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  #1  
Old 04-17-2019, 09:06 PM
haskinsj99 haskinsj99 is offline
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Default Is Law School a Crazy Dream?

Is it a crazy dream for a convicted felon to dream that he can get into law school with a felony record? Is it crazy to believe that he can get his bar license with an extensive felony record?
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:55 PM
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Read the book "Law Man" from Shon Hopwood and you'll find that it's totally realistic and doable.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:01 PM
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It can be done. It is not an easy road. Law school is expensive. Not all law schools will accept felons. Once you have a JD, you then have to be accepted by the State Bar you want to practice in. Some states refuse to accept felons. I don't know the current list. Those that do, some require it be at least 5 years since your release. They look at the nature of the crime, how long it has been since the crime was committed, and that you are fully rehabilitated. Anything showing treatment, counseling, volunteer work, letters or recommendation.

That American Bar Association has stated, "The fact of a conviction, we have argued, is a matter to be taken into account, . . . A person’s conviction may be, but is not necessarily, related to the ability to engage in a particular trade or occupation."

Also, to be realistic, if you are convicted on fraud it's probably not a good idea to want to work in the financial industry.

Daniel Manville served three years and four months in jail for manslaughter. While he was in jail he studied the legal profession, earning two college degrees. After he got out he went to law school. He passed the bar, representing both prison guards and inmates in civil court cases and then taught law at Michigan State University.

Casey Mullen was arrested at the college he was attending - an addict and selling drugs at age 19. After 3 years minimum sentence, he went back tothe same university and eventually completed his BA, JD, and was accepted by the Pennsylvania Bar. He worked for a couple of big firms and then started his own criminal law firm.

There are some who are famous for having been ex cons and others we never hear about. But, as for the journey and how tough it can be, here is a really good article form the New York Times Magazine last year. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/m...-yale-law.html
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haskinsj99 View Post
Is it a crazy dream for a convicted felon to dream that he can get into law school with a felony record? Is it crazy to believe that he can get his bar license with an extensive felony record?

No, not crazy at all....and its doable:

DREAMS COME TRUE: Former inmate turns life around, becomes lawyer

From Inmate to Attorney: Dwayne Betts Nominated to Criminal Justice Commission


He robbed banks and went to prison. His time there put him on track for a new job: Georgetown law professor.


Go for it
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:34 AM
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your last link is about the book I mentioned above... real cool story!
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by haskinsj99 View Post
Is it a crazy dream for a convicted felon to dream that he can get into law school with a felony record? Is it crazy to believe that he can get his bar license with an extensive felony record?
The major roadblocks really occur with the character and fitness portion of the bar. They will look at the type of crime, with financial crimes and crimes involving dishonesty being the most difficult to overcome.

They will look at your rehabilitation since release from prison. You can't go straight from prison to law school to a law license - you need to demonstrate your ability to adhere to the rules, and to take steps to make sure you never offend again.

They will look at gang affiliations, especially race based gang affiliations. Overcoming such things may be more difficult than crimes involving dishonesty.

Assuming you perform well enough on a LSAT to gain admission to a law school, getting that character and fitness portion done in your first year so that you can appear before the bar and accept whatever conditions they apply to you is integral to having the shortest delay possible between degree and sitting for the academic portion of the exam. Do not lie or omit anything on that portion. Take responsibility for your past bad actions without blame of others. If you have a complex felony history (like charges as an adult at age 12 and then subsequent arrests later in life), you may need to hire an attorney to help you with licensing.

Oh, don't be delinquent in child support. Don't have any outstanding debts on your credit report. They will not allow you to sit for the bar if you are behind on anything.

FWIW, crimes involving addiction would probably be the easiest to deal with. It gets progressively harder the more convictions you have and as you move into violence, sex offenses, and of course financial crimes and crimes involving dishonesty. Kiting a check will come back to haunt you.

There are a few cases I know of where the bar of a particular state has said absolutely not. Illinois refused to license a man who was an avowed white supremacist - a guy by the name of Hale. They have pulled the license of others found to be holding racist beliefs. Others have been denied because of crimes and conduct involving dishonesty. A reporter who manufactured quotes and the like later went to law school. Though never convicted of a crime, he was not allowed to sit for the bar because of character and fitness.

Can a case be made for somebody who used to be a racist or who has a crime of dishonesty in the past to pass the character and fitness portion of the bar? sure. But it is going to be difficult, and having an attorney who specializes in professional licensing help you will be almost as important as understanding future interests and contracts of adhesion.

Go in with your eyes open.
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:51 PM
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You might look up Guy Hamilton Smith. He has an interesting story about trying to become a lawyer in Ky. He is on the registry & is an outspoken advocate now. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/commen..._a_law_school/


Also look up David Windecher. He is an Atlanta attorney that had a criminal past before becoming a GA lawyer. He was also on the CBS show Hunted. I know him personally & he is an interesting guy that is very easy to talk to. He is now big in criminal justice reform. https://davidwindecher.com/


I have reached out to both of these guys & gotten responses. You might try that too.
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