Character and Fitness
Case Studies

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Sometimes a slight issue on the Bar Application can delay a future lawyer by months or even years. The following are real-life examples.
In undergrad, an underage student was found with an open bottle of alcohol on the top of his refrigerator. He was cited by campus police, and was assigned and completed community service. The student disclosed this information on his law school application and on his bar application, as required. It is appropriate to have done something wrong in the past, as long as you have resolved the issue and disclosed all the information. However, when he applied, he wrote the bottle in question was on his shelf. The school records showed the bottle was on his refrigerator. Any college student will tell you the Fridge is their shelf when it comes to space-saving techniques in a small dorm room. However, in this case, the slight discrepancy cost him ONE YEAR of an attorney’s income before he was cleared by the Board.

In undergrad, a student’s Fraternity Brothers stole a rival Fraternity's sign, as per tradition at the school throughout all the Fraternities. When they woke the student in question at 2am, to show him the sign, he told them to take the sign back, even offering to negotiate the return with the rival House Father. After the discussion, the student went back to bed, and the Brothers decided to not take the sign back. The undergrad Dean of Students cleared the student in question of any guilt, as he was not involved in the theft. When he filled out his application to law school, he confirmed with the Dean that he was not charged with a conduct violation. The entire story was disclosed on the law school application and later, the BAR application. Unfortunately, a $30 dollar fine was issued to all the Fraternity Brothers of the whole Fraternity (not just those involved) to cover the cost of the sign. Since a fine was paid, it was considered an undisclosed issue by the Board of Bar Examiners. The fine surfaced on the school records and cost the student over EIGHTEEN MONTHS of law practice, not to mention thousands of new classes of law students graduating as increased competition.

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