Girls like you don't become lawyers.
April 28, 2008 8:18 AM Subscribe
Questions about character and fitness standards for bar admission. Are they going to let me be a lawyer?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (33 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm about to apply for law school, and I'm scared that I won't be able to pass the character and fitness part of the bar exam. I don't want to take on the student loan debt for a career that I'm not going to be able to have if I'm not going to be able to have it, but I really want to be a lawyer. Am I screwed? Is there something I can do or should be doing to mitigate it now? Should I even bother to try?
Things I'm concerned about (posting anon for plausible deniability):
- My credit is terrible. I have medical bills that are in collections from giving birth uninsured, and some stuff on my credit report that really isn't mine that I need to dispute. I also have some credit card debt that I'm actively paying down.
- I have a criminal history; I got arrested several times at protests when I was younger. I also have a petty shoplifting conviction from about that time.
- I have a large gap in my work history from when I was doing sex work. This was under the table work; I don't know if it would be worse for me to disclose it or to omit it and say that I was caring for young children at the time (which I was). I don't want to lie, but I am well aware of the stigma that sex workers face.
- I've been fired from some of the "real" jobs that I have had for cause, basically for screwing up simple stuff - no dishonesty or anything, but I'm sure it looks bad on paper.
- I have documented ADHD and have struggled with it in various areas of my life; this is in my medical records and my school transcripts, which are all over the place. I have had (and still do sometimes have) trouble following deadlines and being responsible. I got diagnosed as an adult, and I'm getting help and learning how to handle it now, but it's been a long hard road. Do they disqualify people with ADHD from being lawyers for being flaky or crazy?
I don't think I'm a bad person, and I do think I'd be a good lawyer. I've grown up and learned a lot since I made some of those mistakes, and I'm working on my problems. I'm scared that none of that is going to be enough, though, and I don't know what would be or what I could do to prove myself to them.
I've asked people this stuff before, and have recieved responses along the lines of "oh, it'll be fine, just disclose everything and don't sweat it," but I'm not at all sure that's true. Really? I'm afraid that everything about my history screams "not good enough," and the fact that former frat boys with multiple alcohol violations have been able to claim youthful indiscretion and get in does not reassure me; it's not unusual for people like that to be able to get ahead in front of people like me, in my experience.
I know that you all aren't the bar, but I thought I would see if any of the lawyers or smart people here have any thoughts, insight or advice for me.
Thanks for anything you can give, if you can.