Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

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Regular marijuana use BEFORE law school...

Kills your chances of landing a full-time federal job
5
13%
Makes it significantly harder to get a federal job
8
21%
Might hurt your chances
13
34%
Doesn't matter at all
12
32%
 
Total votes: 38

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Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:28 pm

0L with an interest in DOJ/prosecutor work down the road. I've used marijuana somewhat regularly in my leisure time for several years. Experimentation with other drugs has been very limited and will be outside of 7 years by the time I expect to finish law school. Never involved in distribution or had any legal trouble.

It seems pretty clear from other threads that if this is my ideal career path, I should stop smoking ASAP. I'm wondering if my history precludes me from the jobs I'd be interested in (and should thus just keep smoking because I like it and don't let it impact my responsibilities). I can't be like "Only smoked weed twice when I was at a low point but I recognized the error in my ways" (I haven't). I've done it a lot and most friends that I would list as references know that.

I'm curious as to how this might impact my internship and full-time job prospects. For example, as long as I haven't done anything w/in the previous year would I be OK for a DOJ/USAO 1L internship? Would 4 years of not doing anything effectively negate what's in the past when applying for something like DOJ honors or a position in an AG/DA's office?

sparkytrainer

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby sparkytrainer » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:41 pm

Its going to hurt your chances significantly, but I do not know if it will 100% preclude you. Others are more knowledgeable.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:53 pm

When I got an AUSA gig 2 years out from graduation, I was told that the only dealbreakers were post-bar drug use, failure to pay taxes, and default on student loans. While degree of use matters, I think particularly if you stopped before law school you’d be okay. (DOJ tends to hire clerks so you’d likely have another year past graduation on your record.)

I’m not sure about internships during school (I did them but I’m boring as hell and didn’t have anything to report). There was a recent thread where people talked about this. Again, I think stopping before law school will put you in the best position you can be at this point.

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rpupkin

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby rpupkin » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:10 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:Its going to hurt your chances significantly, but I do not know if it will 100% preclude you. Others are more knowledgeable.

I don't think the bolded is true if OP stops before law school. Even occasional use in law school isn't a deal breaker—as another poster said, it's post-bar use that really gets you in trouble—but things will go smoother for OP if he or she quits now.

ghostoftraynor

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby ghostoftraynor » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:08 pm

Is this real? Do they do hair tests? Can't imagine how they would ever know (or care).

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:14 pm

ghostoftraynor wrote:Is this real? Do they do hair tests? Can't imagine how they would ever know (or care).

They do piss tests. They know because they ask and you're required to answer honestly (and they also do go around and talk to people who knew you, so if you did smoke regularly chances are good that they would talk to someone who knew that about you, and if you want to bank on no one saying anything, well, go for it, I guess). They aren't very likely to care about minor use in the past, but they do care if you don't answer honestly.

ghostoftraynor

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby ghostoftraynor » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:34 pm

"so if you did smoke regularly chances are good that they would talk to someone who knew that about you"

No desire to go into prosecution, but the bolded just strikes me as wrong. In any event, lying is never a good policy. This all just strikes me as odd. The more you know.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:38 pm

ghostoftraynor wrote:"so if you did smoke regularly chances are good that they would talk to someone who knew that about you"

No desire to go into prosecution, but the bolded just strikes me as wrong. In any event, lying is never a good policy. This all just strikes me as odd. The more you know.

So you haven't gone through this kind of background check, right? You have to put down a LOT of references and they do talk to them. I guess it just strikes me as odd that it strikes you as odd.

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BlendedUnicorn

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:39 pm

The anon answering questions is reliable. I would trust those answers.

But also the FBI and the intelligence agencies are the only ones who will actually give you a poly. Not that lying is a good idea in other cases.

ghostoftraynor

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby ghostoftraynor » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:45 pm

I certainly don't know anything about this area, nor am I encouraging anyone, including OP, to lie to a government agency. Honestly just surprised how serious people still take weed.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:13 pm

ghostoftraynor wrote:I certainly don't know anything about this area, nor am I encouraging anyone, including OP, to lie to a government agency. Honestly just surprised how serious people still take weed.

That's fair. And I don't have any idea how state offices look at it, but I'd be surprised if they cared as much, if at all. For the feds it really is just that it's still illegal federally and so they don't make any distinction between weed and any other drug (although that said, I suspect it's a lot easier to pass the background check with weed use than meth or heroin use). It's not like USAOs prosecute simple possession cases and even MJ PWID cases have to be pretty significant to get any attention, but it's just the idea that you shouldn't be prosecuting federal laws if you're (technically) breaking federal laws.

And honestly some of it is generational - it's not millenials doing the background checks and setting the standards. All the prosecutors I know seem to expect federal legalization eventually. I had a really funny experience talking to a college student/early 20s who was telling me about how she'd quit smoking cigarettes - at first I wondered why she didn't just say she'd quit smoking, and then I realized she had to specify cigarettes because it was just ordinary to her that smoking would be equally likely to be marijuana as cigarettes. That idea still isn't normal for a lot of people over, say, 40.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:12 am

I've told this story before on here. My SIL was a prosecutor in a few jx, and then she moved to private practice. Dream was FBI. She went through the process very far...it took months, and my brother was figuring out where he had bar reciprocity so they could rank her possible assigning offices. And then one day she got a call and someone said, "Hi, we were doing your background checks and found out that your marijuana use in college was not experimental, it was habitual. Thank you for your interest. This ends the process." And that was pretty much it. So...not sure about federal agencies, but I can say this happened with the FBI in the past seven years. Hope that helps.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:22 pm

OP, I had similar background to you. Applied for 2L internship with USAO. I was completely honest and had to disclose in a letter more specifics of my use. I got the internship with no more questions, but that was just an internship too.

I think it is impossible it speculate - my CSO said they're already having trouble advising whether students who went to college in states where its legalized have to disclose (phrase on background check is have you ever "illegally" used, so state level answer is no, federal level answer is yes.) You could apply in 10 years and it could be de-criminalized federally. Or it could be more criminalized than it is now.

The best answer I think you'll get is that if you want to make yourself as safe as possible, stop now.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:07 am

I also know someone who was rejected from a federal job because regular marijuana use turned up in their (remarkably thorough) background check. Yes, it matters and yes, theres a good chance they’ll find out about it. They don’t only call your references, they will call other folks they’ve IDed as likely knowing you in the past, and those folks may not be inclined to lie to a federal officer to defend your honor.

You can get lucky and sneak through but certainly don’t count on it. If you want to work in intelligence, federal law enforcement or high-end state department, stay away from all illegal drugs.

Oddly they don’t seem to care about dangerous drinking.

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Re: Impact of regular marijuana use before law school

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:07 pm

What about experimental use of other drugs? I tried the weed in college (less than ten times) and wasn’t a fan. I also dabbled in cocaine (also less than ten times) and MDMA once. Haven’t used anything since I graduated UG. Will this hurt me down the road?



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