Background check Biglaw 2L SA

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Anonymous User
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Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:09 pm

Got an offer at V50 firm during OCI which I accepted. However, I just realized that I hadn't considered my previous criminal history.

I have been arrested 3 times in my life. 1 for simple possession about 9 years ago. Two for simple battery about 4 and 5 years ago (getting into bar fights in college). All are misdemeanors. I have put all of this behind me but that doesn't matter sometimes.

I know I should expect issues with the bar, but every attorney I have consulted has told me I should be fine, it just might take a little longer for approval.

Do you think this may lead to a rescinding of my summer offer once the firm conducts a background check?

Anonymous User
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:00 pm

I'd talk to your Student Affairs office. They'd be able to provide you with a more precise answer and tell you exactly what you need to do.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:57 am

You are gonna want to tell them before they find out on their own.

I told my firm as I accepted the offer. I have similar, but non-violent, offenses. They ended up confirming, in writing, that if what I disclosed was what they find on my background it will not be an issue. I told another firm and they were less cool with it (both V50).

Is there a partner you feel comfortable talking to? Are they in the same city as you? I always think conversations are best...I also spoke to the career office at my school and they were helpful.

Good luck.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You are gonna want to tell them before they find out on their own.

I told my firm as I accepted the offer. I have similar, but non-violent, offenses. They ended up confirming, in writing, that if what I disclosed was what they find on my background it will not be an issue. I told another firm and they were less cool with it (both V50).

Is there a partner you feel comfortable talking to? Are they in the same city as you? I always think conversations are best...I also spoke to the career office at my school and they were helpful.

Good luck.


Can you elaborate on the bolded?

ookoshi
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby ookoshi » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:37 pm

I was asked to fill in an "application" as part of the background check which asked me things that might also come up during the background check (e.g., have you ever been convicted of ... , list your educational background with dates, degrees, etc.). I'm not sure if they asked about misdemeanors or only felonies. I'm sure firms vary in that regard.

I would disclose everything to the extent that it is asked. I wouldn't disclose anything that wasn't asked (e.g., I wouldn't disclose misdemeanors if they only asked about felonies, even though the background check might reveal the misdemeanors). Unlike C&F, I think it's more important just to be truthful rather than going out of your way to volunteer things just because it "might" matter.

Also, most background check companies allow you to pull a copy of the file that they put together and ultimately send to the entity requesting the check. I did this twice. Once for the check the firm conducted prior to my SA. Once for the check from the (same) firm that they conducted after I accepted the associate offer. I was mostly curious what the file said about me and in case I had to correct any errors due to identity theft or something. I had no arrests, but I was paranoid AF.

The first check, the only thing the firm asked for from the background check company was my educational history (I guess they wanted to make sure I really went to undergrad at the school I claimed?). They didn't ask for a criminal history. The second check, for the associate offer, was a full check, including criminal history and everything else under the sun.

As long as you never lie about your past, the more chance they have to get to know you before they find out about some old misdemeanors, the more likely they will look past it (assuming you've really changed and are reasonably likable). In your situation, I might feel more pressure to impress people during the SA, just in case, but otherwise I think it'll be OK.

tyroneslothrop1
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:58 pm

Look into getting this stuff expunged. Some states have laws indicating that expunged convictions need not be disclosed on job applications. It may be the case that expunged convictions do not show up on background checks, I can't recall.

Anonymous User
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:29 pm

Took the opposite approach from ookoshi.

Sometimes you can answer truthfully but you might come off as deceitful. For instance, if your asked if you've ever been convicted of something. You may have never been convicted of anything, but if you've been arrested or done other court diversions programs, it will likely come up. In that case its probably better to talk to a partner (preferably the hiring partner) and tell them that you are answering no on the question but want to be as candid and forthcoming as possible. They will likely see that as a very good indicator as to your character. Much better than them bringing it up to you once they discover it, and you having to explain that "technically" you were never convicted, arrested, etc...

That being said, there is definitely more than one school of thought on this. Just keep in mind that the bar may pull your application from your job and see how you answered all the questions, and being that you will already be subject to some sort of investigation, its better to be able to say that you disclosed even though you didn't have to.

Just two cents from someone who disclosed and it worked out for.

ookoshi
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Re: Background check Biglaw 2L SA

Postby ookoshi » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Sometimes you can answer truthfully but you might come off as deceitful. For instance, if your asked if you've ever been convicted of something. You may have never been convicted of anything, but if you've been arrested or done other court diversions programs, it will likely come up. In that case its probably better to talk to a partner (preferably the hiring partner) and tell them that you are answering no on the question but want to be as candid and forthcoming as possible. They will likely see that as a very good indicator as to your character. Much better than them bringing it up to you once they discover it, and you having to explain that "technically" you were never convicted, arrested, etc...


It may be seen as a positive, but I think as long as you're technically truthful, it won't be seen as a negative. I think most employers understand why people don't want to over-disclose embarrassing events from their past. Additionally, for the bar's C&F, your overall character and candor is the #1 priority. During a job application, giving your employer the most reasons to hire you and the least excuses to ding you is the #1 priority. I think it's important to properly understand the context and prioritize your responses in each situation. To the extent that you believe disclosing will be seen as a positive, disclose, but I wouldn't assume that's the case.

There's a reason that the answer to most MPRE questions is the 2nd most ethical response, since that's the answer that is both within the rules and also the best for your client. In practice, you will on occasion have to balance ethics with the client's interest, so you do everything you can within the rules to advocate your client's position. When you're applying for a job, you're the client.

That being said, there is definitely more than one school of thought on this. Just keep in mind that the bar may pull your application from your job and see how you answered all the questions, and being that you will already be subject to some sort of investigation, its better to be able to say that you disclosed even though you didn't have to.


Are you suggesting that the bar is going to give someone problems for an answer that was technically truthful on a job application? The idea that C&F is going to ask, "Why didn't you disclose your misdemeanors?" if someone answers no to a question like, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" on a job application is a little silly. As long as you err on disclosing for the C&F application itself, this is a non-issue.




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