Character and Fitness worries...

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Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:04 am

OP: FWIW, I had to go to a character and fitness hearing about a month ago. Long story short, I had a few drug-related charges on my record, which I fully disclosed on my application. I know it can be extremely stressful - especially if you're already dealing with law school BS - but you'll get through it.

The best advice I can give is to be as open and ready to discuss your issues as possible. I personally went into my hearing with printouts of everything on my record. I typed up summaries of each of my charges, and I fully explained each incident in detail. I also brought my resume, which highlighted community/civic service I had engaged in after the fact. Also, a professor at my law school (who happened to be a former bar admissions official) told me that the committee "needed to see that I was nervous." That part wasn't hard - I would have had trouble hiding my nerves.

I don't know exactly what sort of skeletons you're dealing with, or what the admissions mechanics of your state's bar will look like, but do your best to demonstrate that you a) realize why your conduct is a cause for concern (in a profession that theoretically gives you significant power over peoples' lives), and b) that you have taken steps to better yourself. Obviously the method you employ to make this demonstration depends on the specifics of your case, but that is what character and fitness officials are looking for.

My story has a happy ending, if it gives you any comfort. I got an approval letter the day after my hearing.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP: FWIW, I had to go to a character and fitness hearing about a month ago. Long story short, I had a few drug-related charges on my record, which I fully disclosed on my application. I know it can be extremely stressful - especially if you're already dealing with law school BS - but you'll get through it.

The best advice I can give is to be as open and ready to discuss your issues as possible. I personally went into my hearing with printouts of everything on my record. I typed up summaries of each of my charges, and I fully explained each incident in detail. I also brought my resume, which highlighted community/civic service I had engaged in after the fact. Also, a professor at my law school (who happened to be a former bar admissions official) told me that the committee "needed to see that I was nervous." That part wasn't hard - I would have had trouble hiding my nerves.

I don't know exactly what sort of skeletons you're dealing with, or what the admissions mechanics of your state's bar will look like, but do your best to demonstrate that you a) realize why your conduct is a cause for concern (in a profession that theoretically gives you significant power over peoples' lives), and b) that you have taken steps to better yourself. Obviously the method you employ to make this demonstration depends on the specifics of your case, but that is what character and fitness officials are looking for.

My story has a happy ending, if it gives you any comfort. I got an approval letter the day after my hearing.


thanks! yes it does give me comfort.

the dean does have documentation of my misconduct in his possession, so i wouldnt need to bring any of that. in this case, though, would it be helpful to show community/civic engagement since the wrongdoing? talk about pro bono work i'm doing?

interesting about your prof's nervousness advice. I would've imagined that they preferred to see the opposite.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP: FWIW, I had to go to a character and fitness hearing about a month ago. Long story short, I had a few drug-related charges on my record, which I fully disclosed on my application. I know it can be extremely stressful - especially if you're already dealing with law school BS - but you'll get through it.

The best advice I can give is to be as open and ready to discuss your issues as possible. I personally went into my hearing with printouts of everything on my record. I typed up summaries of each of my charges, and I fully explained each incident in detail. I also brought my resume, which highlighted community/civic service I had engaged in after the fact. Also, a professor at my law school (who happened to be a former bar admissions official) told me that the committee "needed to see that I was nervous." That part wasn't hard - I would have had trouble hiding my nerves.

I don't know exactly what sort of skeletons you're dealing with, or what the admissions mechanics of your state's bar will look like, but do your best to demonstrate that you a) realize why your conduct is a cause for concern (in a profession that theoretically gives you significant power over peoples' lives), and b) that you have taken steps to better yourself. Obviously the method you employ to make this demonstration depends on the specifics of your case, but that is what character and fitness officials are looking for.

My story has a happy ending, if it gives you any comfort. I got an approval letter the day after my hearing.


thanks! yes it does give me comfort.

the dean does have documentation of my misconduct in his possession, so i wouldnt need to bring any of that. in this case, though, would it be helpful to show community/civic engagement since the wrongdoing? talk about pro bono work i'm doing?

interesting about your prof's nervousness advice. I would've imagined that they preferred to see the opposite.


I suppose it depends on where you're at in the game. I filed a student application during the summer before 3L (this year) to get a student practice card. They called me in for a hearing and basically just asked questions the whole time. I can't really tell from the thread history whether you're in a similar situation, but if you are, you'll just have to respond to the questions they give you. If they ask about it, though, definitely tell them about community service/pro bono, and I really don't think it would hurt to bring some sort of resume or something that includes your service work on paper. I seriously had three stacks of around 15 different documents - one for each member of the committee. I doubt they gave anything more than a glance, but at least I looked prepared.

As far as the nervousness thing goes, I think there's a bit of a balance. It can make you look like you're hiding something, but it can also indicate that you're aware of the gravity of the situation and feel remorse for your actions. I think my professor had the latter in mind. Her main point was that I shouldn't walk into the hearing with a cocky attitude.

Adb808
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Adb808 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP: FWIW, I had to go to a character and fitness hearing about a month ago. Long story short, I had a few drug-related charges on my record, which I fully disclosed on my application. I know it can be extremely stressful - especially if you're already dealing with law school BS - but you'll get through it.

The best advice I can give is to be as open and ready to discuss your issues as possible. I personally went into my hearing with printouts of everything on my record. I typed up summaries of each of my charges, and I fully explained each incident in detail. I also brought my resume, which highlighted community/civic service I had engaged in after the fact. Also, a professor at my law school (who happened to be a former bar admissions official) told me that the committee "needed to see that I was nervous." That part wasn't hard - I would have had trouble hiding my nerves.

I don't know exactly what sort of skeletons you're dealing with, or what the admissions mechanics of your state's bar will look like, but do your best to demonstrate that you a) realize why your conduct is a cause for concern (in a profession that theoretically gives you significant power over peoples' lives), and b) that you have taken steps to better yourself. Obviously the method you employ to make this demonstration depends on the specifics of your case, but that is what character and fitness officials are looking for.

My story has a happy ending, if it gives you any comfort. I got an approval letter the day after my hearing.


This is great advice. Coming prepared is key. When I sent in my CF application I included all official reports/ records/explanations.... and anything I could find (although a lot of the records had been purged, so I just included a letter to that effect from the official). According to my dean of students, the more info you provide, the less inquiry they need to make (eg a hearing).

Also, OP, you mentioned a couple times how stupid your predicament is compared to others with DUIs etc. I totally agree, but you never want to mention that in front of the dean or CF board, or even allude to it in your expressions. That shows to them that you don't take your offense seriously, which means you don't take them seriously. Remember, CF is not about who you were when the offense took place, it's about who you will be as an attorney. Your issue is more recent, so you need to own it and show how seriously you take it and that it doesn't reflect who you will be as an attorney.

As far as it being a catholic school, that shouldn't hurt you. My law school was catholic too and they were extremely supportive of me and any students with CF issues (I'm not catholic).

Good luck today! You got this.

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:12 am

thanks so much for the support.

wouldn't have said the dui to the dean/c&f at all...just venting my frustration on here, lol.

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:42 pm

UPDATE:

lol. i feel like i riled all of you up for nothing.

came to the meeting, suited up and made up, with portfolio in hand and ready to defend myself to the bitter end.

didn't shed a tear.

dean said that Holly Golightly's interpretation of the letter was correct, and that he would not be able to certify me based on my CURRENT status, which is subject to change based on a showing of rehabilitation this year, involving counseling, not repeating the behavior, etc.

He said that he could certify me for student practice as soon as summer 2014, provided that i fulfill the parameters of rehabilitation.

disaster averted!!!

Adb808
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Adb808 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:53 pm

Awesome! Super stoked for you!

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:57 pm

thanks for all the support.

ready to move on with my life and put the past behind me.

explaining this will be a b*tch for c&f, but at worst it will cause a delay.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Holly Golightly » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:21 pm

Good, I'm glad the situations isn't as bad as you had feared!

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:08 am

Congrats on solving it.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:45 pm

soooo...now that the worst is over.

anyone have experience with the PA bar? how much of a delay should this cause? (dean straight up told me that PA is a comparatively "lenient" state) when is the earliest i can apply for the pa bar? i'm worried that a very significant delay will raise a red flag to employers (assuming i'm offered a job by oct/nov 2015, which is around the time bar results are released...big assumption, lol)

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:37 am

You'll be fine. Just keep your nose clean and prepare to be open and honest with them when the time comes.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:50 am

would employers find out about school disciplinary records? (interested in PD/Legal Aid)

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:52 pm

Two DWIs. One when 19; one after 1L year of law school. Already working at a firm, waiting on bar passage and C&F. SHITTING.

They were both brought down to DWAI (driving with ability impaired) which is a traffic infraction, not a crime in the relevant state. However, I know how bad it looks to have one during law school. Took (by my own will) alcohol classes after that incident and I have a beaming resume otherwise (govt service, etc.). I am so scared.

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:14 pm

SHITTING too.

bump. anyone have experience with the pa bar c&f process?

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Two DWIs. One when 19; one after 1L year of law school. Already working at a firm, waiting on bar passage and C&F. SHITTING.

They were both brought down to DWAI (driving with ability impaired) which is a traffic infraction, not a crime in the relevant state. However, I know how bad it looks to have one during law school. Took (by my own will) alcohol classes after that incident and I have a beaming resume otherwise (govt service, etc.). I am so scared.


what state? hopefully not a hardass one like FL. the fact that you took alcohol classes by your own will after the incident was a smart move.

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Two DWIs. One when 19; one after 1L year of law school. Already working at a firm, waiting on bar passage and C&F. SHITTING.

They were both brought down to DWAI (driving with ability impaired) which is a traffic infraction, not a crime in the relevant state. However, I know how bad it looks to have one during law school. Took (by my own will) alcohol classes after that incident and I have a beaming resume otherwise (govt service, etc.). I am so scared.


what state? hopefully not a hardass one like FL. the fact that you took alcohol classes by your own will after the incident was a smart move.


new york.

Anonymous User
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:19 pm

what would the impact of the 2nd DUI be?

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:31 pm

Second DWI = Royal Fuck.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:54 am

How about misconduct (behavioral, not academic) IN law school?

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Bronx Bum
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Bronx Bum » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:17 am

If anyone is tired of getting advice from 2L's who have no idea, and want advice from someone who passed C&F with an assault arrest (bar fight) WHILE in law school and a previous open container violation, PM me or straight ask me in this thread.

NY AND NJ fwiw.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:39 am

Bronx Bum wrote:If anyone is tired of getting advice from 2L's who have no idea, and want advice from someone who passed C&F with an assault arrest (bar fight) WHILE in law school and a previous open container violation, PM me or straight ask me in this thread.

NY AND NJ fwiw.


Thank you for being available for ?s.

I am the idiot OP who f*cked up in law school w/ behavioral (nonacademic) misconduct. What course of action would you recommend?

I have been prescribed new meds, undergo regular psych counseling, and participate in 15-20 hours of pro bono work a week (volunteered full time over winter break and will do the same over spring breaks). What are some non-obvious ways to show rehabilitation?

Interested in PA/NJ.

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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:19 am

Bronx Bum wrote:If anyone is tired of getting advice from 2L's who have no idea, and want advice from someone who passed C&F with an assault arrest (bar fight) WHILE in law school and a previous open container violation, PM me or straight ask me in this thread.

NY AND NJ fwiw.


did you hire an attorney? did you have a hearing?

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Bronx Bum
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Bronx Bum » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Bronx Bum wrote:If anyone is tired of getting advice from 2L's who have no idea, and want advice from someone who passed C&F with an assault arrest (bar fight) WHILE in law school and a previous open container violation, PM me or straight ask me in this thread.

NY AND NJ fwiw.


To both anons (in law school and the 2 dwi guy):

Thank you for being available for ?s.

I am the idiot OP who f*cked up in law school w/ behavioral (nonacademic) misconduct. What course of action would you recommend?

I have been prescribed new meds, undergo regular psych counseling, and participate in 15-20 hours of pro bono work a week (volunteered full time over winter break and will do the same over spring breaks). What are some non-obvious ways to show rehabilitation?

Interested in PA/NJ.


The only thing I can see being a problem is the counseling and meds but if that's all done by the time you apply, you *should* be ok. I got into a bar fight, and won pretty handedly. I was charged with assault, had a lawyer come down right away and got it dropped to disorderly conduct. At court, it was further dropped to some bs town ticket (equivalent to disorderly conduct except that this was municipal). Immediately AFTER there was a disposition on the case, I went to the dean of academic whatever and provided him with every document known to man pertaining to my case. I even brought medical records showing that I was injured too so it didn't look like I blindsided the dude.

I really didn't take blame for it. I believe I was justified in what I did and I expressed that. I did, however, say that I embarrassed myself and, as a law student, never should have been in that bar. What I said was somewhat inconsistent with the police report because, quite frankly, the 21 year old seasonal cop straight up lied.

The law school allowed me to amend my app. I provided them with everything. Then when I filled out my character and fitness apps, I took about 6 hours to make sure everything was together in neat exhibits.

End result: New Jersey, admitted without even being questioned. New York, the guy said that the "only thing that even raises a slight flag is the fact that your account is different than the police report but your explanation is reasonable" and then complimented me on the time I took to put together all of the documents. I'm now admitted in both states without delay. In fact, I was admitted in the first available class for NY and I was admitted a week after bar results came out for NJ (had to send in signed oath card). I bet that 75% of the hold ups are idiots who don't provide all of the documentation.

If you provided EVERYTHING to them, every report from the counseling, all the medications, etc. then you did your part. It's when you only provide "7 out of the 9" counseling reports or "forget" to provide the entire police report that you have yourself to blame.

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Bronx Bum
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Re: Character and Fitness worries...

Postby Bronx Bum » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Bronx Bum wrote:If anyone is tired of getting advice from 2L's who have no idea, and want advice from someone who passed C&F with an assault arrest (bar fight) WHILE in law school and a previous open container violation, PM me or straight ask me in this thread.

NY AND NJ fwiw.


did you hire an attorney? did you have a hearing?


In New York you have a mandatory interview, whether you're a convicted felon or Mother Theresa. I think the guy would have LOL'd if I came in with a lawyer, that's how informal it was.




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