Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

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Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:57 pm

Hey guys,

I have been offered a SA position at a firm, and I saw that they will do a background check. I was arrested on a felony drug possession charge last year, but all charges were dropped/dismissed. Prosecutors office decided not to file any charges, and I didn't appear in court or anything like that. Whole thing is in the process of getting expunged as well.

Do you guys think this will matter? I was wondering what firms ask for in a background check. Would something like this show up in a background check? Or would I even have to disclose this? I heard most firms only ask about convictions, but I wasn't sure..

Appreciate any advice you guys might have.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby trebekismyhero » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:42 pm

If it didn't end up being filed I doubt they'll come across it so i wouldn't disclose to the firm unless they bring it up. Bar examiners probably will though so you'll have to disclose then

RaceJudicata

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:51 pm

I'd start getting your ducks in a row for C&F. I don't think it'll come up during background check, and if it does, any explanation likely won't make the cut, so I definitely wouldn't disclose beforehand. I'd just hope for the best. Good luck!

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:54 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:If it didn't end up being filed I doubt they'll come across it so i wouldn't disclose to the firm unless they bring it up. Bar examiners probably will though so you'll have to disclose then


Thanks for your reply. I definitely intend disclosing this to the bar as I already disclosed it to my law school before enrolling last year. So to clarify, mere arrests don't come up in a background check that firms conduct?

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:56 pm

I had this. The ticket will be on file, but will say dismissed. It's generally unlawful employment discrimination to require the disclosure of not guilty or dismissed verdicts, because certain races are much likelier to be wrongly accused of a crime - so you basically benefit from racist police. I doubt their background check will uncover it or that your firm will want to know about it given the illegality of holding an arrest for a crime you were not found guilty of against you.

The bar will want to know about it, make you fetch the ticket and will you grill you about it. They may compare it against your law school app. Most apps don't make you disclose this, but if yours does, I'd just disclose it because it's easy to explain why you wouldn't have thought to disclose, and I think the apps that require disclosure are doing so for your benefit with c&f but are barred from incorporating a crime you were found not guilty of into your acceptance/rejection/scholarship appropriation, etc.

I had an issue with c&f, because I disclosed it but my state said it never happened, because it turns out the police officer spelled my name wrong. I spent weeks questioning it, and had not been getting enough sleep. I thought I had went crazy, and was confusing my dream life and real life. I actually enrolled in therapy, because a clerk told me they've seen this before and I was suffering from guilt over an imaginary event. Turns out the name was misspelled, and I wasn't crazy.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:56 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:I'd start getting your ducks in a row for C&F. I don't think it'll come up during background check, and if it does, any explanation likely won't make the cut, so I definitely wouldn't disclose beforehand. I'd just hope for the best. Good luck!


Are you talking about the firm's background check or C&F for the bar? If the background check the firm is doing asks for arrests other than convictions, I definitely will disclose. Other than that, I'm assuming I have no requirement/need to disclose this to the firm beforehand. As I stated earlier, I will be disclosing it to the bar 100%.

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:If it didn't end up being filed I doubt they'll come across it so i wouldn't disclose to the firm unless they bring it up. Bar examiners probably will though so you'll have to disclose then


Thanks for your reply. I definitely intend disclosing this to the bar as I already disclosed it to my law school before enrolling last year. So to clarify, mere arrests don't come up in a background check that firms conduct?


I really doubt they would. If they find it, just explain what happened. I don't think it will be a big deal for the firm. C&F will be a different story so have a good addendum and explanation when that time comes

Accidental anon

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:06 pm

OP - I don't think your firm will ask about arrests that resulted in not guilty or dismissed verdicts other than dismissed pending "........"

If it's straight up not guilty because you didn't do the act or the case was thrown out on the merits then your big law firm isn't allowed to hold it against you so there's nothing to worry about - it's employment discrimination as I stated above, and is covered by Title VII. They can take punitive action for non-disclosure, but it's debatable whether they're even allowed to ask about it in the first place.

The bar is exempt from Title VII. From in house counsel's perspective, I don't understand why they would want to know about a not guilty verdict, because it opens up a possible title vii can of worms if they no offer you.

In addition, the only ways this hurts you with the bar is if you have other disciplinary records for substance abuse. In this event, they will assume you may have been guilty. That said, the line between guilty and not guilty is huge. Some departments will auto-reject anyone with a record, because of how bad it will make them look if you commit malpractice while you have an active criminal record. If it comes down to the examiner's discretion, there's a bias towards pushing you in so long as you're not dishonest or bat-shit insane.

Again, there's no benefit for your firm to find out about this arrest, because they legally cannot hold it against you and it subjects them to risk. The business strategy of taking on liabilities with no potential benefit of any kind is uncommon outside of the white house, congress and most government agencies.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:09 pm

The firm I summered at went through two rounds of background checks, one before the summer started, and one at the summer ended before we got our full-time offers (they conducted the checks during the last week of the summer, so we got our offers immediately after). Being curious, I requested the results of both background checks from the screening company (since you have a right to get a copy of the report). The pre-summer check consisted only of verifying educational background (did the person graduate from the undergraduate school they claimed that they did, at the time they said they did). The post-summer check was a full blown check with credit, criminal, education, etc. Maybe my firm was unique, but they may not even look at your criminal background until after the summer.

Regarding whether you should disclose it, this isn't like Character and Fitness. You're not going to be asked for a self-disclosure regarding your criminal history, just consent to run the check. They aren't trying to match up your responses with the check to try and catch you in a lie. I'm sure firms could ask the background check company to sweep up arrests as well as convictions, but the reality is that unless they are planning to base a hiring decision on arrests that did not result in a conviction, they are better off not knowing. If they know about your arrest and they decide not to offer you, they open themselves up to litigation even if that's not the reason they didn't offer you.

But even if they did know, and going beyond the legal discrimination issue, with just an arrest with no conviction because the DA decided just to nolle prosequi the case? No, with the caveat that anything is theoretically possible, it's unlikely that it will impact your offer. I think most lawyers, other than maybe prosecutors, tend to understand how easy it is to get caught up in the legal system through no fault of your own, and really do believe in the presumption of innocence. I think there would people on most hiring committees who would be uncomfortable with having non-convictions impact a hiring decision.

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:If it didn't end up being filed I doubt they'll come across it so i wouldn't disclose to the firm unless they bring it up. Bar examiners probably will though so you'll have to disclose then


Thanks for your reply. I definitely intend disclosing this to the bar as I already disclosed it to my law school before enrolling last year. So to clarify, mere arrests don't come up in a background check that firms conduct?


I really doubt they would. If they find it, just explain what happened. I don't think it will be a big deal for the firm. C&F will be a different story so have a good addendum and explanation when that time comes

Accidental anon


Op here. Thanks for your reply. I will not disclose this incident to the firm unless the background check form specifically asks for it. And as you said I guess ill explain what happened if it does come up in the background check and they ask about it.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:I'd start getting your ducks in a row for C&F. I don't think it'll come up during background check, and if it does, any explanation likely won't make the cut, so I definitely wouldn't disclose beforehand. I'd just hope for the best. Good luck!


Are you talking about the firm's background check or C&F for the bar? If the background check the firm is doing asks for arrests other than convictions, I definitely will disclose. Other than that, I'm assuming I have no requirement/need to disclose this to the firm beforehand. As I stated earlier, I will be disclosing it to the bar 100%.


I meant C&F. My firm didn't ask any specific questions before background check, just got authorization to conduct the check.

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The firm I summered at went through two rounds of background checks, one before the summer started, and one at the summer ended before we got our full-time offers (they conducted the checks during the last week of the summer, so we got our offers immediately after). Being curious, I requested the results of both background checks from the screening company (since you have a right to get a copy of the report). The pre-summer check consisted only of verifying educational background (did the person graduate from the undergraduate school they claimed that they did, at the time they said they did). The post-summer check was a full blown check with credit, criminal, education, etc. Maybe my firm was unique, but they may not even look at your criminal background until after the summer.

Regarding whether you should disclose it, this isn't like Character and Fitness. You're not going to be asked for a self-disclosure regarding your criminal history, just consent to run the check. They aren't trying to match up your responses with the check to try and catch you in a lie. I'm sure firms could ask the background check company to sweep up arrests as well as convictions, but the reality is that unless they are planning to base a hiring decision on arrests that did not result in a conviction, they are better off not knowing. If they know about your arrest and they decide not to offer you, they open themselves up to litigation even if that's not the reason they didn't offer you.

But even if they did know, and going beyond the legal discrimination issue, with just an arrest with no conviction because the DA decided just to nolle prosequi the case? No, with the caveat that anything is theoretically possible, it's unlikely that it will impact your offer. I think most lawyers, other than maybe prosecutors, tend to understand how easy it is to get caught up in the legal system through no fault of your own, and really do believe in the presumption of innocence. I think there would people on most hiring committees who would be uncomfortable with having non-convictions impact a hiring decision.


Hey thanks for your advice and input. I really appreciate it!

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Re: Biglaw Summer Associate Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:40 pm

OP here

I actually called the screening agency conducting the background check and they told me that my employer only asked for convictions regarding criminal history, so I'm in the clear. Thanks everyone!



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