So you have some criminal history on your record, and you want to become a lawyer. Is all hope lost? Most certainly not! In fact, you can even become a lawyer if you are felon! There are some additional difficulties that will plague you throughout your career, but just because you have a criminal history does not mean that you can’t pursue a career in law. Depending on the severity of the crime, you will experience hardships in varying degrees. For a brief overview of what to expect when trying to become a lawyer with a criminal record, check out the following points.
1. Getting Into Law School
As an applicant with a criminal record, you are definitely going to have some explaining to do when you try to get into law school! You can’t very well lie about having been convicted of a crime in your past, and in fact, most, if not all, law schools will ask you if you have ever been arrested and charged with a crime. It’s best to just be honest about this and check the box and fill out the little box asking you to explain. However, if you really are dead-set on getting accepted to law school, you are going to have to go an extra step. Be prepared to write up a long paper about how you made this mistake, how it will never happen again, and how you have grown to be a more morally and ethically strong person as a result of your mishap. It would also be a good idea to request a personal meeting with a representitive of the admissions board of the school to explain, in person, your story.
2. Sitting For The Bar
If you have a criminal history, your state’s Bar Association may or may not let you sit for the bar exam. Some state’s have mandated that you are not able to take the exam if the crime occured within a certain period of time within the test date. Be sure to read up on your state bar’s policies. Like applying to law school, be ready to explain how and why you committed this crime.
3. The Character And Fitness Evaluation
This is the final evaluation of your moral character and fitness to practice law. If you don’t pass this, you are not able to become a lawyer. Like the other steps, you will be questioned intensely as to why you have a criminal history.
In all stages of becoming a lawyer with a criminal history you will need to be exceedingly honest, straightforward, and responsible for your actions. Never try and make it sound like you are some sort of victim who has been falsely accused – that won’t get you anywhere. Instead, admit that you have made a serious mistake but that it has only helped you improve yourself.
If you are able to successfully prove to the various committees that your past has not made your less eligible – in fact, you should convince them that the entire process has made you more eligible – then you will have no problems becoming a lawyer, even with your criminal record!