I will frequently get asked by individuals should I even apply to law school? Sometimes they express their desire to become a lawyer, but l inform me of their past criminal, sometimes juvenile issues, problems with their finances, civil lawsuits, drinking related and also academic problems. Often someone has a combination of all of these issues in addition to other matters. They will tell me that they are concerned to spend the time, money, or energy in law school knowing that they could be denied Bar Admission to the State of their choice.
These are fair questions. Law School is challenging and requires commitment and focus. The cost of a legal education is high. I always try to gauge the prospective students’ desire and seriousness to practice law. I inform them that it will be harder for them to pass Character and Fitness with background issues. Like any good lawyer, I never guarantee any results but only offer my professional judgment.
Not only is Law School challenging, but the Bar Exam is as well. In addition to taking and passing a Bar exam required, all states mandate that an applicant must have the requisite Character and Fitness in order to gain admittance.
The Character and Fitness process is extremely detailed. A Bar Investigator/processor will strictly investigate and scrutinize an applicant’s file. The Processor goes beyond just verifying information. They will perform a detailed analysis to discover inconsistencies in the file and discover undisclosed information about the applicant. The Bar Investigator also requests character witnesses and other witnesses to provide relevant information regarding the applicant to determine their character and fitness to practice law.
I have helped countless students through the years with these types of issues. As I tell someone asking me whether they should even apply to law school, it depends on your passion and commitment. You will have obstacles along the way, but it is not impossible as long as it done the right way.