California Bar Moral Character Application

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worriedgrad

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby worriedgrad » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:59 am

I went back and read the pertinent question again. It asks, "Have you ever been convicted of the violation of a misdemeanor or felony? As used herein, a conviction includes a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or a verdict or finding of guilt, regardless of whether sentence is imposed by the
court." My answer to this was No. It also asks, "Are you awaiting final adjudication for any investigation or arrest?" My answer to this was also No. There weren't any other questions about arrests - you had me really freaked out for a second!

QContinuum

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby QContinuum » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:32 am

worriedgrad wrote:I went back and read the pertinent question again. It asks, "Have you ever been convicted of the violation of a misdemeanor or felony? As used herein, a conviction includes a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or a verdict or finding of guilt, regardless of whether sentence is imposed by the
court." My answer to this was No. It also asks, "Are you awaiting final adjudication for any investigation or arrest?" My answer to this was also No. There weren't any other questions about arrests - you had me really freaked out for a second!

My previous post was inaccurate in part, and I apologize and retract it.

However, I remain concerned in general about your potential failures to disclose. I reiterate my advice to consult with a CA C&F attorney to determine your best course of action.

For example, for Convictions, the instructions state: "IN ANSWERING THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS, YOU SHOULD INCLUDE ALL SUCH INCIDENTS AND
CONVICTIONS, NO MATTER HOW MINOR THE INCIDENT. Traffic violations which must be reported under this question include Failure to Appear, Driving Without a License, Driving with a Suspended License, and Reckless Driving, as well as all traffic violations that resulted in a misdemeanor or felony conviction." This suggests that Failures to Appear are required to be disclosed.

For example, for Indebtedness, the application asks, "Do you owe any debts, including student loans, that are past due (include those barred by the statute of limitations and past due credit account balances)? Have you ever defaulted on any student loan?" This would seem to require the disclosure of past-due student loan balances and/or a past default on a student loan.

worriedgrad

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby worriedgrad » Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:00 am

Ok thanks again. I appreciate you taking the time to give me you input. I have been wondering whether I should consult an attorney, so I will follow your advice and do it. I see this process and the questions are very nuanced, and I want to do whatever I can to prove my moral character.

Also I should have clarified in my original post that I am no longer past due on any debts (currently paying on everything), the student loan was in deferment so I didn't have a default, and the driving on a suspended license ticket was dismissed when I went to court because I had no knowledge my license was suspended. Still, these things make me worried because they might rear their head and I know the culmination of everything doesn't look good. Not to mention the timing. If it does come up (or if an attorney advises me to preemtively disclose), I will be candid with what I was going through at the time. I lost my son to a congenital heart defect during my first year of law school and my husband and I divorced shortly after. It was a hard time mentally, emotionally, and financially. I've sought counseling since.

kiwh

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby kiwh » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:08 am

worriegrad,

I am not writing this to judge you but your failure to disclose will appear that you are trying to hide the incidents. They are going to look at this and see a pattern of behavior and an issue with disclosure. You do have to disclose student debt. I remember a question specifically asking about student debt. The fact you are paying the debt now does not address why you were not paying it previous to a few months ago. As far as your other incidents you do have to disclose driving on a suspended license even if it was only for two weeks. It will show up on your background check including the arrest for the suspected DUI. Even if you had these items expunged they will find them. I had infractions that technically I did not have to disclose but I called the Bar and asked specifically about this question and they said disclose it as it will show up. I had an act involving moral turpitude that also was reduced to an infraction but I disclosed it. I did not talk with a C&F attorney but did consult with two different attorneys. I was current on all credit issues and my credit report was 99% clear but I had a track record of bad credit many years ago and items I did not pay that went to collections. I disclosed it all.

I would contact a C&F attorney at this point or at the very least call the Bar and address this now. Take the advice of everyone on here that has had issues in the past and has had to go through this process. What you think is not an issue will be an issue. It is better to tackle the issues head on rather than hoping they won't be an issue.

worriedgrad

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby worriedgrad » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:36 am

Kiwh, Hearing your experience of calling the Bar about this question and disclosing things not specifically asked is so helpful. I really appreciate your advice too. Thank you and QContinuum for advising me to see an attorney, it was the push I needed. And I've gone through and read this entire discussion now, so I see how some of these things can come up. I know it will be a while until there is any movement and eventually a determination on my application, but I'll update you all when the time comes!

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby QContinuum » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:41 am

worriedgrad wrote:Ok thanks again. I appreciate you taking the time to give me you input. I have been wondering whether I should consult an attorney, so I will follow your advice and do it. I see this process and the questions are very nuanced, and I want to do whatever I can to prove my moral character.

Also I should have clarified in my original post that I am no longer past due on any debts (currently paying on everything), the student loan was in deferment so I didn't have a default, and the driving on a suspended license ticket was dismissed when I went to court because I had no knowledge my license was suspended. Still, these things make me worried because they might rear their head and I know the culmination of everything doesn't look good. Not to mention the timing. If it does come up (or if an attorney advises me to preemtively disclose), I will be candid with what I was going through at the time. I lost my son to a congenital heart defect during my first year of law school and my husband and I divorced shortly after. It was a hard time mentally, emotionally, and financially. I've sought counseling since.

Best wishes! And kudos on overcoming all of that during law school. That is extremely challenging to rise above at any time, let alone during 1L.

As a minor clarification, there seem to me - again, though, I'm not a CA C&F attorney - to be several issues related to your driving record. My previous post ITT referred only to the Failure to Appear. The dismissed Driving with a Suspended License citation is a separate/independent issue, as is the arrest for the suspected DUI. You might, for example - and again, confirm with a C&F lawyer - not need to disclose the Suspended License citation you beat in court, but still need to disclose the Failure to Appear (a separate violation).

You may also want to pull your entire driving record yourself (including in any other states where you've ever held a driver's license) to review it to see what shows up. It's not uncommon for folks to have minor traffic tickets they dealt with years ago - like, say, a speeding ticket, or doing a rolling stop at a stop sign, etc. - that they've long since forgotten about.

Also as a second clarification, it still isn't clear to me whether you have a past due balance on your loans or not. The fact that you're currently making payments on a loan doesn't necessarily mean you don't still have a past due balance on that loan. Again, raise this with your lawyer. They will know what financial issues need to be disclosed.

When you consult with the C&F lawyer, the key thing is to give the lawyer all the facts, even facts you may think are minor or mostly irrelevant. The lawyer won't be able to give you accurate advice if she only has part of the picture. So, for example, speaking purely hypothetically: If you were arrested, then let go without any charges, disclose that to your lawyer. Even if, in your view, the arrest was completely unfounded and unlawful, and even if, as far as you know, no citations or charges resulted from that arrest.

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:13 pm

FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:
worriedgrad wrote:Hello, I posted this on another forum as well, but this discussion looks more helpful and active! Here's my issue:
I just submitted my moral character application and didn't disclose anything because the questions did not call for disclosure of the past issues I am concerned about. Here are the issues (all of which happened during law school - I know that's bad):

- driving on a suspended license (my license was only suspended for 2 weeks because I got a failure to appear for a speeding ticket after the speeding ticket was sent to a wrong address; I quickly worked everything out);
- an arrest for a suspected DUI, no charges brought because my BAC was below the legal limit (I have no other alcohol or drug related anything in my past);
- getting the police called on me for movie theater hopping (nothing happened, I just got kicked out but there might be a police report and I had attitude with the officer);
- $260k in student loans that I just recently started paying on (I didn't pay on them for a few years); also prior to law school, I had a few bills random bills sent to collections (like a pg&e bill and a doctor bill), but they are all current now; and my credit report shows multiple late payments over the years;
- and lastly, I procrastinated on submitting my moral character app for years (I graduated law school 5 years ago - not sure if that's something they would take into consideration.

Am I screwed? Anyone with similar issues? Any advice and experience appreciated.



I am confused about your statement highlighted in red. The moral character application does ask about some of the issues you have discussed here.


You have to disclose arrests and driving suspensions. Why did you wait 5 years? The bills are a problem, and the movie theater hopping thing is also a a huge problem--shows a serious lapse in judgment over something petty. So, in a word, yes. You're screwed. Hire an attorney.

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby QContinuum » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:18 pm

InterAlia1961 wrote:You have to disclose arrests and driving suspensions. Why did you wait 5 years? The bills are a problem, and the movie theater hopping thing is also a a huge problem--shows a serious lapse in judgment over something petty. So, in a word, yes. You're screwed. Hire an attorney.

I reviewed the CA questions again just last night, and apparently arrests that don't result in conviction need not be disclosed, so long as the case is closed (e.g., if A was arrested last week and is now out on bail, then that arrest needs to be disclosed; but if B was arrested a year ago and no charges were ever filed, or B went to trial and the government was unable to secure a conviction due to a mistrial, and B was not retried, then that arrest need not be disclosed).

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:31 pm

QContinuum wrote:
InterAlia1961 wrote:You have to disclose arrests and driving suspensions. Why did you wait 5 years? The bills are a problem, and the movie theater hopping thing is also a a huge problem--shows a serious lapse in judgment over something petty. So, in a word, yes. You're screwed. Hire an attorney.

I reviewed the CA questions again just last night, and apparently arrests that don't result in conviction need not be disclosed, so long as the case is closed (e.g., if A was arrested last week and is now out on bail, then that arrest needs to be disclosed; but if B was arrested a year ago and no charges were ever filed, or B went to trial and the government was unable to secure a conviction due to a mistrial, and B was not retried, then that arrest need not be disclosed).


Good to know. But I promise, if there's some sort of issue that brings an invitation to the informal conference, the applicant will be asked about the arrest. Great weight will be given to the arresting officer's report. If the arrestee behaved poorly, it'll come up. The Committee takes disrespect towards law enforcement very seriously. If it were just an arrest, it might be fine. But dude's got all sorts of other problems on top of it.

worriedgrad

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby worriedgrad » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:44 pm

Ok good news. I got some legal advice today from an SF C & F attorney. I am going to submit an addendum disclosing the arrest. Everything else I will leave be because it is unlikely to come up or create any issues, and if it does it will not be a problem to address at that time. The attorney I spoke with does not think I will have much trouble getting a positive determination, but expects it will take longer than average. He also thought it was unlikely I'd have to go through an informal conference, but says there is a chance I will have to respond to written questions. I will definitely retain him to help me further if that is the case.

Thanks again for the advice everyone. I am feeling much better.

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby rcharter1978 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:32 pm

worriedgrad wrote:Ok good news. I got some legal advice today from an SF C & F attorney. I am going to submit an addendum disclosing the arrest. Everything else I will leave be because it is unlikely to come up or create any issues, and if it does it will not be a problem to address at that time. The attorney I spoke with does not think I will have much trouble getting a positive determination, but expects it will take longer than average. He also thought it was unlikely I'd have to go through an informal conference, but says there is a chance I will have to respond to written questions. I will definitely retain him to help me further if that is the case.

Thanks again for the advice everyone. I am feeling much better.


Getting a c&f attorney is the best course of action. Good luck!

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby astrofan315 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:39 am

Hello everybody,

New to the entire process. Can anybody elaborate on the process of how the investigator contacts previous employers? Is it a guarantee every employer you list will be contacted? Are they simply sent a letter asking for verification? And any insight into what they are asked? I guess my over arching question is how much digging do these investigators do for information that is and is not on your C&F app?

Thanks in advance!

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:14 am

astrofan315 wrote:Hello everybody,

New to the entire process. Can anybody elaborate on the process of how the investigator contacts previous employers? Is it a guarantee every employer you list will be contacted? Are they simply sent a letter asking for verification? And any insight into what they are asked? I guess my over arching question is how much digging do these investigators do for information that is and is not on your C&F app?

Thanks in advance!


They contact everyone you list. It's a form, but, the employer is encouraged to volunteer information. That's what happened to the plaintiff in Delacruz v. the State Bar of California. One of his legal employers filled out the questionnaire, and then volunteered a bunch of really bad things about him. Even told the Bar that admitting him would cause harm to the legal profession. Google it. You'll find the whole story. It's a cautionary tale. Don't do what he did.

If you think there is any chance at all that a former employer is going to purposely try to tank you, be proactive. Explain any firings and frame it so you're not blaming anyone. Just the facts. If you're more than just nervous because of the process, hire a lawyer.

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:31 pm

InterAlia1961 wrote:
astrofan315 wrote:Hello everybody,

New to the entire process. Can anybody elaborate on the process of how the investigator contacts previous employers? Is it a guarantee every employer you list will be contacted? Are they simply sent a letter asking for verification? And any insight into what they are asked? I guess my over arching question is how much digging do these investigators do for information that is and is not on your C&F app?

Thanks in advance!


They contact everyone you list. It's a form, but, the employer is encouraged to volunteer information. That's what happened to the plaintiff in Delacruz v. the State Bar of California. One of his legal employers filled out the questionnaire, and then volunteered a bunch of really bad things about him. Even told the Bar that admitting him would cause harm to the legal profession. Google it. You'll find the whole story. It's a cautionary tale. Don't do what he did.

If you think there is any chance at all that a former employer is going to purposely try to tank you, be proactive. Explain any firings and frame it so you're not blaming anyone. Just the facts. If you're more than just nervous because of the process, hire a lawyer.



Do you have the State Bar court or CA Supreme Court ruling on this case? Looks interesting, but I can't find a ruling on the merits.

astrofan315

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby astrofan315 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:23 pm

That is very helpful thank you! So they dont necessarily call your previous employers or human resources...instead they rely on forms that are sent out to everybody you list askig for information around the circumstances of your employment? Is that correct? Thanks again!

kiwh

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby kiwh » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:22 pm

They send out a fill in the bubble form to each employer or entity that you have worked for that you list on the application asking several questions. There is also a space for additional comment from employers. They are not going to contact an employer that you do not list on the application unless something else shows up during the background check that warrants further investigation. Some background checks and SSN checks will list every employer and place you have worked. Also keep in mind that if you fail to list an employer and there is any gap in work history that is unaccounted for they want to know why and you have to account for this time.

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:39 am

FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:
InterAlia1961 wrote:
Do you have the State Bar court or CA Supreme Court ruling on this case? Looks interesting, but I can't find a ruling on the merits.


One of the members of the State Bar actually posted the first Complaint online. You can find it at Scribd. https://www.scribd.com/document/250791626/Delacruz-v-State-Bar-of-California Also, there's a couple of active Ninth Circuit cases brought by Delacruz. It's an interesting study. The Office of the Chief Trial Counsel called three-days worth of witnesses at this guy's hearing in State Bar Court. Arresting officers, former employers, former co-workers. They just tore him up.

I found Delacruz's cases by a Google search looking for information on procedure in state bar court. There are others out there as well, but this one is recent and ongoing. At the last meeting of the Committee of Bar Examiners, his case(s) were on the agenda to be discussed. So, they're not settled yet. But as far as I can tell. He has lost every step of the way.

It's interesting, but I wouldn't follow his course.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:41 am

astrofan315 wrote:That is very helpful thank you! So they dont necessarily call your previous employers or human resources...instead they rely on forms that are sent out to everybody you list askig for information around the circumstances of your employment? Is that correct? Thanks again!


Correct. Just make sure that if there is any possibility someone is going to take this opportunity to get even, get out in front of it.

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rcharter1978

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby rcharter1978 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:54 am

astrofan315 wrote:That is very helpful thank you! So they dont necessarily call your previous employers or human resources...instead they rely on forms that are sent out to everybody you list askig for information around the circumstances of your employment? Is that correct? Thanks again!


I believe so, which makes sense I suppose for a possible case of mail fraud were someone to lie. To me, it's the only thing that makes sense for paper vs. phone calls.

I called almost everyone in order to make sure I had the right dates and so they knew the paperwork was coming. I think having to mail back paperwork is ridiculous, because you're not only asking people to take time out of their day to fill out a form, then they have to find a stamp and I'm like the only person I know who regularly has stamps, then you gotta make sure to remember to get it into a mailbox....it's just a lot for busy people. There was one reference that I had to constantly follow up with, just to remind her to fill out the form and get it in a mailbox. It would have been easier to just return a phone call.

worriedgrad

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby worriedgrad » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:58 pm

:D :D :D Great news, I wanted to update you all. I just received a positive determination letter today. And it happened without me even sending in the addendum I was advised to! I am incredibly shocked at how quickly they processed my app. (I'm guessing my app may have been prioritized since I already passed the bar exam?) In the end none of my issues/concerns caused any hiccups or problems. What a huge relief. Thank you again to those of you who provided support and sound advice when I was freaking out!

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rcharter1978

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby rcharter1978 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:40 pm

worriedgrad wrote::D :D :D Great news, I wanted to update you all. I just received a positive determination letter today. And it happened without me even sending in the addendum I was advised to! I am incredibly shocked at how quickly they processed my app. (I'm guessing my app may have been prioritized since I already passed the bar exam?) In the end none of my issues/concerns caused any hiccups or problems. What a huge relief. Thank you again to those of you who provided support and sound advice when I was freaking out!


Congrats! I don't think they prioritize apps for candidates who passed the bar. I sent mine in after I passed and I nearly took a year. So good for you!

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Spoliation » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:03 am

worriedgrad wrote::D :D :D Great news, I wanted to update you all. I just received a positive determination letter today. And it happened without me even sending in the addendum I was advised to! I am incredibly shocked at how quickly they processed my app. (I'm guessing my app may have been prioritized since I already passed the bar exam?) In the end none of my issues/concerns caused any hiccups or problems. What a huge relief. Thank you again to those of you who provided support and sound advice when I was freaking out!


Congrats. When did you submit your application?

ReasonablePersonSSC

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby ReasonablePersonSSC » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:27 pm

My status on the new AIMS (Admissions Information Management System) is “Pending Internal Review.” I want to believe that means the background investigation is complet—does anyone know if that is true?

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:04 am

ReasonablePersonSSC wrote:My status on the new AIMS (Admissions Information Management System) is “Pending Internal Review.” I want to believe that means the background investigation is complet—does anyone know if that is true?


The new system does not display correct information. Mine says I was denied and no appeal was filed. The appeal was filed months ago. We're almost to the hearing. It takes at least six months for the investigation to be complete.

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby anon1245325 » Thu May 02, 2019 12:48 am

[/quote]

The new system does not display correct information. Mine says I was denied and no appeal was filed. The appeal was filed months ago. We're almost to the hearing. It takes at least six months for the investigation to be complete.[/quote]

While I appreciate the often helpful information in this thread about how the process works, I had to register after reading it to flag one thing for you guys - you realize that it's highly likely that people at the California Bar read or have read this thread? It's a public forum and anyone can come here. Some people in here are posting information that would make them easily identifiable and are also posting sometimes in a tone that isn't what you'd expect of someone appearing before the State Bar in this context.



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