Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:25 pm

Hello all,

I have a question that seems to be floating around, but they are all specific when it comes to C&F sense not everyone makes the same mistakes.

Back in 2004-2005, I was a punk. I was charged with "receiving stolen property," (received a year of probation) and then violated probation with, "possession of marijuana" (two misdemeanors.) For the violation, I spend 20 some odd days in the county jail and the rest was deferred for time spent. Following that, I was able to get probation dropped so that I could join the military about 6 months after that stint.

(Two more things: I also was caught with "stink bombs" (the ones you get from the county fairs for $2) in school and that ended up on my record somehow. This was also during high school in '04. I also received a MIP: I was in a car with alcohol in it and we got pulled over and of course we were all underage.)

Fast forward: I was honorably discharged, did multiple tours with a special unit in the Middle East, was subsequently hired by a corporate firm following discharge, worked for them for three+ years and now am finishing up my undergraduate degree with Honors at the college and was also awarded a legal internship that transformed into being hired as general help at the small firm.

I've turned my life around 100% and realized the juvenile stuff I did do. I also got my record expunged in the state this all happened in. I was a - minor - during the time of all of this, and thats why my record is "locked up" now.

I just ran a FBI Criminal History report on myself and it came up with no prior convictions at all. Perfectly clean past.

Sooooo - sense my past record is officially "expunged," and I already ran the FBI Criminal History check, do I need to disclose all of this stuff?

Thanks for your time and apologies on the lengthy narration.

User avatar
AlanShore
Posts: 1505
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:21 pm

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby AlanShore » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hello all,

I have a question that seems to be floating around, but they are all specific when it comes to C&F sense not everyone makes the same mistakes.

Back in 2004-2005, I was a punk. I was charged with "receiving stolen property," (received a year of probation) and then violated probation with, "possession of marijuana" (two misdemeanors.) For the violation, I spend 20 some odd days in the county jail and the rest was deferred for time spent. Following that, I was able to get probation dropped so that I could join the military about 6 months after that stint.

(Two more things: I also was caught with "stink bombs" (the ones you get from the county fairs for $2) in school and that ended up on my record somehow. This was also during high school in '04. I also received a MIP: I was in a car with alcohol in it and we got pulled over and of course we were all underage.)

Fast forward: I was honorably discharged, did multiple tours with a special unit in the Middle East, was subsequently hired by a corporate firm following discharge, worked for them for three+ years and now am finishing up my undergraduate degree with Honors at the college and was also awarded a legal internship that transformed into being hired as general help at the small firm.

I've turned my life around 100% and realized the juvenile stuff I did do. I also got my record expunged in the state this all happened in. I was a - minor - during the time of all of this, and thats why my record is "locked up" now.

I just ran a FBI Criminal History report on myself and it came up with no prior convictions at all. Perfectly clean past.

Sooooo - sense my past record is officially "expunged," and I already ran the FBI Criminal History check, do I need to disclose all of this stuff?

Thanks for your time and apologies on the lengthy narration.

I think you need to disclose. Depending on what state youre trying to get into, you should be fine. Character&Fitness stuff is very serious but from hearing other people's stories, mistakes in your youth are very different from recent mistakes and the thing you've done are dumb highschool things. However, some states (Florida) are ridiculously strict. Every state has a person/department that deals with this. You should talk to them. There are also lawyers that deal with character&fitness issues specifically.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:50 pm

I had something on my record from 9 years ago, which was expunged 7 years ago. Recent (last month) self-background check turned it up.

When I applied to law school, I disclosed. They specifically say on the application even if an offense was expunged, you must disclose. When I apply for Character & Fitness, I will disclose as well. I was just given an offer at a v20 firm. Before accepting, I talked to career services for advice; they suggested I talk to recruiting and disclose the charge, in the interest of "no surprises." I did just that, and recruiting said it's nothing to worry about.

That's my own experience; cheaper than hiring an attorney for advice, but maybe not as accurate. Law schools, Character & Fitness, and for some firms, the failure to disclose will be a greater sin than the actual offense you committed.

User avatar
AlanShore
Posts: 1505
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:21 pm

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby AlanShore » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That's my own experience; cheaper than hiring an attorney for advice, but maybe not as accurate. Law schools, Character & Fitness, and for some firms, the failure to disclose will be a greater sin than the actual offense you committed.


definitely true. theyre more concerned that youre lying and not being honest now than what you did when you were a teenager.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:58 pm

AlanShore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hello all,

I have a question that seems to be floating around, but they are all specific when it comes to C&F sense not everyone makes the same mistakes.

Back in 2004-2005, I was a punk. I was charged with "receiving stolen property," (received a year of probation) and then violated probation with, "possession of marijuana" (two misdemeanors.) For the violation, I spend 20 some odd days in the county jail and the rest was deferred for time spent. Following that, I was able to get probation dropped so that I could join the military about 6 months after that stint.

(Two more things: I also was caught with "stink bombs" (the ones you get from the county fairs for $2) in school and that ended up on my record somehow. This was also during high school in '04. I also received a MIP: I was in a car with alcohol in it and we got pulled over and of course we were all underage.)

Fast forward: I was honorably discharged, did multiple tours with a special unit in the Middle East, was subsequently hired by a corporate firm following discharge, worked for them for three+ years and now am finishing up my undergraduate degree with Honors at the college and was also awarded a legal internship that transformed into being hired as general help at the small firm.

I've turned my life around 100% and realized the juvenile stuff I did do. I also got my record expunged in the state this all happened in. I was a - minor - during the time of all of this, and thats why my record is "locked up" now.

I just ran a FBI Criminal History report on myself and it came up with no prior convictions at all. Perfectly clean past.

Sooooo - sense my past record is officially "expunged," and I already ran the FBI Criminal History check, do I need to disclose all of this stuff?

Thanks for your time and apologies on the lengthy narration.

I think you need to disclose. Depending on what state youre trying to get into, you should be fine. Character&Fitness stuff is very serious but from hearing other people's stories, mistakes in your youth are very different from recent mistakes and the thing you've done are dumb highschool things. However, some states (Florida) are ridiculously strict. Every state has a person/department that deals with this. You should talk to them. There are also lawyers that deal with character&fitness issues specifically.


Thanks for the advice - do you know by chance if theres a C & F link on the bar websites. I checked for California and I didn't see anything.

Or maybe if there's a title the individuals go by so that I can call the general contact number and ask for them that way? That may be more universal.

Thanks again.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I had something on my record from 9 years ago, which was expunged 7 years ago. Recent (last month) self-background check turned it up.

When I applied to law school, I disclosed. They specifically say on the application even if an offense was expunged, you must disclose. When I apply for Character & Fitness, I will disclose as well. I was just given an offer at a v20 firm. Before accepting, I talked to career services for advice; they suggested I talk to recruiting and disclose the charge, in the interest of "no surprises." I did just that, and recruiting said it's nothing to worry about.

That's my own experience; cheaper than hiring an attorney for advice, but maybe not as accurate. Law schools, Character & Fitness, and for some firms, the failure to disclose will be a greater sin than the actual offense you committed.



Alright - It seems that everyone says to disclose. Which is the correct thing to do. I just hate to have them look at 4 different situations and perhaps be like, "damn...next."

It seems strange to me that we are wanting to practice law, and by law, having the records expunged entitles not to have to disclose the past that I had "erased." Yet it doesn't matter if it's expunged. So why even bother spending money to have it erased. A little counter-intutive. But that's what I get for being a jackass.

User avatar
AlanShore
Posts: 1505
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:21 pm

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby AlanShore » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I had something on my record from 9 years ago, which was expunged 7 years ago. Recent (last month) self-background check turned it up.

When I applied to law school, I disclosed. They specifically say on the application even if an offense was expunged, you must disclose. When I apply for Character & Fitness, I will disclose as well. I was just given an offer at a v20 firm. Before accepting, I talked to career services for advice; they suggested I talk to recruiting and disclose the charge, in the interest of "no surprises." I did just that, and recruiting said it's nothing to worry about.

That's my own experience; cheaper than hiring an attorney for advice, but maybe not as accurate. Law schools, Character & Fitness, and for some firms, the failure to disclose will be a greater sin than the actual offense you committed.



Alright - It seems that everyone says to disclose. Which is the correct thing to do. I just hate to have them look at 4 different situations and perhaps be like, "damn...next."

It seems strange to me that we are wanting to practice law, and by law, having the records expunged entitles not to have to disclose the past that I had "erased." Yet it doesn't matter if it's expunged. So why even bother spending money to have it erased. A little counter-intutive. But that's what I get for being a jackass.

expungements help for employment. background checks done by a potential employer shouldnt turn up expunged events.

I think the best thing to do is to contact the department that deals with these things in your state. They are generally very helpful (and are not "out to get you", etc). Yes, you do have 4 things but when you explain the circumstance/context i think it's pretty obvious you were just immature in your youth (especially given your honorable discharge). Again, the conversation would be much tougher if you had lied about them throughout law school, etc but since you've been forthright, I really think youll be fine

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:58 pm

AlanShore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I had something on my record from 9 years ago, which was expunged 7 years ago. Recent (last month) self-background check turned it up.

When I applied to law school, I disclosed. They specifically say on the application even if an offense was expunged, you must disclose. When I apply for Character & Fitness, I will disclose as well. I was just given an offer at a v20 firm. Before accepting, I talked to career services for advice; they suggested I talk to recruiting and disclose the charge, in the interest of "no surprises." I did just that, and recruiting said it's nothing to worry about.

That's my own experience; cheaper than hiring an attorney for advice, but maybe not as accurate. Law schools, Character & Fitness, and for some firms, the failure to disclose will be a greater sin than the actual offense you committed.



Alright - It seems that everyone says to disclose. Which is the correct thing to do. I just hate to have them look at 4 different situations and perhaps be like, "damn...next."

It seems strange to me that we are wanting to practice law, and by law, having the records expunged entitles not to have to disclose the past that I had "erased." Yet it doesn't matter if it's expunged. So why even bother spending money to have it erased. A little counter-intutive. But that's what I get for being a jackass.

expungements help for employment. background checks done by a potential employer shouldnt turn up expunged events.

I think the best thing to do is to contact the department that deals with these things in your state. They are generally very helpful (and are not "out to get you", etc). Yes, you do have 4 things but when you explain the circumstance/context i think it's pretty obvious you were just immature in your youth (especially given your honorable discharge). Again, the conversation would be much tougher if you had lied about them throughout law school, etc but since you've been forthright, I really think youll be fine


I'll be calling the California bar today, and if anything comes about, I'll post it here in case someone else is reading this and would like to go by the advice.

Thanks again!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:15 pm

Always err on the side of full disclosure. Trust me. You can call and ask your state bar about specific things and how it could affect you. Just don't give them your name when you call.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Always err on the side of full disclosure. Trust me. You can call and ask your state bar about specific things and how it could affect you. Just don't give them your name when you call.



As an update:

I called the California Bar and they said if it's expunged/ annulled, it's up to the person to disclose. She wouldn't give me a, "yes you need to" or "no you don't." It was just that if they find something, it'll take longer to get licensing and then you may have to get in front of a board.

I called Berkeley and asked, the admissions officer said that if it's expunged, you don't need to disclose it to them.

Soooooo.......the plot thickens.

My consensus is - Don't disclose to the schools and do disclose to the C&F when you apply for the bar?

Thoughts and advice?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Always err on the side of full disclosure. Trust me. You can call and ask your state bar about specific things and how it could affect you. Just don't give them your name when you call.



As an update:

I called the California Bar and they said if it's expunged/ annulled, it's up to the person to disclose. She wouldn't give me a, "yes you need to" or "no you don't." It was just that if they find something, it'll take longer to get licensing and then you may have to get in front of a board.

I called Berkeley and asked, the admissions officer said that if it's expunged, you don't need to disclose it to them.

Soooooo.......the plot thickens.

My consensus is - Don't disclose to the schools and do disclose to the C&F when you apply for the bar?

Thoughts and advice?


Ask to speak with someone who actually evaluates C+F applications. You may get different answers--I did.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Always err on the side of full disclosure. Trust me. You can call and ask your state bar about specific things and how it could affect you. Just don't give them your name when you call.



As an update:

I called the California Bar and they said if it's expunged/ annulled, it's up to the person to disclose. She wouldn't give me a, "yes you need to" or "no you don't." It was just that if they find something, it'll take longer to get licensing and then you may have to get in front of a board.

I called Berkeley and asked, the admissions officer said that if it's expunged, you don't need to disclose it to them.

Soooooo.......the plot thickens.

My consensus is - Don't disclose to the schools and do disclose to the C&F when you apply for the bar?

Thoughts and advice?


Ask to speak with someone who actually evaluates C+F applications. You may get different answers--I did.


At the college? Or at the bar?

I spoke to an examiner at the bar, but just an employee that "checked" with a counselor.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:At the college? Or at the bar?

I spoke to an examiner at the bar, but just an employee that "checked" with a counselor.


At the bar. It seems like you already have a pretty clear answer from Berkeley.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273135
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Past Screwup's - Character & Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:At the college? Or at the bar?

I spoke to an examiner at the bar, but just an employee that "checked" with a counselor.


At the bar. It seems like you already have a pretty clear answer from Berkeley.



Ya, I asked for someone that handles C&F and then was transferred to someone. She had stated that she reviews the cases for situations like that, but said that board members actually decide the outcome and she just reviews.

I figured that I won't for the schools that don't make it mandatory (Berkeley being one) if it's expunged, but do disclose it for the actual bar and other colleges that do require it. Think that would work? It seems logical and truthful if I'm being asked to. But if a school doesn't require it, I don't see a reason to still divulge it.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.