Character and Fitness question

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throwawaycandf
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Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 9:02 pm

Character and Fitness question

Postby throwawaycandf » Fri May 10, 2013 9:07 pm

Throwaway alt. Please don't out me mods. Also, please no quoting.

When I was 18 I was fired from a retail job for essentially using coupons to my benefit (having another cashier ring me up and use the coupons). Probably about 75$ over a year.

Is this something that would prevent me from passing the C and F section of a state bar? Maybe only some of the more strict states? And is it something I should disclose on my law school apps?

Thanks

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Tekrul
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Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:17 pm

Re: Character and Fitness question

Postby Tekrul » Fri May 10, 2013 10:45 pm

An example of a C&F field for law schools would look like:

1) Have you ever been placed on probation, disciplined, suspended, or expelled by any college or university for academic reasons or for violation of a conduct or honor code?
2) Have you ever withdrawn from a college or university after being accused of a conduct or honor code violation?
3) Are any disciplinary charges pending or expected to be brought against you?
4) Have you ever been arrested, charged with, or convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation?
5) Are any criminal charges pending or expected to be brought against you?


Application instructions require you to "[i]nclude all disciplinary actions, charges, or convictions, other than for minor traffic violations. If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, attach a detailed explanation giving dates, locations, the nature of the charge, the disposition of the case, and any sanction imposed. You must provide a complete record of all instances in which you have been arrested or taken into custody, or accused, formally or informally, of the violation of a law. Include instances that have been expunged by order of the court, as well as juvenile offenses, whether or not the records are sealed. You should disclose each instance even if the charges were dismissed; you were acquitted; adjudication was withheld; a conviction was reversed, set aside, or vacated; the record was sealed or expunged; or you participated in a pre-trial intervention program. If you have any questions about whether an incident or charge should be disclosed, we suggest that you err on the side of full disclosure. Failure to provide information is often more serious than the acts that gave rise to the sanctions imposed.

While your particular issue does not fit cleanly into any one of these questions (there are logical arguments you can make to weasel out of the question while answering it 'truthfully', I think it will be prudent to disclose it on a question that is similar to (4). The language of (1) allows you to walk away clean as the punishing party was not a college or university. (2) is unrelated and (3) and (5) are not applicable. If your employer sought no legal action against you, it is unlikely that you were terminated for theft, which is technically what you were doing (if I understand what you were doing correctly). You were probably terminated for something general like insubordination.

In general you want to err on the side of full disclosure as any discrepancy between your law school C&F and the bar C&F will be discovered and it will be problematic.

There are a few 'umbrella' terms that these C&F questions are focused on.

A) Academic Conduct
B) Social Conduct
C) Military Separation
D) Financial Conduct
E) Interruption in Academic Study

Your issue falls neatly under (B) and while there has been no legal recourse which is what the Social Conduct C&F seems limited to, you may run into trouble if you encounter a question that is not as limited at (4) was above and asks generally for any discipline or accusation in the academic or professional environment. This could lead to discrepancy in school to school applications and school to bar applications. This discrepancy is generally game over when (not if) discovered.

When in doubt, disclose.

Edit: I also had a C&F 'yes' on my application. Write a mature addendum and take responsibility unflinchingly, legs shoulder width apart, hands on your hips, head high. You are not the same person you were when you did what you did and you are given the addendum as a chance to confirm or dispel their fears.

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bearsfan23
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Re: Character and Fitness question

Postby bearsfan23 » Sat May 11, 2013 1:59 am

Disclose it obviously, but no it won't have any effect on your ability to be admitted to the bar. People on TLS grossly overestimate C&F standards. Very few people actually get dinged for C&F reasons, and those that do normally have pretty egregious violations. What you're talking about is pretty minor stuff

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TheBiggerMediocre
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:26 pm

Re: Character and Fitness question

Postby TheBiggerMediocre » Sun May 12, 2013 10:27 am

my high school once tried to charge me criminally but as soon as I called the police they changed their minds.

Not trolling just stating a perspective, usually prestigious institutions don't like calling negative attention to themselves and would rather resolve problems completely internally.
Last edited by TheBiggerMediocre on Sun May 12, 2013 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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minnbills
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Character and Fitness question

Postby minnbills » Sun May 12, 2013 10:30 am

bearsfan23 wrote:Disclose it obviously, but no it won't have any effect on your ability to be admitted to the bar. People on TLS grossly overestimate C&F standards. Very few people actually get dinged for C&F reasons, and those that do normally have pretty egregious violations. What you're talking about is pretty minor stuff


+1.

Just disclose

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Rory19
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Re: Character and Fitness question

Postby Rory19 » Thu May 16, 2013 1:38 pm

I disclosed a C&F issue, though it was academic/financial, and I feel as though my cycle was not negatively impacted. I did however upload a letter from the school describing what happened and the outcome. Is there any type of paper trail you can use for documentation? I felt much better knowing I had someone else corroborating my description of the issue. You can PM me for details if you would like.

throw-away-soon
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: Character and Fitness question

Postby throw-away-soon » Fri May 17, 2013 11:00 pm

I really hope you're joking.




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