Panicking over Character and Fitness

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Anonymous User
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Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:52 am

Hi all,

I've had a rough few weeks.

I was very recently fired from my part-time law clerk position.

I am mildly surprised that happened. I knew they were disappointed in some of my projects, but I did not expect that they'd act so quickly as to get rid of me. To my knowledge, there were no concerns about character or fitness issues--they generally liked me as a person.

I will obviously disclose that to the bar.

But during this position, there were also a few weeks where I was just flooded with projects with short deadlines. So I worked on them without really keeping track of how many hours I worked during the week. So during these weeks, I suspect I went over the 20 hour limit set by the ABA.

So I'm now freaking out that these combined factors will exclude me from bar admission.

For full disclosure purposes, I have never been in trouble with the law, aside from a minor ticket. I have never been in trouble with any academic institution. My professional career thus far has been strong, except for the earlier cited transgression. And I should be receiving great references from other attorneys I've worked under, and good personal references too.

I'm just insanely worried because my Character and Fitness application will not be spotless. I know that lawyers are held to really high ethical standards. And I've read some old topics on TLS, and that just heightened my anxiety because some posters were discussing how even one ethical issue will preclude your admission.

Anonymous User
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:38 am

As long as you're not in CA, you're fine

Edit: CA is stupidly over pre-cautious

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:41 am

I would be absolutely shocked if C&F even considered this, let alone denied you for it.

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

Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:50 am

OP here.

Okay, thanks guys.

I think I just let it get to me.

I'll just disclose it and be honest.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:54 am

Getting fired isn't an ethics issue, it's a (perceived) competence issue, unless you got fired for doing something unethical like sleeping with a client or embezzling client funds. There is no reason at all why C&F would care about you getting fired. People get fired all the time. And I also can't imagine that the hours thing would be an issue - you don't even know whether you went over, you just suspect that you did.

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AVBucks4239
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:55 am

Don't worry about it. I don't think anything like this was on my C+F application (e.g., something like, "How many hours did you bill when working;" or "how many hours per week."). You just list the employer and move on to the next question.

If you're worried about the interview, they will basically re-read the application to you and have you confirm the answers, and maybe ask you a few additional questions. It will be painless.

Just an anectodal story: I got arrested for underage possession when I was 18. When I was interviewing for my local bar association, the conversation went something like this:

"So I see you got arrested in 2006 for underage possession."
"Yes"
"Well at least we know you like to have a good time."
[Laughs around table]
\end

In short, don't worry. C+F is to keep out criminals, clinically insane, and people not fit to practice law from being admitted to the bar.

Anonymous User
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:26 pm

OP here. Thanks guys.

Again, I just have this feeling that I went over 20 hours during the crazy weeks. It was just an awkward position to be in. The attorney said it was due within 3 days. And it needed to get done.

I didn't want to say, "Listen, I'd like to help you, but I can only work 2 more hours this week" because I had already worked 18.

Purplebook
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Purplebook » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:10 pm

Didn't the ABA get rid of the time limit back in August or something?

Did I misunderstand this?: http://m.nationallawjournal.com/module/ ... 1697269332

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sd5289
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby sd5289 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:37 pm

Here in NY the credited response is "disclose and you'll be fine." I know people with arrests, job terminations, etc., who have been admitted. You should be perfectly fine.

Anonymous User
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Purplebook wrote:Didn't the ABA get rid of the time limit back in August or something?

Did I misunderstand this?: http://m.nationallawjournal.com/module/ ... 1697269332


I looked into that too. It seems that it was just proposed and not in effect, yet.

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20160810
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby 20160810 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:55 pm

My shorthand understanding has always been that C&F pretty much only cares about felonies, cheating in law school or on the bar, and lying to C&F.

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fats provolone
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby fats provolone » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:55 pm

most of the C&F examiners are probably laid off attorneys so they'll understand

Anonymous User
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:33 pm

wait, what is there a time limit for?! I was planning on interning at a DA office for credit and working at a firm next semester for money (only taking easy night classes next semester). Are you saying I cant do this?

edit- Sorry. Since I'll be working for credit at the DA office it wont count for the 20 hours I assume, and I wouldnt do more than 20 hours at a firm. Stupid rule though, because I could easily do at least 30 at the firm (and drop the DA office) and still take enough credit to graduate.

Purplebook
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Re: Panicking over Character and Fitness

Postby Purplebook » Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:14 pm

Says here the 20 hour limit no longer exists: http://m.nationallawjournal.com/module/ ... 1730260784




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