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GPA Addendum (And Explaining Absence)

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:17 pm
by Sneakers96

There is a huge differential (nearly 2 points) between my GPA during my Freshman/Sophomore and Junior/Senior years during Undergrad. I'm not quite sure how to explain it given that the reasons are rather personal/nothing to be proud of and I would rather not draw any attention to it unless I have to.

I was was a heavy drug user during my freshman and sophomore years and became addicted to opiates soon after. I ended up overdosing and subsequently I was pulled out of school during the first few months of my junior year to attend a Rehabilitation Clinic. I got sober and returned to school during the Spring Semester. I made up all my missed credits by taking summer courses and maintained a 3.6 GPA for the remainder of my time in Undergrad.

I have no criminal record (luckily) but my transcript will show that I withdrew from a semester. Given that there is nothing on paper to show that I ever had a substance abuse problem and the fact that I do not want to make this the topic of my PS, how should I go about explaining the absence and GPA differential? I don't want to be overly vague or lie but it's also not something I want to bring any unnecessary attention to.

Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Re: GPA Addendum (And Explaining Absence)

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:07 pm
by IExistedOnceBefore
Even though there is nothing on paper to show you have a substance abuse problem. You need to disclose it. If it ever comes out in any way during law school or character and fitness, you will run into serious problems and it will affect your ability to practice law. This isn't a "I smoked weed one time" sort of incident, this is an addiction. You also need to disclose you were in rehab, and show that you've grown. I would honestly consult with a C&F lawyer.

Re: GPA Addendum (And Explaining Absence)

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:30 pm
by rowingmyboat
If you are specifically asked by an application, you should disclose, but otherwise I don't think you need to.

Same with the character and fitness. The easy way to do this is to just look up the the character and fitness form for the state you plan on practicing in and see if they have any questions about substance abuse/counseling/withdrawing from school. Sometimes they will ask if a school requested you to withdraw, but if you did so on your own, you won't need to include it. If you feel like an answer is yes, maybe consult a C&F lawyer (better to find out before spending $$ on law school). You need to give truthful and accurate answers, but you don't need to go beyond the question asked.

As for the GPA addendum, I think you will need to explain it because of the withdrawal. I would keep this as simple and short as possible. You may want to phrase it as a leave for health or medical issue (if your insurance thinks rehab medical, I'm inclined to agree). You could also be vague and say you had personal difficulties which you addressed and successfully returned to school.

It might be helpful to your application and the C&F to take a few years to work if you are straight out of college right now. Law school will always be there.

Good luck and congrats on sobriety.

Re: GPA Addendum (And Explaining Absence)

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 pm
by Sneakers96
Thank you for the replies. I looked up the C&F inquiries in the state I plan on practicing in (see below).

"Because evidence of current or recent substance abuse is one of the "relevant conduct" factors about which the Board must inquire, you should be prepared to provide treatment records, as well as other records of incidents which were associated with the addictive behavior. The Executive Director may offer you the option to delay your initial character and fitness determination for a period of time. During this time you have the option to schedule a chemical dependency evaluation. The confidential chemical dependency evaluation report will be added to your bar application, which will allow the Executive Director to conduct a more thorough review and render a character and fitness determination."

I have been sober now for about 5 years so it's not really too current or recent. However, if I do disclose it to the C&F committee it seems that they can check that against my Law School Disclosures for consistency. Perhaps consulting a C&F attorney or admissions consultant is the best route to go.