C & F Killers

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3v3ryth1ng
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C & F Killers

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:49 pm

I'm sure this has been asked before, but I can't seem to find it via search function. Hopefully some of you have the insight I'm looking for.

Which offenses, types of offenses, or patterns of offenses, would forever preclude being able to pass the Character and Fitness tests for admission to the bar in most states?

Obviously running a Ponzi scheme or murdering somebody would disqualify you, but what about other less dramatic offenses?

Examples:

- Having a lot of bills in collections, and a history of not paying them.
- Being fired/asked to resign from a recent job for character-related reasons.
- Losing a leadership/administrative role, being demoted, for character-related reasons.
- Being diagnosed with depression/bipolar, or any similar condition, in the past.
- Academic dishonesty, including cheating, attempting to cheat, or helping others cheat, with or without any court involvement.
- Being expelled from a school as a minor for a rather serious offense (bomb threat, weapons on campus, hitting a teacher, hard drugs on campus).
- Other stupid things that reflect poorly on a person, but not as poorly as serious crimes like murder or high-level fraud.

The date and severity of the offenses matters, obviously. But at what point do offenses like those listed above disqualify you from ever passing C & F?

Additionally, what resources do the bar people have for checking on this stuff? What would the process look like? If something is off the record books, do they actually go in and investigate (interview people and whatnot)? What about offenses you may have forgotten about and have no way of researching? Would failure to disclose something like that be looked upon as an omission, even if it's minor?

I'm asking because one of the situations above applies to me, and most of them apply to at least one person I've talked to throughout this whole process. Please keep the trite "when in doubt, disclose" or troll comments to yourself because these are serious questions. Thanks!

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Gail
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby Gail » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:35 pm

First, I encourage you to seek out a lawyer. Before I even deposit to law school I'm planning on contacting an ADRC Lawyer (I don't know if other states have this equivalent or if this is just an Illinois lawyer. I can't find lawyers specializing in this anywhere outside of Illinois).

I'm not sure that they do anything as specific as an FBI Background check (although I'm not sure, a lot of bar applications have questions that would seem to be completely unknoweable without that). I do know NCBEX or whatever does the investigation. How they do this, however, is beyond me.

Pattern of events probably matter. If you have more than 1 DWI, I would think it could be very difficult without showing you've been in some type of alcoholic recovery program.

I'm going to go down the line with what I think. I know that this is probably the scariest part of taking the bar, so I hope by being longwinded it helps ease your nerves. Even though I'm just a 0L who knows nothing.


- Having a lot of bills in collections, and a history of not paying them.

You need to start paying them. Actively seek out some plan with your creditor to do this. This seems like a big one to me. But if you can look somewhat more competent with your repayment of your debts, I think you'll be able to swing it. Expect an interview though. They will not so simply just tell you that you passed C&F, you will have to explain.

- Being fired/asked to resign from a recent job for character-related reasons.

If for something like lying or harassment, this could be a real issue. You'll need a good explanation. If it was something like you touched a subordinate's shoulder and she filed harassment against you, I think thats easy to explain. If you're Jerry Sandusky, however, you have other issues.


- Losing a leadership/administrative role, being demoted, for character-related reasons.

Same as above.


- Being diagnosed with depression/bipolar, or any similar condition, in the past.

Depression isn't a big deal. Especially if it's in the past. It's usually about whether it currently impairs your ability to practice now. Not when you were 16 or 22 and fearful of the world collapsing on you.


- Academic dishonesty, including cheating, attempting to cheat, or helping others cheat, with or without any court involvement.

Big issue because this is dishonesty at the face of it. If it was once, I think you can explain it. But there's a continuum. Cheating on your LSAT, for example, is big. Sharing answers on a homework assignment is less big.


- Being expelled from a school as a minor for a rather serious offense (bomb threat, weapons on campus, hitting a teacher, hard drugs on campus).

Elementary to middle school is less of a big deal. But it will need explaining. If your record has been cleanish since, I think you'll pass.

- Other stupid things that reflect poorly on a person, but not as poorly as serious crimes like murder or high-level fraud.

If it's disclosed and you can express honest understanding that this is not the correct way to behave. I like your chances up to an appeal. It will still be a major headache though. I have nightmares about it and my record is relatively tame.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:45 pm

Gail wrote:First, I encourage you to seek out a lawyer. Before I even deposit to law school I'm planning on contacting an ADRC Lawyer (I don't know if other states have this equivalent or if this is just an Illinois lawyer. I can't find lawyers specializing in this anywhere outside of Illinois).

I'm not sure that they do anything as specific as an FBI Background check (although I'm not sure, a lot of bar applications have questions that would seem to be completely unknoweable without that). I do know NCBEX or whatever does the investigation. How they do this, however, is beyond me.

Pattern of events probably matter. If you have more than 1 DWI, I would think it could be very difficult without showing you've been in some type of alcoholic recovery program.

I'm going to go down the line with what I think. I know that this is probably the scariest part of taking the bar, so I hope by being longwinded it helps ease your nerves. Even though I'm just a 0L who knows nothing.


- Having a lot of bills in collections, and a history of not paying them.

You need to start paying them. Actively seek out some plan with your creditor to do this. This seems like a big one to me. But if you can look somewhat more competent with your repayment of your debts, I think you'll be able to swing it. Expect an interview though. They will not so simply just tell you that you passed C&F, you will have to explain.

- Being fired/asked to resign from a recent job for character-related reasons.

If for something like lying or harassment, this could be a real issue. You'll need a good explanation. If it was something like you touched a subordinate's shoulder and she filed harassment against you, I think thats easy to explain. If you're Jerry Sandusky, however, you have other issues.


- Losing a leadership/administrative role, being demoted, for character-related reasons.

Same as above.


- Being diagnosed with depression/bipolar, or any similar condition, in the past.

Depression isn't a big deal. Especially if it's in the past. It's usually about whether it currently impairs your ability to practice now. Not when you were 16 or 22 and fearful of the world collapsing on you.


- Academic dishonesty, including cheating, attempting to cheat, or helping others cheat, with or without any court involvement.

Big issue because this is dishonesty at the face of it. If it was once, I think you can explain it. But there's a continuum. Cheating on your LSAT, for example, is big. Sharing answers on a homework assignment is less big.


- Being expelled from a school as a minor for a rather serious offense (bomb threat, weapons on campus, hitting a teacher, hard drugs on campus).

Elementary to middle school is less of a big deal. But it will need explaining. If your record has been cleanish since, I think you'll pass.

- Other stupid things that reflect poorly on a person, but not as poorly as serious crimes like murder or high-level fraud.

If it's disclosed and you can express honest understanding that this is not the correct way to behave. I like your chances up to an appeal. It will still be a major headache though. I have nightmares about it and my record is relatively tame.


Thanks for the insight!

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danielhay11
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby danielhay11 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:49 pm

All of these are too broad to give a definitive answer except one:
Being diagnosed with depression/bipolar, or any similar condition, in the past.

As far as I know, neither law schools nor the bar may deny your entry for mental health reasons (provided, of course, these conditions don't manifest themselves in violent/criminal ways that would be reflected elsewhere in your C&F history).

In re the other scenarios you pose, I could list examples for each that range from "disclose and it'll be NBD" to absolute disqualifiers.

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:03 pm

Idk a bomb threat in middle school seems like a big deal. I think hard drugs on school property isn't a major deal - many people "grow out of drugs and partying". Threatening a bomb on a serious level at any pt of life screams organic instability to me, but maybe the bar is diff. Maybe I'd argue this was efore you took lithium to treat bipolar (is this the drug nowadays?), and can show you've been stable for yrs ever since. I doubt they're looking to actively discriminate against the disabled. They prob just wanna make sure you prob won't be a shit show.

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Bronck
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby Bronck » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:16 pm

danielhay11 wrote:All of these are too broad to give a definitive answer except one:
Being diagnosed with depression/bipolar, or any similar condition, in the past.

As far as I know, neither law schools nor the bar may deny your entry for mental health reasons (provided, of course, these conditions don't manifest themselves in violent/criminal ways that would be reflected elsewhere in your C&F history).

In re the other scenarios you pose, I could list examples for each that range from "disclose and it'll be NBD" to absolute disqualifiers.


Er, no... there are mental health portions of the C&F

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:21 pm

Bronck wrote:
danielhay11 wrote:All of these are too broad to give a definitive answer except one:
Being diagnosed with depression/bipolar, or any similar condition, in the past.

As far as I know, neither law schools nor the bar may deny your entry for mental health reasons (provided, of course, these conditions don't manifest themselves in violent/criminal ways that would be reflected elsewhere in your C&F history).

In re the other scenarios you pose, I could list examples for each that range from "disclose and it'll be NBD" to absolute disqualifiers.


Er, no... there are mental health portions of the C&F

I think there'd also be an ethical obligation to make sure lawyers are not walking around thinking they're Jesus. If I was framed for muder, and my court appointed attorney was a paranoid schitzo, I'd feel bad for him, but would also sue the government.

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Ded Precedent
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby Ded Precedent » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:30 pm

AriGoldButNicer wrote:I think there'd also be an ethical obligation to make sure lawyers are not walking around thinking they're Jesus. If I was framed for muder, and my court appointed attorney was a paranoid schitzo, I'd feel bad for him, but would also sue the government.

Great analysis, thanks for your contribution.





OP call the bar of your state and ask if they know of any attorneys who specialize in this sort of thing. And I think I saw a PDF on this site showing absolute disqualifiers state by state but I'm too lazy to look for it right now. http://www.ncbex.org/character-and-fitness/

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:35 pm

Anybody have any insight into the resources the ABA has for researching a person's past? I'd love to know exactly what they would find out, or have some idea.

For example, if I got fired for stealing from a job that was completely "off the books," and no official reports were ever made, and I never filled out a W-2, would they find out about that?

What about things that you may have been written up for that you completely forgot about, or didn't even know about? Is there a way for them to check all that? If so, is there a way for ME to check all that?

How about your online presence? Can they get into private accounts? How about accounts made on sites that you don't check anymore, or that are now defunct? (I think I made a Friendster account a decade ago, can't find it though).

Knowing this would be really helpful.

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Ded Precedent
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Re: C & F Killers

Postby Ded Precedent » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:36 pm





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