October 12, 2011
Bar Admission Tip: Avoid Convictions After Law School Graduation
The New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department denied admission to an applicant who had disclosed a conviction for attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the third class. The applicant also disclosed a finding of academic misconduct in law school for "submitt[ing] a paper with insufficient attribution of sources." The Committee on Character and Fitness "convened a subcommittee to investigate [his] fitness to practice law."
At the hearing held by the subcommittee, the petitioner revealed another conviction for criminal trespass in the third degree. His explanation was that he followed his defense attorney's advice not to include it. The defense attorney denied giving such an instruction.
The subcommittee determined that he demonstrated a lack of character and was unfit to practice law. The full committee agreed. Here, so did the court. The court was particularly concerned that the convictions were for conduct that occurred after the applicant had graduated from law school. (Mike Frisch)
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