Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

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jcccc
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Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby jcccc » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:21 am

Just wondering.
It's a felony by the way.

flcath
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby flcath » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:43 am

Were you convicted, and what was the exact charge?

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:40 am

Not OP but interested in this as well. Felony shoplifting 5 years ago, continued w/o a finding, dismissed. Went to rehab, etc. How bad will this hurt me?

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:42 am

The New York City Human Rights Law wrote:

The Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status. In addition, the Law affords protection against discrimination in employment based on arrest or conviction record and status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses.


http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/home.html.

I am not 100% sure this is applicable. If so, I am not sure how enforceable it is. Does conviction just apply to certain convictions? I'd imagine it would be similar to California's similar law: a prohibition against discrimination based on a conviction without a demonstrable connection to the job. Thus, for example, a school could refuse to hire a convicted child molester, or a bank (or a big law firm) could refuse to hire someone with a conviction for embezzlement.

Again, I'm not sure how enforceable these civil rights laws are.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:52 am

Maybe asking the wrong question or at least asking the question prematurely.

Any felony conviction or alternative disposition of a felony charge (other than outright dismissal/acquittal) will trigger a close examination by the Bar authorities. A felony conviction isn't an automatic bar in most states but it's about as close as you are likely to see anywhere.

And no, the fact that a law school admits an applicant is not relevant to the ultimate C&F question. Admission to a law school merely means that the school is willing to take your money.

2012JayDee
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby 2012JayDee » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:36 am

The firm will hire you before they ever know about your record. But once you are working (as a SA) you will be required to complete a background check. Like many employers a felony conviction isn't grounds for automatic dismissal, but failure of candor on the matter ALWAYS is. So it's going to come up but lawyers are prudent people who have the ability to examine all sides.
If your conviction in any way will prevent you from operating fully in the practice of law or fully at that job they will probably not hire you. If the conviction will have no bearing on your ability to operate fully at the firm it is less likely, but far from certain, that they will use that as a reason to not hire you.
A firm is also going to have to consider how your conviction affects is current and future clients. If you are a liability you are not going to be worth it. That's not to say you can't be a lawyer. The C&F doesn't flat out bar admission based on felony convictions and if you can be admitted to the bar then presumably you can practice law in that jurisdiction with anyone that will hire you. Law schools are generally less restrictive than the bar afmissions folks. So getting into law school alone is not indicative of other's willingness to accept your past conviction.
Being "afforded protection" from employment discrimination simply means there must be some process by which you are allowed to apply, be forthcoming, and be evaluated. Doesn't mean they must hire you and probably doesn't mean they can't use the conviction as a factor in the decisions.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:52 pm

Perhaps an anonymous call to the NYS bar is in order.

Renzo
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Renzo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:15 pm

I suspect that what, exactly, the felony was will make a big difference. Maimed someone drunk driving might or might not sink you, but fraud or embezzlement probably makes you completely unemployable by firms with corporate clients.

isayixnayhearsay
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby isayixnayhearsay » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:33 pm

are you gonna be able to pass the bar with your record, brah?

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:28 am

First anon here. I have talked the bar association and they said I should be ok. Anyone have any anecdotes of success or failure with a fairly serious criminal record? Most attorneys I have asked about this in person have said I'll be fine but I'm afraid they're just being polite.

2012JayDee
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:29 am

You're still missing the basic point.
The law school may admit you, you may pass C&F, and the state bar may admit you. Those are all just procedural in nature. It's a group of people looking at the whole picture and determining if you meet the general standards for the practice of law. Whether an individual employer will hire you just because you're allowed to practice law is anyone's guess. There's no way to tell.

If a law firm doesn't want to hire a felon they don't have to. Just because you're allowed to practice law doesn't mean you actually will. There are lots of people with felonies working in the legal world. You're probably not going to find a lot of people willing to come right out and say they hire felons. When people are telling you that you'll be fine they're probably telling you (truthfully) that based on the information you've give them about your criminal record you should be able to be admitted to practice law. People have been denied to the practice of law for lesser things than felony records, such as, poor credit.

Unfortunately, you could in fact go through 3 years of law school and the Bar may deny you admission. Despite what everyone says. There is no way to know for sure whether this will happen until you actually have to apply. And of course, there's no way to know if you could get a job with a law firm until, of course, you apply to school, finish your first year, and apply. There's a lot of what-ifs between your criminal past and your future employment. It's quite possible you could end up wasting a lot of time and money for a job you may never get. Or everything could work out just fine and your criminal record will no hinder you from having a great legal career.

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:43 am

2012JayDee wrote:The firm will hire you before they ever know about your record. But once you are working (as a SA) you will be required to complete a background check. Like many employers a felony conviction isn't grounds for automatic dismissal, but failure of candor on the matter ALWAYS is. So it's going to come up but lawyers are prudent people who have the ability to examine all sides.


New anon poster, curious about this part. I'm not a felon but will be convicted of a DWI by the time I apply and interview for 2L OCI and other 2L summer jobs. When is the best time to disclose? I know full candor is beneficial to both parties; i.e. they deserve to know so they don't waste time or resources on me and I deserve to know so I won't waste the summer with an employer who will definitely not hire me later. So honesty is the best policy, but what is the best timing? Is it recommended to wait until the last possible moment (which I'm guessing would be some background check form or something similar)? The callback interview? The screening interview? Thanks.

2012JayDee
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:The firm will hire you before they ever know about your record. But once you are working (as a SA) you will be required to complete a background check. Like many employers a felony conviction isn't grounds for automatic dismissal, but failure of candor on the matter ALWAYS is. So it's going to come up but lawyers are prudent people who have the ability to examine all sides.


New anon poster, curious about this part. I'm not a felon but will be convicted of a DWI by the time I apply and interview for 2L OCI and other 2L summer jobs. When is the best time to disclose? I know full candor is beneficial to both parties; i.e. they deserve to know so they don't waste time or resources on me and I deserve to know so I won't waste the summer with an employer who will definitely not hire me later. So honesty is the best policy, but what is the best timing? Is it recommended to wait until the last possible moment (which I'm guessing would be some background check form or something similar)? The callback interview? The screening interview? Thanks.


Law firms know that there's always a possibility that when they recruit from OCI someone could have some kind of criminal record. That's why they do the background check on everyone. They also assume that you've already disclosed at least once, when you first applied to law school. And they're assuming the law school used reasonable, objective criteria to admit you in spite of any criminal history. So by getting into law school you've already partially done your part. But if this wasn't something you disclosed prior to law school because it hadn't happened yet then you probably need to amend your law school application. It's never too late to do this. Your law school application will go to the Bar and be a part of your C&F. Any inconsistencies will be noticed. They will also look to see that you disclosed the information consistently.

As for the interview- When asked about it, that is always the time to speak up and be forthcoming. But bringing it up in a screening interview is probably not the time and not the place. A DWI is normally not the kind of thing that can keep you from being admitted to the bar. And you're probably not the only person with a DWI in law school (nor would you likely be the only one at the firm). Personally, I wouldn't necessarily recommend just bringing it up on your own at a callback. Again, not the time and not the place. But when you fill out the application that's the time. When they ask about run-ins with the law, that is the time. And when they run a background check and it comes up, and they ask you about it, that is the time.
But if your DWI has resulted in loss of your license or other similar privileges, and you know or suspect such driving privileges will be necessary for you to be employed you should probably be upfront about that right away.

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sunynp
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby sunynp » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:57 pm

1. There are attorneys who specialize in getting people admitted. You should consult one.

2. My personal opinion is that the best biglaw firms won't hire you. You can ask in the thread with the v15 interviewer. You might get admitted but getting biglaw is rough anyway. With so much competition I wouldn't count in biglaw.

isayixnayhearsay
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby isayixnayhearsay » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:16 pm

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/vt-supreme-c ... 48790.html

Here's one case, op. Applicant got dinged by NY bar for his theft conviction.

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PDaddy
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby PDaddy » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The New York City Human Rights Law wrote:

The Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status. In addition, the Law affords protection against discrimination in employment based on arrest or conviction record and status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses.


http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/home.html.

I am not 100% sure this is applicable. If so, I am not sure how enforceable it is. Does conviction just apply to certain convictions? I'd imagine it would be similar to California's similar law: a prohibition against discrimination based on a conviction without a demonstrable connection to the job. Thus, for example, a school could refuse to hire a convicted child molester, or a bank (or a big law firm) could refuse to hire someone with a conviction for embezzlement.

Again, I'm not sure how enforceable these civil rights laws are.


You have it correct. I would add that credit history will also soon be a protected category. However, the bar associations will still be able to apply more stringent standards against potential lawyers. This should actually work to the law graduates' advantage, because once they are admitted to the bar it sends a signal to the firms that the lawyers should be trustworthy. Whether and how that plays out over the lawyers' careers is another question.

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:50 pm

Possible, depending on the felony, but HIGHLY unlikely. Why take someone with a felony when you can hire the person at your same school who's one spot below you and has no felony?

2012JayDee
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:56 pm

PDaddy wrote:You have it correct. I would add that credit history will also soon be a protected category. However, the bar associations will still be able to apply more stringent standards against potential lawyers. This should actually work to the law graduates' advantage, because once they are admitted to the bar it sends a signal to the firms that the lawyers should be trustworthy. Whether and how that plays out over the lawyers' careers is another question.


I'm not sure I agree that a firm would consider someone to be more trustworthy because the bar admitted them based on more stringent standards. Especially if the standards have nothing to do with the actual practice of law. Not to mention you could have full-time employment with a law firm well before you are actually admitted to the Bar.

The Bar uses a number of tools to measure a person's ability to be admitted to the practice of law--but it's character based. As a general matter most people are found fit for admittance unless there is something that shows they are unfit. Someone having a lot of debt clearly doesn't make them untrustworthy, but they could be found unfit. A firm can use a criteria separate and apart from what the Bar uses for admittance. The two are mutually exclusive. The Bar is measuring general character based on the past, whereas law firms base hiring on future potential. The Bar will not deny someone with a low GPA from being admitted, but a law firm will certainly use GPA as a hiring criteria.

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AlanShore
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:07 pm

i honestly think you would be fine. if you got into law school and passed the bar and disclosed the whole time, i really actually think law firms wouldnt care

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:43 pm

2012JayDee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:The firm will hire you before they ever know about your record. But once you are working (as a SA) you will be required to complete a background check. Like many employers a felony conviction isn't grounds for automatic dismissal, but failure of candor on the matter ALWAYS is. So it's going to come up but lawyers are prudent people who have the ability to examine all sides.


New anon poster, curious about this part. I'm not a felon but will be convicted of a DWI by the time I apply and interview for 2L OCI and other 2L summer jobs. When is the best time to disclose? I know full candor is beneficial to both parties; i.e. they deserve to know so they don't waste time or resources on me and I deserve to know so I won't waste the summer with an employer who will definitely not hire me later. So honesty is the best policy, but what is the best timing? Is it recommended to wait until the last possible moment (which I'm guessing would be some background check form or something similar)? The callback interview? The screening interview? Thanks.


Law firms know that there's always a possibility that when they recruit from OCI someone could have some kind of criminal record. That's why they do the background check on everyone. They also assume that you've already disclosed at least once, when you first applied to law school. And they're assuming the law school used reasonable, objective criteria to admit you in spite of any criminal history. So by getting into law school you've already partially done your part. But if this wasn't something you disclosed prior to law school because it hadn't happened yet then you probably need to amend your law school application. It's never too late to do this. Your law school application will go to the Bar and be a part of your C&F. Any inconsistencies will be noticed. They will also look to see that you disclosed the information consistently.

As for the interview- When asked about it, that is always the time to speak up and be forthcoming. But bringing it up in a screening interview is probably not the time and not the place. A DWI is normally not the kind of thing that can keep you from being admitted to the bar. And you're probably not the only person with a DWI in law school (nor would you likely be the only one at the firm). Personally, I wouldn't necessarily recommend just bringing it up on your own at a callback. Again, not the time and not the place. But when you fill out the application that's the time. When they ask about run-ins with the law, that is the time. And when they run a background check and it comes up, and they ask you about it, that is the time.
But if your DWI has resulted in loss of your license or other similar privileges, and you know or suspect such driving privileges will be necessary for you to be employed you should probably be upfront about that right away.


Thank you for your input. Sorry to slightly hijack the thread with my DWI issue, but I suppose anyone with a criminal record would have similar questions about when to disclose.

Sorry if I sound ignorant here, but supposing the issue is never brought up in conversation or interviewing, when does one actually fill out paperwork for the firm that would ask this type of question? Does every person invited for a callback fill out the paperwork, or only those who formally accept an offer? I understand there is a difference between being completely forthcoming when asked and simply volunteering the information, but I don't want to get all the way through the process only to be told at the last stage that my record would preclude a future a hire. If that is the case, would it be wise just to wait until the summer offer is (hopefully) extended, and inquire about future hiring policies before accepting?

TL,DR: If it's never brought up, at what stage in the SA hiring process is criminal history examined?

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AZN MegaPoaster
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby AZN MegaPoaster » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:16 pm

isayixnayhearsay wrote:http://caselaw.findlaw.com/vt-supreme-court/1248790.html

Here's one case, op. Applicant got dinged by NY bar for his theft conviction.


Lol. This is an idiotic poast. That applicant did not get dinged for his theft conviction. He got dinged for a long history of criminal activity that he was not forthcoming about.

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby flcath » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:22 pm

AZN MegaPoaster wrote:
isayixnayhearsay wrote:http://caselaw.findlaw.com/vt-supreme-court/1248790.html

Here's one case, op. Applicant got dinged by NY bar for his theft conviction.


Lol. This is an idiotic poast. That applicant did not get dinged for his theft conviction. He got dinged for a long history of criminal activity that he was not forthcoming about.

Indeed. That poster is truly a retard.

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sunynp
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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby sunynp » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:33 pm

AlanShore wrote:i honestly think you would be fine. if you got into law school and passed the bar and disclosed the whole time, i really actually think law firms wouldnt care

We don't know what the felony is , the actual disposition of the crime is going to matter. I can see the firm being afraid of being outed on ATL: "which biglaw firm hired a felon as an SA.?"

The problem is that the firm will never need you as an associate, I can't see them taking a risk on you. There are way too many other qualified people to choose from for biglaw associate positions.

Tulane is going to take years to recover from admitting that murderer.

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Re: Possible to land a NY BigLaw job with a criminal record?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for your input. Sorry to slightly hijack the thread with my DWI issue, but I suppose anyone with a criminal record would have similar questions about when to disclose.

Sorry if I sound ignorant here, but supposing the issue is never brought up in conversation or interviewing, when does one actually fill out paperwork for the firm that would ask this type of question? Does every person invited for a callback fill out the paperwork, or only those who formally accept an offer? I understand there is a difference between being completely forthcoming when asked and simply volunteering the information, but I don't want to get all the way through the process only to be told at the last stage that my record would preclude a future a hire. If that is the case, would it be wise just to wait until the summer offer is (hopefully) extended, and inquire about future hiring policies before accepting?

TL,DR: If it's never brought up, at what stage in the SA hiring process is criminal history examined?



I can't recall exactly when all the paperwork is done, but you won't be filling out any paperwork at the callback. It'll be well after you've accepted the offer and probably during orientation. So, yeah, tough call about when to bring it up. Really, unless you just totally out yourself it's not going to come up until after they make the offer and you accept. I mean you're not doing anything wrong by accepting without disclosing that first--they're not going to report you for some kind of misconduct for not bringing it up in the interview, because you would be committing an egregious error by bringing up that kind of info out of the blue.
But as someone mentioned you're still somewhat of a risk. And the nature of the felony (and the disposition) will absolutely matter.
If you're truly worried about it then you could speak to someone at the firm if you get a callback. At that point you're seriously close to getting an offer and you can just inquire as to whether that's going to be a disqualifier. Honestly, if you're at that stage in the process and it is a disqualifier you need to know so you can move on and look at other options. Certainly, no one will fault you for that.
But there's just now way to tell because every circumstance will be based on the individual, the particular charges, and the employer. It's going to come down to a hiring committee determining if you're worth it or not.




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