Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

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Will my criminal record bar me from biglaw firms that do background checks?

Poll ended at Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:37 pm

Yes
13
38%
No
21
62%
 
Total votes: 34

Anonymous User
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Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:37 pm

I have an interview this week with a firm that is making me fill out a character and fitness form. I'll have to disclose my criminal background which includes the following: 4 class C substance misdemeanors (2 Public intoxication, 1 minor in consumption, and 1 possession of marijuana pariphernalia), 1 class C theft misdemeanor, and 1 class B theft misdemeanor.

Everything happened over 5 years ago, will be over 7 years ago when I graduate, and I have a completely clean record since then.

Am I fucked? Should I just go ahead and hang my shitlaw shingle now?

I'm #1 in my class at a mid tier1 school, FWIW.

TYIA

ETA: Please post why you choose yes or know, unless it is a guess
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:57 pm

If you've voted, mind posting a reply explaining why you voted that way?

Again, TYIA

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:29 pm

Could be tough with the theft stuff. You can be pretty confident you'll never be able to work for any financial industry client.

ShitLawOrBust
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby ShitLawOrBust » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Could be tough with the theft stuff. You can be pretty confident you'll never be able to work for any financial industry client.


yea probly true OP

ShitLawOrBust
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby ShitLawOrBust » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:33 pm

Also, I've seen someone on this board saying they got an offer revoked bc of criminal stuff.

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fatduck
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby fatduck » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:34 pm

what'd you steal?

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Could be tough with the theft stuff. You can be pretty confident you'll never be able to work for any financial industry client.


This makes sense - is that why you say it? Or do you know someone that had trouble? Personal anecdote? Anything besides just common sense?

What practice areas should I target/avoid to make this less of an issue?

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fatduck
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby fatduck » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Could be tough with the theft stuff. You can be pretty confident you'll never be able to work for any financial industry client.


This makes sense - is that why you say it? Or do you know someone that had trouble? Personal anecdote? Anything besides just common sense?

What practice areas should I target/avoid to make this less of an issue?

he posted anonymously, so obviously his post was based on his extensive personal knowledge

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:37 pm

fatduck wrote:what'd you steal?


textbooks from college bookstore, cigaretts from employer. WhY?

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:27 pm

you should call the state bar and check if those offenses automatically preclude you from sitting for the bar. I went through something similar, and my firm was ok once they were reassured that my record wasnt an auto preclusion.

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:you should call the state bar and check if those offenses automatically preclude you from sitting for the bar. I went through something similar, and my firm was ok once they were reassured that my record wasnt an auto preclusion.


I've already done so, and I won't be precluded. Are you at a biglaw firm?

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:you should call the state bar and check if those offenses automatically preclude you from sitting for the bar. I went through something similar, and my firm was ok once they were reassured that my record wasnt an auto preclusion.


I've already done so, and I won't be precluded. Are you at a biglaw firm?


Anon from above.

I'm at the end of this OCI madness and just went through this process with a V10 and V15 - both of which said I was fine.

I dont know if it matters, but I disclosed all of this before they even asked. I also included a written statement detailing the state's bar policies and directed the firm's attention to the relevant authorities (statutes, bar commissioners I spoke with, ect) for further clarification.

I also made sure that my acceptance of an SA position wouldn't be revoked because of my record. Another firm, a V30, said they couldn't guarantee me anything, so I turned them down. My guess is that you may have multiple offers, so shop around and get something confirmed.

If there was an alumni or partner that you really got along with during the process, let them know asap and they might be able to go to bat for you and hold some sway in the process. I didnt do this, but knew someone that did during this cycle.

Lastly, I'm somewhat shocked that none of these are expunged. I know you should disclose, but saying that they are expunged may also benefit your case that this isn't a problem.

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:50 pm

I would have done some due diligence on this way earlier. But, that doesn't help you so I won't harp on it. I think your class rank and the distance between you and these bad choices helps your case a lot. I think you'd be worse off at median in T6 with the same criminal record. Your story has a very "I overcame all of this and changed my life" quality. Or certainly, the narrative can be framed that way.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't speak to this in CBs unless asked. Be honest, but I wouldn't volunteer further info to anyone but the head of legal recruiting. If you're doing callbacks, I would NOT bring up that information to partners. If they find out later, as long as they know you were forthcoming in screeners and went on record with it at the firm, I think you're better off making a good impression. It's likely to your advantage to put them in a situation where they're not sure what to do with you rather than volunteering that info first--which could cause them to make up their minds before the interview concludes. I'm not saying it's right, but if I was a partner, I would write you off immediately. If I really liked you and found out later--that you were honest but had this record, I think I'd find it harder to lobby against you if I liked you personally.

As long as state bar isn't telling you that you're automatically precluded, I think you'll end up finding employment--probably in BigLaw. Nevertheless, for others in this situation, it's an awfully big investment of time and money to skip investigating how a state bar(s) would see this prior to enrolling...

OP, amazing job in school. I think it'll work out. But you were definitely playing with fire. Someone at your school in the middle of their class would likely be doomed.

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would have done some due diligence on this way earlier. But, that doesn't help you so I won't harp on it. I think your class rank and the distance between you and these bad choices helps your case a lot. I think you'd be worse off at median in T6 with the same criminal record. Your story has a very "I overcame all of this and changed my life" quality. Or certainly, the narrative can be framed that way.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't speak to this in CBs unless asked. Be honest, but I wouldn't volunteer further info to anyone but the head of legal recruiting. If you're doing callbacks, I would NOT bring up that information to partners. If they find out later, as long as they know you were forthcoming in screeners and went on record with it at the firm, I think you're better off making a good impression. It's likely to your advantage to put them in a situation where they're not sure what to do with you rather than volunteering that info first--which could cause them to make up their minds before the interview concludes. I'm not saying it's right, but if I was a partner, I would write you off immediately. If I really liked you and found out later--that you were honest but had this record, I think I'd find it harder to lobby against you if I liked you personally.

As long as state bar isn't telling you that you're automatically precluded, I think you'll end up finding employment--probably in BigLaw. Nevertheless, for others in this situation, it's an awfully big investment of time and money to skip investigating how a state bar(s) would see this prior to enrolling...

OP, amazing job in school. I think it'll work out. But you were definitely playing with fire. Someone at your school in the middle of their class would likely be doomed.


+1

previous anon poster

When stated that I disclosed early, I meant that as soon as I got the offer I contacted the legal recruiting department.

I would also strongly back the idea to keep this to yourself during screeners and CBs, unless asked.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:36 am

Something about hiring repeat criminals makes legal recruiters nervous. No one gets caught their first time. An MIP or DUI, OK- multiple thefts and drug crimes? All I can say is, between you and someone with the same resume, you lose every time.

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I would have done some due diligence on this way earlier. But, that doesn't help you so I won't harp on it. I think your class rank and the distance between you and these bad choices helps your case a lot. I think you'd be worse off at median in T6 with the same criminal record. Your story has a very "I overcame all of this and changed my life" quality. Or certainly, the narrative can be framed that way.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't speak to this in CBs unless asked. Be honest, but I wouldn't volunteer further info to anyone but the head of legal recruiting. If you're doing callbacks, I would NOT bring up that information to partners. If they find out later, as long as they know you were forthcoming in screeners and went on record with it at the firm, I think you're better off making a good impression. It's likely to your advantage to put them in a situation where they're not sure what to do with you rather than volunteering that info first--which could cause them to make up their minds before the interview concludes. I'm not saying it's right, but if I was a partner, I would write you off immediately. If I really liked you and found out later--that you were honest but had this record, I think I'd find it harder to lobby against you if I liked you personally.

As long as state bar isn't telling you that you're automatically precluded, I think you'll end up finding employment--probably in BigLaw. Nevertheless, for others in this situation, it's an awfully big investment of time and money to skip investigating how a state bar(s) would see this prior to enrolling...

OP, amazing job in school. I think it'll work out. But you were definitely playing with fire. Someone at your school in the middle of their class would likely be doomed.


+1

previous anon poster

When stated that I disclosed early, I meant that as soon as I got the offer I contacted the legal recruiting department.

I would also strongly back the idea to keep this to yourself during screeners and CBs, unless asked.


TY both for the lengthy responses. This is what career services told me to do, actually - contact the recruiting department immediately after I get an offer. And yea I would never bring it up on my own in an interview.

Would you mind posting some of the details of your record since you wre able to overcome it? I'll post on a throwaway if you would be willing to pm me.

Also, one of the thefts is about a month away from being expunged. Threee of the class C substnace misdemeanors have been wiped from my record because they happened before I was 18. I'll be motioning for non-disclosure on the class B theft misdemeanor when the class C theft expunction is complete

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:16 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Something about hiring repeat criminals makes legal recruiters nervous. No one gets caught their first time. An MIP or DUI, OK- multiple thefts and drug crimes? All I can say is, between you and someone with the same resume, you lose every time.


do you speak as someone who has worked in biglaw? I'm not disputing your points, just wondeirng

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dresden doll
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby dresden doll » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:17 am

ShitLawOrBust wrote:Also, I've seen someone on this board saying they got an offer revoked bc of criminal stuff.


Link?

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:44 pm

So, it seems like there are people in this thread who actually went through this process. I have a disorderly conduct (reduced from possession of marijuana) and an underage drinking, both of them are municipal non-criminal citations. Odds that this will get an SA offer revoked? Would people advise the same thing, i.e. disclose to legal recruiting after I am extended the offer? Thanks much.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby somewhatwayward » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:59 pm

all biglaw firms will do a background check

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:55 am

somewhatwayward wrote:all biglaw firms will do a background check


this isn't helpful

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Could be tough with the theft stuff. You can be pretty confident you'll never be able to work for any financial industry client.


This makes sense - is that why you say it? Or do you know someone that had trouble? Personal anecdote? Anything besides just common sense?

What practice areas should I target/avoid to make this less of an issue?


I say this from first hand knowledge of the external laws/regulations and internal rules that the financial industry must comply with and so, one would assume, their attorneys working on the same transactions, must also comply with. An anecdote i'll provide is that of an MD at one of the BB (bulge bracket) banks getting fired from their job paying north of $3mm year because that person got arrested for stealing a $35 bracelet. That person is unable to find employment at any BB bank and ended up in a lower position at a very small regional i-bank that was willing to overlook it because of the persons skills/expertise/background. Basically, crimes of moral turpitude will be a problem.

Avoid firms that do lots of lender/finance side representation just on the presumption stated above. I have no idea when it comes to firms that do corporate representation.

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:00 pm

Should this conversation not happen with the hiring partner or head of hiring committee? Why head of legal recruiting?

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:42 pm

So, update on all of this. Everyone that voted that I would be autoding for BIGLAW is WRONG. I've got two offers on the table right now, both of which know about my criminal record and have said I'm good to go.

If anyone is curious about criminal background stuff and biglaw and wants some advice, let me know and I'd be glad to pm you to discuss things.

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Re: Am I auto-ding for BIGLAW firms that do background checks?

Postby fish tacos » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:03 pm

.
Last edited by fish tacos on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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