Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

Can a person with a class B misdemeanor charge ever become a lawyer?

joe.888joe.888 Posts: 5Registered User New Member
edited September 2010 in Law School
Please help. I have a kid with a class B misdemeanor charge (caught when he shoplifted a pair of shoe worths of $56) when he was 19 years old. With such a bad record, can he ever be admitted to any law school?
Post edited by joe.888 on
«1

Replies to: Can a person with a class B misdemeanor charge ever become a lawyer?

  • lskinnerlskinner Posts: 914Registered User Member
    I would guess that the answer is "yes." My sense is that if the conviction is for a felony or a crime involving dishonesty, then the applicant has a big problem. On the other hand, I believe that your typical "young and foolish" crime can be overcome if the applicant discloses it fully and candidly to the character committee. In a recent thread, I cited a New Jersey case which should give you some insight into how these things work.

    Regardless, your child should look into having his or her record expunged, which is available in many states a few years after the misdemeanor conviction.
  • sallyawpsallyawp Posts: 2,059Registered User Senior Member
    Even if a criminal conviction is expunged, however, it will have to be revealed on one's application for admission to the bar in New York, Connecticut and, I'm guessing, most other states.

    The following is the prompt from the New York bar application:

    "Have you ever, either as an adult or a juvenile, been cited, arrested, taken into custody, charged with, indicted, convicted or tried for, or pleaded guilty to, the commission of any felony or misdemeanor or the violation of any law, except minor parking violations, or been the subject of any juvenile delinquency or youthful offender proceeding? YES___ NO___. If you answer yes, state the charge or charges, the disposition thereof and the underlying facts. Although a conviction may have been expunged from the records by an order of a court, it nevertheless should be disclosed in the answer to this question. Please note that you should have available and be prepared to submit or exhibit copies of police and court records regarding any matter you disclose in reply to this question."
  • drusbadrusba Posts: 7,806Registered User Senior Member
    A misdemeanor conviction before going to law school generally does not preclude you from going to law school or taking the bar and becoming a lawyer (although law schools might consider it as a factor in admissions). However, in applications to law schools and to a state bar to be admitted as a lawyer, you will be asked about any prior convictions and a failure to reveal it on such applications will be considered an offense that would preclude you from being admitted to the bar and, if the decption is learned after you are admitted, you can have your license revoked. In other words, the misdemeanor will not, in and of itself, keep you from becoming a lawyer, but concealing the fact that you have such a conviction will.
  • lskinnerlskinner Posts: 914Registered User Member
    Even if a criminal conviction is expunged, however, it will have to be revealed on one's application for admission to the bar in New York, Connecticut and, I'm guessing, most other states

    I agree, but I think that as a general matter, it's better to have one's record expunged if possible. If I had a misdemeanor conviction, I would prefer to be able to put on my bar application that my record had been expunged.
  • KhmunKhmun Posts: 51Registered User Junior Member
    You should check with each state before disclosing it on an application. California, to my knowledge, does not require you to disclose it.

    "Any arrest, conviction or other proceeding the record of which has been ordered or is required to be sealed, obliterated,
    dismissed, or destroyed pursuant to Sections 851. 7, 1203. 4a*, 1203. 45*, 1000 to 1000. 11, 1001 to 1001. 11, or 1001. 20 to
    1001.35 of the Penal Code of the State of California, or Section 781 of the Welfare and Institutions Code of the State of
    California, or Section 11361.5 of the Health and Safety Code of the State of California, or pursuant to a similar statute of another
    jurisdiction w hich pr ovides in substance and effect that upon entr y of an order, such arr est, conviction, or other proceeding shall
    be deemed not to have occurred or that the person to whom the proceeding r elates, in answering any related question, may state
    it did not occur."
  • joe.888joe.888 Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    We feel much better now. I was worried that his mistake could ruin his whole life. Thanks again.
  • mssalesmssales Posts: 575Registered User Member
    It doesn't look good, but it won't preclude you from becoming an attorney. As a matter of a fact, contray to popular belief with the expection of like 6 states, a felony doesn't even "automatically" disqualify you.

    http://www.ncbex.org/uploads/user_docrepos/2007CompGuide_02.pdf
  • joe.888joe.888 Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    After I read page 10 of 60 of the attached document, I thought, as my kid is now 25 years old and has volunteered more than five hundred hours of community services since his conviction. his present character and fitness qualifies him for admission. I could be wrong as I don't know legal terms well. Please explain why you said it doesn't look good.
    Thanks for the help.
  • mssalesmssales Posts: 575Registered User Member
    Well primarily because it's a crime of moral turpitude.
  • GreybeardGreybeard Posts: 2,355Registered User Senior Member
    A single youthful misdemeanor charge ten years before admission to the bar is unlikely to prevent admission to the bar, unless its disclosure is required, and the applicant fails to disclose it.

    There may be a fitness hearing; they may ask whether whether he revealed the conviction to his employers.

    I once testified in a fitness hearing for an applicant to the bar with two shoplifting convictions on his record (the second of which was a felony, as he was out on bail for the first one when arrested for the second). They asked me whether he had concealed the conviction from our common employer. (I told him that I don't believe we had asked about criminal convictions in the interview process, but that he had volunteered to me that he wanted to clear up some personal problems before applying for admission to the bar.) He was admitted, by a 2-1 vote.

    There are several states where a felony conviction means you can't be admitted to the bar, absent a pardon from the governor.
  • mssalesmssales Posts: 575Registered User Member
    are there any states, where a pardon is insuffecient for admission to the bar?
  • GreybeardGreybeard Posts: 2,355Registered User Senior Member
    Not that I have heard of.
  • MathcountserMathcountser Posts: 770Registered User Junior Member
    How can a law school find out if your conviction is expunged???????
  • UT84321UT84321 Posts: 1,118Registered User Senior Member
    I'm thinking politics would be the way to go.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Posts: 16,387Super Moderator Senior Member
    When they do the thorough background check for character and fitness. It is best to disclose even if expunge than to not disclose and have it come up in the search. Nondisclosure even if it is expunged is a worse offense.
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.