Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

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Void
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Void » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Void wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Meh. No c&f officer here either, but I disagree entirely. Ridiculous. Guys, I know the purpose of this "disclose, disclose, disclose" business is to strike fear into your heart and clearly its working, but use some common sense. Sure, disclose the arrest. But is your past drinking problem something they're gonna be able to prove? If not then how the fuck does the fact th at you think you ma y have been an alkie anyone's problem? Do you have a medical diagnostic? Were you in rehab? If not then shut up about it and move on with your life. Your goal is to pass c&f, not to endure a catholic confession. P


So common sense is to willfully lie on a document that will be scrutinized primarily for truthfulness, and will be grounds for removal of your law license for the remainder of your career, just so you can avoid the awkwardness of acknowledging that you once had a problem but you're on top of it now? I don't think you get it. These questions aren't designed to weed out the former alcoholics- they're designed to weed out people like you who believe that you can lie as long as you won't get caught.

The "disclose, disclose, disclose" rule is common sense. What happens 20 years from now when some asshole remembers that OP used to have a serious drinking problem, and alerts the bar about it with the hope that he failed to disclose? It might sound ridiculous now, but lying on the bar app is a bad idea that will forever jeopardize your license.

Please. I did not mention medical diagnostic or rehab for shits and giggles. The implication is that if it's provable then disclose it. If all it takes to ruin one's career is for some asshole to allege that the lawyer in question was a drunk 20 years ago, none of us would be safe, ex-drunk or not. I'd like to think that the standard of evidence in disciplinary hearings is high enough that unsubstantiated accusations about a personal issue that never produced a paper trail would be summarily dismissed.

Look: I don't believe that there is any real privacy nowadays (pretty ironic given that I am relying on this board's anon provisions to post highly damaging opinions). If your alcohol issues were never the subject of any sort of paper trail, you are CREATING that paper trail by disclosing. Even if C&F hearings are confidential (I have no idea), anyone determined enough to find out the content of your application will do so and find out about my past. I refuse to make some bar committee the custodian of my personal demons.

Bottom line: I deeply resent having to reveal personal matters so that some faceless board can determine my "character & fitness." If it hasn't resulted in paper work, it's not worth disclosing. They are not my conscience. Fuck them.

(And in case you are wondering, yes, I have a huge problem with the whole idea of C&F in general. It just another way to close the gated community of privilege to those of us who didn't have a smooth ride in life. I have several items of concerns that are the result of socio-economic hardship, and have absolutely NOTHING to do with my moral character. I deeply deeply deeply resent that a bunch of ivory tower-dwelling old white men who have never experienced anything close to what I've been through are going to use those items borne out of periods of extreme poverty as a proxy for my moral character and fitness to practice law. I should be praised for having overcome all this shit and making it to the bar exam with decent grades and probably a job lined up. Instead, there are good chances I will be prodded and judged. For my "moral character." Fuck them all the way to hell.)


U mad, bro?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:47 pm

FWIW, at least in my state, C&F asks only about stuff that is relatively recent and would have left a paper trail to begin with. You have to report any DUIs (from any date); any treatment undergone for alcohol/drug problems (in the previous 5 years); and if you've raised use/consumption of drugs/alcohol as a defense in any kind of administrative or judicial proceedings (in the previous 5 years). You don't get asked abstract questions about whether alcohol has ever been a problem for you (for one thing, how would they actually track down/verify that?). Obviously this is only one state, but I'd be shocked if it's drastically out of the ordinary. So it's not quite the kind of abstract moral choice between disclose/don't disclose that's being discussed here; they're asking about stuff that actually has a record. And yes, not disclosing will get you in way more trouble and be much more an obstacle of passing than disclosing any past issues.

(I do take your point about the gatekeeping role of C&F, though. But it's not like there's anything any of us can do to change it until after getting barred and getting into the system, so to speak.)

Void
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Void » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:56 pm

Here's my state:

Have you within the past twelve (12) months outwardly manifested symptoms of addiction to alcohol or drugs?

Have you within the past twelve (12) months been treated for the abuse of narcotics, drugs, or intoxicating substances, including alcohol?

Have you, within the past twelve (12) months, been evaluated as a result of an alcohol/drug charge or a driving under the influence charge?

Would your current use of any narcotic, drug, or intoxicating substance, including alcohol, impair your ability or judgment to function as an attorney competently, ethically or professionally?

The bolded would be implicated by addiction, even absent a paper trail. The first one especially. But also as another poster noted, it's only asking about very recent stuff- obviously if you've been clean for 13 months you would be fine saying no to any of these.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:06 pm

Void wrote:Here's my state:

Have you within the past twelve (12) months outwardly manifested symptoms of addiction to alcohol or drugs?

Have you within the past twelve (12) months been treated for the abuse of narcotics, drugs, or intoxicating substances, including alcohol?

Have you, within the past twelve (12) months, been evaluated as a result of an alcohol/drug charge or a driving under the influence charge?

Would your current use of any narcotic, drug, or intoxicating substance, including alcohol, impair your ability or judgment to function as an attorney competently, ethically or professionally?

The bolded would be implicated by addiction, even absent a paper trail. The first one especially. But also as another poster noted, it's only asking about very recent stuff- obviously if you've been clean for 13 months you would be fine saying no to any of these.

The thing I find - amusing? ironic? - about the second bolded question is it's so subjective, and addicts are especially good at denial, that I'm not sure someone struggling with an addiction would necessarily answer that question accurately. But I suppose C&F has to ask it to cover their asses, so to speak.

(This isn't meant as a judgment on addicts - just that sometimes, part of the reason someone continues to use is that they don't see it as causing problems.)

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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:11 pm

Void wrote:Here's my state:

Have you within the past twelve (12) months outwardly manifested symptoms of addiction to alcohol or drugs?

Have you within the past twelve (12) months been treated for the abuse of narcotics, drugs, or intoxicating substances, including alcohol?

Have you, within the past twelve (12) months, been evaluated as a result of an alcohol/drug charge or a driving under the influence charge?

Would your current use of any narcotic, drug, or intoxicating substance, including alcohol, impair your ability or judgment to function as an attorney competently, ethically or professionally?

The bolded would be implicated by addiction, even absent a paper trail. The first one especially. But also as another poster noted, it's only asking about very recent stuff- obviously if you've been clean for 13 months you would be fine saying no to any of these.



(The ex-drunk here). That is the issue, I could answer your bolded statements truthfully either way because it lies somewhere in the middle. While I don't buy into the AA shit of "once an addict, always an addict" I really like getting drunk. And I will always likely "manifest symptoms of alcoholism" While if I stay the straight and narrow, it won't affect me, but it certainly could. The questions are really, really, subjective is all that I am saying.

Rootbeer
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:43 pm

1) Yes, they are confidential and I'm surprised that anyone who has been trained to read statutes and contracts doesn't know that as a matter of course.

2) Nobody is a fan of the process or how boards do business, but there are lots of super crappy things you have to put up with before law school, in law school, and as a lawyer. If you haven't learned to deal by the time you're done with all the law school nonsense, you're going to have a bad time for years to come. Everyone's entitled to (and maybe should) complain about it and advocate for reform, but telling someone to ignore the only piece of advice given by C&F investigators and people who constantly work with these apps is just plain ignorant. Raging against the machine by not putting something on a confidential application doesn't impress anyone and doesn't serve you any tangible benefit other than a smug sense of self-satisfaction.

3) Even if an accusation can't be substantiated, having your application/license delayed because someone wants to dig deeper about something you didn't disclose probably isn't something anyone wants to deal with.

4) Lawyers, like a lot of licensed professionals, aren't entitled to the same amount of privacy as everyone else and probably shouldn't be. Pick a new profession if you want be a mystery.

5) Having a rough life definitely doesn't stop you from becoming a lawyer. I can't think of a single instance where someone had problems with C&F outside of doing things involving dishonesty, very much including disclosure issues.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:53 pm

Rootbeer wrote:5) Having a rough life definitely doesn't stop you from becoming a lawyer. I can't think of a single instance where someone had problems with C&F outside of doing things involving dishonesty, very much including disclosure issues.

Sure, but it's fact that historically, the purpose of C&F was to make sure the "right" people became lawyers and to keep out the "wrong" people. And issues with debt, drugs, and academic problems don't affect all social groups equally.

Rootbeer
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Void wrote:Here's my state:

Have you within the past twelve (12) months outwardly manifested symptoms of addiction to alcohol or drugs?

Have you within the past twelve (12) months been treated for the abuse of narcotics, drugs, or intoxicating substances, including alcohol?

Have you, within the past twelve (12) months, been evaluated as a result of an alcohol/drug charge or a driving under the influence charge?

Would your current use of any narcotic, drug, or intoxicating substance, including alcohol, impair your ability or judgment to function as an attorney competently, ethically or professionally?

The bolded would be implicated by addiction, even absent a paper trail. The first one especially. But also as another poster noted, it's only asking about very recent stuff- obviously if you've been clean for 13 months you would be fine saying no to any of these.



(The ex-drunk here). That is the issue, I could answer your bolded statements truthfully either way because it lies somewhere in the middle. While I don't buy into the AA shit of "once an addict, always an addict" I really like getting drunk. And I will always likely "manifest symptoms of alcoholism" While if I stay the straight and narrow, it won't affect me, but it certainly could. The questions are really, really, subjective is all that I am saying.


For what it's worth, lots of people really like getting drunk. Most lawyers call it "networking." That alone doesn't make an alcoholic...I would say NOT liking getting drunk but doing it anyway is a symptom. What you said earlier about it screwing with your job...that's a symptom. I really like playing Sega Genesis...that doesn't mean I'm addicted. Addiction is when you can't stop yourself.

Also, note that it says "current use." You're talking about potential future use, not current use. If you're drinking in moderation now, then I don't see the issue. It also says "outwardly manifested." That means you can drink a full bottle of Jim Beam every night and cry yourself to sleep in a bed of vomit in the privacy of your own home, they don't care as long as the public has no idea you have problems.

Anyway, if you're saying things like the truth lies somewhere in the middle, save the argument for court. The app is not a brief. Just read carefully, answer what they ask for, disclose it if you don't feel confident about saying "No," and let the Board decide if they give a crap. No doubt a lot of the questions are poorly worded (some states worse than others), but C&F is more likely to appreciate your candor than they are to ding you for disclosing something.
Last edited by Rootbeer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rootbeer
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:28 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Rootbeer wrote:5) Having a rough life definitely doesn't stop you from becoming a lawyer. I can't think of a single instance where someone had problems with C&F outside of doing things involving dishonesty, very much including disclosure issues.

Sure, but it's fact that historically, the purpose of C&F was to make sure the "right" people became lawyers and to keep out the "wrong" people. And issues with debt, drugs, and academic problems don't affect all social groups equally.


Whatever the purpose was historically, I know former drug dealers who passed. Please supply evidence, even anecdotal, of people who disclosed everything and got dinged. I sincerely want to know if that happens and just haven't seen it myself. In the present though, from everyone I've talked to, the big issue they have is with dishonesty. No social group is predisposed to lying and hiding things.

Void
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Void » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:34 pm

Rootbeer wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Rootbeer wrote:5) Having a rough life definitely doesn't stop you from becoming a lawyer. I can't think of a single instance where someone had problems with C&F outside of doing things involving dishonesty, very much including disclosure issues.

Sure, but it's fact that historically, the purpose of C&F was to make sure the "right" people became lawyers and to keep out the "wrong" people. And issues with debt, drugs, and academic problems don't affect all social groups equally.


Whatever the purpose was historically, I know former drug dealers who passed. Please supply evidence, even anecdotal, of people who disclosed everything and got dinged. I sincerely want to know if that happens and just haven't seen it myself. In the present though, from everyone I've talked to, the big issue they have is with dishonesty. No social group is predisposed to lying and hiding things.


Apropos to the original theme of this thread, I have actually heard of people being dinged for mental health issues, even though they were fully disclosed. I've heard this mostly anecdotally, but I'm pretty sure I read a case involving a woman challenging a state bar's determination based upon her mental health record- and she lost. In the aftermath of the Connecticut shootings and the current national debates about mental health and prospective violence, I wouldn't be surprised if state bars were paying even more attention to these issues than they used to.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:35 pm

Rootbeer wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Rootbeer wrote:5) Having a rough life definitely doesn't stop you from becoming a lawyer. I can't think of a single instance where someone had problems with C&F outside of doing things involving dishonesty, very much including disclosure issues.

Sure, but it's fact that historically, the purpose of C&F was to make sure the "right" people became lawyers and to keep out the "wrong" people. And issues with debt, drugs, and academic problems don't affect all social groups equally.


Whatever the purpose was historically, I know former drug dealers who passed. Please supply evidence, even anecdotal, of people who disclosed everything and got dinged. I sincerely want to know if that happens and just haven't seen it myself. In the present though, from everyone I've talked to, the big issue they have is with dishonestly. No social group is predisposed to lying and hiding things.

I'm not saying there are people who disclosed everything and got dinged, nor am I saying people shouldn't comply with it. I'm just saying there are reasons to disagree with the current C&F process on an abstract level, if that makes sense. I do know people who had to go through extra hoops because of past financial issues (for instance, Florida is supremely picky about this), and those hoops can be really burdensome. And I'm sure there are people who end up not going to law school/taking the bar because of issues in their past they don't want to disclose.

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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:47 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm not saying there are people who disclosed everything and got dinged, nor am I saying people shouldn't comply with it. I'm just saying there are reasons to disagree with the current C&F process on an abstract level, if that makes sense. I do know people who had to go through extra hoops because of past financial issues (for instance, Florida is supremely picky about this), and those hoops can be really burdensome. And I'm sure there are people who end up not going to law school/taking the bar because of issues in their past they don't want to disclose.


Oh they totally stink and there are a truckload of reasons to disagree with the process even beyond the abstract level. I'm just saying that the way it's being used now isn't targeting a particular group. Also, I'm well aware that Florida is...special. I'll leave it at that for now ;) Most people here I'm assuming aren't dealing with FL. I know people get scared, but I really don't think they need to be.
Last edited by Rootbeer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Rootbeer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:50 pm

Void wrote:Apropos to the original theme of this thread, I have actually heard of people being dinged for mental health issues, even though they were fully disclosed. I've heard this mostly anecdotally, but I'm pretty sure I read a case involving a woman challenging a state bar's determination based upon her mental health record- and she lost. In the aftermath of the Connecticut shootings and the current national debates about mental health and prospective violence, I wouldn't be surprised if state bars were paying even more attention to these issues than they used to.


If you could find that case and point me to it, I would like to read it for my own edification.

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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby JCougar » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote: For me, it's made a huge difference when there was someone around to remind me daily that I was loved, when it was part of my routine to interact with people who saw the best in me and cared about me.


Law school is pretty much the exact opposite of this. Day in and day out, you're constantly told that you're not good enough, and nobody cares about you or your problems. Both your law school and any potential legal employers will treat you as a statistic and/or their personal ATM--and try and extract as much cash from you as possible while giving you as little as possible in return. The professors that you like and have a good relationship with will reject you from being their research assistants if you don't have tippy-top grades. Employers won't even look at your resume if you're below the top X%. You will be seen as an annoyance at networking events if you don't go to a good enough school. You will hit or miss at writing on to a law journal based on tiny bluebooking details even if you are a fantastic writer and understand the legal concepts better than anyone (and even if you are grading write-on submissions as a 3L and you realize this, you have to stick to your journal's weighting schemes).

Overall, legal education is a very petty, arbitrary, and yet bureaucratic process. If you haven't already, try reading The Trial by Franz Kafka. That book IS legal education. If you want to be an attorney bad enough that you're willing to go through all of that and barely break even at the end, than maybe it's a good idea to go to law school. Otherwise, there's probably better ideas.

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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Rootbeer wrote:^--- That's terrible. As I'm working through bar exam app stuff now, I can at least say that the mental health questions I've seen make sure to note that they only want to know if you feel it will substantially impair your ability to practice, if you're a pedophile, pyromaniac, etc., or if you've been hospitalized. I did see questions about alcohol issues, though.



Shit, that may burn me. Was an alcoholic for a few years and got a underage drinking charge when I was 18. I am better about it now and rarely drink other than weekends. I imagine unless you have been admitted to rehab, that would be fairly easy to not tell the entire truth about.


My understanding is that many state bars look more closely at your actions during law school. The fact that you had a DUI, depression, suicidal intent, hospitalization in the past is probably not going to be a big deal. In order to prove that you've recovered or managing your illness, the state bar will want to see that you're not having significant issues during law school. Also, for example, if you owe past income taxes prior to joining law school, the state bar will require you to pay them off during law school.

Like other posters mentioned, I've heard that DUI, depression, etc. is VERY common among law school students.

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Re: Mental health--C&F, perceptions, school attitude?

Postby Void » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:22 pm

Rootbeer wrote:
Void wrote:Apropos to the original theme of this thread, I have actually heard of people being dinged for mental health issues, even though they were fully disclosed. I've heard this mostly anecdotally, but I'm pretty sure I read a case involving a woman challenging a state bar's determination based upon her mental health record- and she lost. In the aftermath of the Connecticut shootings and the current national debates about mental health and prospective violence, I wouldn't be surprised if state bars were paying even more attention to these issues than they used to.


If you could find that case and point me to it, I would like to read it for my own edification.


I can't find that case but here's a story I read at around the same time I read that case. This lady was granted admission to the Connecticut bar but only on a provisional basis, and only after a long review process: http://articles.courant.com/2000-09-10/ ... pplication

"When she was finally admitted -- a full year after she applied and a year and a half after she was licensed in both New York and Massachusetts -- it was on a conditional basis only.

To practice law in her home state, Flaherty must submit a letter every six months from her doctor attesting to her treatment. If the doctor is late sending in the letter, Flaherty gets a phone call asking where it is."

EDIT: Weird Connecticut theme going on in my last two posts... maybe they are all a little mentally ill there.




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