So I had a general question about my situation. I have already graduated with a JD from a top ranking law school. I have my diploma, but the state bar association found out that I had not disclosed a scholastic dishonesty situation in my undergraduate year. I was charged with colluding with two other students on a final exam, I appealed the decision, I was not found guilty or not guilty, the charge was upheld. I repeated the course and graduated from that institution. Due to bad advice from the judicial affairs committee from my undergraduate institution, I did not reveal this information on my application to the first law school, or the second law school I transferred to or the state bar application.
Since this matter was minor, the state bar association asked me to reveal it to both law schools. The second law school has given me a decision and has said “they will not pursue this matter any further”. Since I already have completed my degree and have taken the state bar. The first law school where I completed 33 credits has to have an administrative hearing to evaluate if they would have granted me, “an admission with this new disclosure and if they will put a honor code violation” on my record.
My question is, that I have a diploma from the second law school, they have stated they will not pursue this matter further. What can the first law school do? revocation of my degree? revocation of credits? honor code violation? how will this affect me? Do I need to lawyer up? I am very scared and confused.
I did fail to disclose this information but I have got in no other legal trouble or academic issues since this incident and have revealed everything honestly. Does anyone here have had a similar situation and what ended up happening?
I wouldn’t worry so much about the diploma as I would about admission to the bar. The character and fitness board is going to jump on you, and you’ll need a better excuse than “I lied because I got bad advice.”
I apologize, I mean, I am worried about the first law school putting a honor code violation or withdrawing my original admission or revoking my credits that i took there. Which will cause more grief and even more things to explain to the state bar at the administrative hearing.
I would check the school’s student handbook to see if it can revoke your credits. That would be an internal administrative matter unless it’s a state institution. I’m also going to report this thread so a moderator can move it, since you aren’t going to get a factual answer to this question.
Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, distressedjd. The General Questions forum is for questions that have factual answers. Your post is better suited for the In My Humble Opinion forum, where others can express their opinions regarding your question. It’s no big deal. I will move the thread for you.
Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion (IMHO).
I agree with RNATB. Your big problem is going to be with the bar. You’ve got four issues in their eyes…the original incident, the failure to disclose on your first law school application, the failure to disclose on your transfer application, and the failure to disclose on your bar application.
Whether or not the first law school dings your record doesn’t really matter at this point. The bar knows what you’ve done. I’m afraid you’re really going to have an uphill battle to get admitted.
Hire a lawyer who specializes with the bar in your jurisdiction. Since it was apparently on the transcript, the first law school knew about it and didn’t care. How you deal with the bar association is another matter. That requires someone who knows the rules and standards of your jurisdiction.
I apologize that I have no expertise to offer the OP, but I’m curious about his situation.
Is the bar generally so strict? I realize that collusion on an exam is a serious offense, but it was dealt with according to the institution’s policies, and the OP took the entire class over again, and has a degree from two institutions that don’t care to pursue it further. Should an (alleged) cheating violation in undergrad really be a serious obstacle to a professional law career?
Are lawyers and potential lawyers judged so harshly because it’s difficult to find evidence of any wrongdoing that if any shows up it’s assumed to imply much deeper dishonesty?
First of all, are there any schools that will do a retroactive denial of admission and actually claim that credits or degrees earned are void?
Second of all, to what extent can retrospective denials, in theory and practice, lead to cascading effects? For example, if I can dig up evidence that Joe, who currently has a PhD, should not have been promoted from kindergarten to first grade because he didn’t get his “clean cubby” certificate signed by a parent or guardian, can he have his high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, and all graduate degrees retroactively revoked and his transcripts and GPA wiped back to kindergarten? Yes I know it is ridiculous from a moral perspective - but can they do it? If this were common, you would expect to see it more - distinguished medical doctor is accused of having cheated during his junior year of high school - loses HS diploma, BS, and MD and now has to register for the GED and take introductory college classes while working at McDonalds.
Good point. I think there are two questions here. One is whether or not these kinds of irregularities can cause retroactive denial or revocation of credits or degrees. The other is whether the OP will be rejected by the Bar for ethical lapses, despite keeping his degree.
I have to ask - did the “bad advice” advise you that you were not required to reveal the incident because of how it was characterized and that it did not fall under the technical scope of the questions on the law school applications (e.g. that the law school application questions only covered incidents where you were “found guilty”, not cases where adjudication was withheld), or did it advise you that you would be stupid to reveal such an incident and that if you concealed it nothing would probably happen? I would think the first situation would be far more favorable.
Dishonest lawyers have the ability to run lives, our even end them… And very few lay people have the ability to spot wrongdoing… So yes. If you flip through your state bar’s newspaper you’ll see dozens of suspensions every week for trivial violations of the rules.
This. Or if you don’t, can you track down you gave you the advice and get him to write you a detailed affidavit stating why he told you what he did? Then grovel. Then hire a lawyer who specializes in this. Don’t tell more lies to get out of this lie. Be honest from now on.