that I make it into a biglaw firm with all of this shit on my record? What if I get the expunction and non-disclosure on the thefts done before OCI? Will that significantly help my chances?

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:03 am

I'm the anon that posted the quoted post above. I have no idea on that, I would try posting in the lawfirmrecruiter thread in here or even finding someone that is a recruiter/alumni of your school and talking to them about this...

c3pO4
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby c3pO4 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:26 am

talk to a lawyer.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:49 am

Out of curiosity, what type of background check do firms do? Livescan? Would they see arrests that didn't result in anything?

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:45 pm

I am curious, also. 9 years ago I was charged with a felony assault and battery for a fight in college. I was never arrested (person filed charges), and the charges were later dismissed.

Im not sure if this will show up on the background check, but I assume it will. Is this something to reach out to my firm about? I don't want to make an issue of it, assuming they have already run a background check?

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:31 pm

Get everything expunged that you can, make sure you do volunteer work to show you've changed, and talk to Career Services.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am curious, also. 9 years ago I was charged with a felony assault and battery for a fight in college. I was never arrested (person filed charges), and the charges were later dismissed.

Im not sure if this will show up on the background check, but I assume it will. Is this something to reach out to my firm about? I don't want to make an issue of it, assuming they have already run a background check?

What makes you assume they ran a background check? My firm (Quinn) had me sign a release giving them permission to run the check.

I'd suggest having a FBI background check done on yourself, as someone above suggested.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:20 pm

When do firms run the background check? I ask because my firm ran my credit immediately after I accepted the offer back in the fall (I got the notice required by the fair credit reporting act). But I have not received a notice for a background check. Why would they NOT run both at the same time?

Just in general, the dearth of information on this extremely routine process has been quite frustrating.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am curious, also. 9 years ago I was charged with a felony assault and battery for a fight in college. I was never arrested (person filed charges), and the charges were later dismissed.

Im not sure if this will show up on the background check, but I assume it will. Is this something to reach out to my firm about? I don't want to make an issue of it, assuming they have already run a background check?

What makes you assume they ran a background check? My firm (Quinn) had me sign a release giving them permission to run the check.

I'd suggest having a FBI background check done on yourself, as someone above suggested.

hey, sorry for the sidetrack question, but i was wondering if you knew when quinn is getting back to you. I turned in my stuff too and wondering when i can get a confirmation that everything is good.
thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:17 pm

Are you sure the notice did not authorize your firm to also do a background check into criminal history? I believe at the federal level, criminal background checks are also covered under the fair credit reporting act and your notice might have authorized your employer to also conduct a criminal background check when they checked your credit.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:18 am

Anything that wasn't expunged/sealed (and even stuff that was a lot of the time) is liable to show up on a private background check, which is what these firms will run. That includes arrests, warrants, arraignments, citations and pretty much everything else. Standard time to go back is usually 7 or 8 years but they can go as far back as 15 for extra cost (some databases won't go this far back also).

IIRC, private entities can't run FBI background checks on people that aren't themselves without an ORI number, which they almost certainly can't get. They will likely run a variety of other checks though, including residence history (which will provide them with a list of states in which they should check the databases) fed criminal, state criminal, financial crimes, sex offender and a general database which is updated sparsely (thus causing expunged charges to remain on there for years on occasion).

bartleby
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby bartleby » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:59 pm

also keep in mind that a lot of these background check places don't even update every month. definitely get your stuff expunged or get the non-disclosure but i would consider disclosing anyway. just my 2 cents. i got something sealed and it still appears on the internet.

hopefully a big firm will be using a much more reliable and up to date background check.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:43 pm

bartleby wrote:also keep in mind that a lot of these background check places don't even update every month. definitely get your stuff expunged or get the non-disclosure but i would consider disclosing anyway. just my 2 cents. i got something sealed and it still appears on the internet.

hopefully a big firm will be using a much more reliable and up to date background check.


This seems to be the general consensus; that is, even if it does get expunged/disclosed, most law firms can probably still find it - an attorney I spoke to about these matters said this.

The one question I haven't really found a general answer on is: when should I disclose information regarding my criminal background????

Anonymous User
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Re: Background checks and Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bartleby wrote:also keep in mind that a lot of these background check places don't even update every month. definitely get your stuff expunged or get the non-disclosure but i would consider disclosing anyway. just my 2 cents. i got something sealed and it still appears on the internet.

hopefully a big firm will be using a much more reliable and up to date background check.


This seems to be the general consensus; that is, even if it does get expunged/disclosed, most law firms can probably still find it - an attorney I spoke to about these matters said this.

The one question I haven't really found a general answer on is: when should I disclose information regarding my criminal background????


Don't disclose if it has been expunged unless either (a) the piece of paper explicitly says to disclose expunged items or (b) it was so minor that you don't think there is any chance it could matter. You can always fall back on the argument that legally you are not legally obligated to disclose this, it says so on the expungement order that is used (at least in the couple of states that I've seen) and this is how it was explained to me by criminal lawyers, obviously the bar/law school admissions are a different issue.

The quality of the background check the firm runs has nothing to do with whether these things will show up. There is a rarely updated database, that is rarely, if ever, purged of information, that is practically free for the background check companies to use so they throw it in the packages they sell to virtually every client to add a quick $5+ per person to the bill (that is almost all profit for them.) It really comes down to chance and the state in which it occurred whether your particular expunged/sealed thing will show up, although you could always order a background check on yourself (be sure to indicate you want to have national criminal databases checked as that is what these are usually treated as) to put yourself at least a little more at ease.

Just be prepared to explain if it comes up.

Another note is that in a lot of cases, where a plea deal was worked out and the originally charged offenses expunged, the arraignment/filing/plea/sentencing dates on the charge the person plead to will all be the same day which raises a red flag/is a dead giveaway that there are expunged charges and a plea deal. With that said background check companies will not (and arguably are probably legally obligated not to) go digging to try to find old references that disclose expunged charges.




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