Criminal record

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nullcore
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:07 am

Criminal record

Postby nullcore » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:21 am

I have criminal charges resulting from a drug addiction which I've managed to overcome last year. I was charged with possession on 3 separate occasions, having 2 of the cases dropped. I plead guilty to a DUI in the 3rd case and received PBJ, with 5 years of probation.

Should I even bother considering a career as a lawyer? If it matters, I'd be applying to a T3 school and I have a 3.5 GPA as a Computer Science undergraduate.

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NZA
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Re: Criminal record

Postby NZA » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:35 am

nullcore wrote:I have criminal charges resulting from a drug addiction which I've managed to overcome last year. I was charged with possession on 3 separate occasions, having 2 of the cases dropped. I plead guilty to a DUI in the 3rd case and received PBJ, with 5 years of probation.

Should I even bother considering a career as a lawyer? If it matters, I'd be applying to a T3 school and I have a 3.5 GPA as a Computer Science undergraduate.


People from worse backgrounds than yours have become attorneys.

But given how recent the charges were (within the last year?), you might be a bit hosed. Take the LSAT and see how you do...?

ClancyTom
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Re: Criminal record

Postby ClancyTom » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:40 am

I'm no expert. But,

1.) Consider getting some work experience before going to law school. That will put some distance between you and your criminal / drug past and show that you've matured. Law schools will be willing to consider you if you've proven that that part of your life is behind you.

2.) Disclose everything. Tell law schools exactly what you've done and how you've learned from it. As long as it won't totally prevent you from passing the bar, you'd be surprised how little law schools care. On the other hand, if you have committed crimes that might endanger the student body (like sexual assault, battery, etc...) that shit probably won't fly.

3.) Why tier 3? Most people here will tell you that tier 3 isnt worth it unless you have a damn good reason. Aim higher. Get 170+ on the lsat. Seeing as how you should be getting some work experience right now anyway, that gives you a lot of time to study for the lsat. If you apply to law school with a 3.5, 170, that tier three school you were thinking about will give you a full-ride--EXCEPT you won't be thinking about it because you will be going to a tier ONE school fool.

4.) Don't apply to Washington & Lee or BYU or Regent... they play it straight. They aren't street enough for you.

5.) Good luck. Follow your dreams.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Criminal record

Postby Lawquacious » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:55 am

lol at the Clancy report above- very cool. You may want to also check the State Bar info for your State to see how they handle felonies (was it a felony? with that long on probation it sounds like it, but I thought DUIs could be misdemeanors too). Whether or not it is a felony, I think ultimately you won't have trouble passing C & F, but thats IF you stay out of trouble. If the record keeps repeating I think you'll at the very least be pissing in a cup every week (and at risk of losing your license) if they do let you take the Bar in the first place and you pass it.

One thing that really helped me was that I called around (and emailed) State Bars- I actually got really lucky and was put on the line with a guy who I believe was the chief C & F committee member for a State Bar who had an anonymous 'hypothetical' conversation with me about certain details I was concerned about (by half-way through the conversation he was like 'this is about you right'? but he didn't care and didn't even have my name). I didn't have arrests or convictions like you, but I def had (I should say have, because I def may still have some explaining to do) some stuff that could be a problem. The main thing he said was to try and document progress (treatment, and prob in your case basic compliance with probation among other things) and he said that the one 'kiss of death' in the C & F process is dishonesty. He made it sound like there is almost nothing you can get straight shut-out for if time has passed, you've dealt with the problem (or at the very least you haven't gotten in trouble again), and you are honest about direct questions.

nullcore
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Re: Criminal record

Postby nullcore » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:28 pm

Thanks for the encouraging replies. As long as there exists *some* avenue through which I can be admitted to the Bar, I will relentlessly direct my actions towards this end.

In terms of job experience, I have none relevant to the area of law in which I'm interested in practicing. I'm a software engineer working in the defense industry, a line of work that innately incurs a great deal of public trust. In other words, my drug addiction did not adversely impact my employment.

Is any of this relevant to getting into law school? Should I just wait, in order to put more distance between myself and my addiction/charges? Would a job more related to the legal profession even be that useful to my situation?

Let me add that I haven't taken the LSAT, but I got a 1510 on the SAT, with a 780 on the verbal section. I'm fairly confident I'll do well enough at least to meet the minimal admission requirements for a T3 school.

Again, thanks to those who responded. This isn't likely a question you often get asked here, so any advice offered is greatly appreciated.

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NZA
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Re: Criminal record

Postby NZA » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:40 pm

nullcore wrote:This isn't likely a question you often get asked here...


You'd be surprised. :P

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NorCalBruin
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Re: Criminal record

Postby NorCalBruin » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:48 pm

A few short notes...

1. If you like your job and you are happy with your compensation, don't quit just to get a job in the legal field. For one, it's unlikely that you'll find anything high paying, much less something which gives you relevant experience. In other words, you run the risk of not doing much more than being a secretary, runner, etc. Secondly, law schools will look more favorably on a job that you stuck with. Especially with your "criminal" past, keeping a job shows that you are a mature and put-together adult, someone who's responsible enough to keep their life in order. Unless you seriously dislike your job, I would keep it for the time being. You'll have lots of time to be a lawyer later.

2. The SAT only weakly correlates to your LSAT. The truth is, most people here just took the SAT without any preparation and did very well. It's that kind of test. The LSAT, however, requires much more preparation (for most of us anyway). You need to spend time learning strategies, getting familiar with the types of questions, etc. Failing to prepare is preparing for failure.

3. You should wait. It's too late to prepare for the February LSAT, and even if you could, it would be too late to put an application together and get into any school worth going to. Take this next year to study for the LSAT, get letters of recommendation, and research where you really want to go. Besides, your charges are pretty recent. You need to develop some space between who you are now and your past. The future can wait a little.

4. Please consider going somewhere other than a tier 3. Most people here will tell that it's almost NEVER advisable to go to a tier three school. You have a decent GPA in a tough major. If you ace the LSAT (170+), who's to say you couldn't end up at a top 20 school? Or a tier one school with a scholarship?

Hope that helps. Good luck.

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piccolittle
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Re: Criminal record

Postby piccolittle » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:55 pm

nullcore wrote:Let me add that I haven't taken the LSAT, but I got a 1510 on the SAT, with a 780 on the verbal section. I'm fairly confident I'll do well enough at least to meet the minimal admission requirements for a T3 school.


Please do me a personal favor and study for the LSAT. Hit 170+, and go T14. Do not entertain the thought of a TTT without the promise of an irrevocable scholarship that consists of a full ride, living stipend, unlimited sexual favors and a guaranteed job on the other side.

JMHO. :)




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