Character + Fitness Disclosure?

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pumpkinseed

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Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby pumpkinseed » Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:28 am

Hi!
Glad I found this thread.
PLEASE HELP.

Character & Fitness application for the bar due soon.
No arrests, no criminal history, nada... however, I am prescribed suboxone by my doctor and have been on it for over 2 years, sober. I got on it before law school to help with opiate addiction and am still on a very low dose.

Do I have to disclose this info? I can't see it coming up in anything except medical records and I feel it will just delay my application. I have no conduct or history that would validate me putting my treatment on there since I have a clean record.
I'm following the advice of "disclose & be candid" on all my other aspects... but this aspect has me second-guessing if I should disclose or not........

AspiringCALawyer

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby AspiringCALawyer » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:04 am

pumpkinseed wrote:Hi!
Glad I found this thread.
PLEASE HELP.

Character & Fitness application for the bar due soon.
No arrests, no criminal history, nada... however, I am prescribed suboxone by my doctor and have been on it for over 2 years, sober. I got on it before law school to help with opiate addiction and am still on a very low dose.

Do I have to disclose this info? I can't see it coming up in anything except medical records and I feel it will just delay my application. I have no conduct or history that would validate me putting my treatment on there since I have a clean record.
I'm following the advice of "disclose & be candid" on all my other aspects... but this aspect has me second-guessing if I should disclose or not........


Your use of the words "sober" and "opiate addiction" lead me to believe that you must have sought treatment for the condition. As such, this would likely be relevant in most jurisdictions and there's probably a related question on the application (i.e., I know the question exists, I just don't know how it's worded). It would depend on what your jurisdiction asks for. Thus, it's hard to say whether you should disclose or not. If you should have and don't and it's discovered, I imagine the consequences would be worse than the bar seeking additional information from your initial disclosure.
Last edited by AspiringCALawyer on Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:07 am

Sorry, no one can answer your question without knowing what your state's C&F form asks for. Is there a question that arguably requires you to disclose this medication? If so, how is the question worded?

pumpkinseed

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby pumpkinseed » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:18 am

AspiringCALawyer wrote:
pumpkinseed wrote:Hi!
Glad I found this thread.
PLEASE HELP.

Character & Fitness application for the bar due soon.
No arrests, no criminal history, nada... however, I am prescribed suboxone by my doctor and have been on it for over 2 years, sober. I got on it before law school to help with opiate addiction and am still on a very low dose

Your use of the words "sober" and "opiate addiction" lead me to believe that you must have sought treatment for the condition. As such, this would likely be relevant in most jurisdictions and there's probably a related question on the application (i.e., I know the question exists, I just don't know how it's worded). It would depend on what your jurisdiction asks for. Thus, it's hard to say whether you should disclose or not. If you should have and don't and it's discovered, I imagine the consequences would be worse than the bar seeking additional information from your initial disclosure.



Thanks! Yes, I sought treatment and have been sober for almost 2 years (not counting the sub). I was going to disclose it but kept looking online to see if it was necessary. Just worried it will do more harm than good; however, I believe my treatment has been a good thing since I've been clean and see a doctor regularly. The only thing that I got from researching was to add substance abuse if there are significant criminal offenses as well. Thanks for your help.

iamsherlocked

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby iamsherlocked » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:28 am

At least in my jurisdiction, there are definitely questions related to abuse of drugs/alcohol. There is also question 26 (which has two parts) from the NCBE's character and fitness report, which many jurisdictions use. http://www.ncbex.org/dmsdocument/134

I think it would be very dishonest for you not to honestly answer those substance abuse questions and come forward with your opiate abuse history. These questions are entirely separate from the criminal record questions you are asking about.

I am glad you have received treatment and so on, but for the Bar Examiners, two years is not that long of a time and would need to be revealed. If you lie or lie by omission, you will be in way worse shape than coming forward and being honest about your treatment and your sobriety. I never have had any substance abuse issues in my life, but I knew people in law school who had past-issues and made it through the character and fitness portion of the exam ok. However, I am virtually certain they were honest and upfront and not trying to conceal things.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:02 am

AspiringCALawyer wrote:Your use of the words "sober" and "opiate addiction" lead me to believe that you must have sought treatment for the condition. As such, this would likely be relevant in most jurisdictions and there's probably a related question on the application (i.e., I know the question exists, I just don't know how it's worded). It would depend on what your jurisdiction asks for. Thus, it's hard to say whether you should disclose or not. If you should have and don't and it's discovered, I imagine the consequences would be worse than the bar seeking additional information from your initial disclosure.

Absolutely agree with this. Most if not all jurisdictions will ask about substance abuse on the bar application, and while they're worded differently erring on the side of disclosure is safest. My state's question is a little vague because it asks if you currently suffer from any condition, including but not limited to substance abuse, that could affect your ability to ethically practice law, and follows up with whether you are on any kind of treatment/program that ameliorates your condition. I would probably disclose under those circumstances (if you weren't currently on suboxone I might not).

Bar examiners are usually accepting of issues if they see you have identified a problem and done something to get help - it's ignoring a problem and/or not disclosing that will get you. Especially since it sounds like your problem was pre-law school, which is better than during.

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rcharter1978

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:06 am

Is there any reason you don't want to make an anonymous call to your bar association to see what they have to say? If they start asking you for identifying information you can just hang up.

I think everyone on here has a valid point and good reasoning, but it will really all boil down to what your state bar wants, so I think you'd feel most comfortable with their answer.

I certainly don't think it will keep you out of the profession, if thats what you're worried about -- but if its one of those things where you think they may want to know, but you fail to tell them, I suppose it could delay your approval.

UMich11

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby UMich11 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:45 pm

Simplest way to see it:

don't disclose and they find out, you're likely royally fucked. They don't like that. Even for minor issues. This is clearly a major issue.

Disclose it and you're likely to have to explain yourself. There are people I know who passed CF with a dui or a drink and disorderly in college or shortly before law school. Mistakes happen. We're just human.

If there is a place asking about addiction, psychotic/mental issues, then it's best to disclose.

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MavEryck

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby MavEryck » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:39 pm

Lack of honesty in your disclosure now would hurt you far worse than the initial issue in the past...

The example I always give people is that stealing a toaster when you were 14 won't prevent you from being a lawyer... failing to disclose the theft on your Moral Character Application may prevent you from becoming a lawyer if the State Bar finds out...

How you face disclosure speaks loudly about your character. I had to disclose things that I really wished had not happened... Better safe than sorry when it comes to disclosure.

Sidenote: Someone made it all the way to the Bar Exam and on Day 2 of 3 got caught misusing a handicap placard to park... Guess what? No Bueno! I know they were not allowed to swear in after the Bar. Be careful Peeps... Don't let some momentary transgression ruin your entry into this profession.

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ArtistOfManliness

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Re: Character + Fitness Disclosure?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:42 pm

rpupkin wrote:Sorry, no one can answer your question without knowing what your state's C&F form asks for. Is there a question that arguably requires you to disclose this medication? If so, how is the question worded?


This is the only relevant question thus far.



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