For those of you who are in the process of completing your applications, you likely have already come across the character and fitness questions. These address a range of issues, from past traffic violations and more serious legal issues, to academic integrity concerns. All law school applications include them. Why? Because law schools are trying to assess whether applicants, who aspire to be future practitioners, have the moral character and fitness to practice law. As such, the law schools and LSAC require that applicants respond honestly to each question. Any non-truthful responses could lead to very serious ramifications, including being prohibited from taking the bar and practicing law!
Ideally, an applicant will have nothing that requires reporting. However, it is not uncommon for us to get the question: “Do I have to disclose X incident?” We will not offer interpretations of law school application questions, nor will we make determinations of what should be disclosed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to investigate his or her own history and provide accurate information to law schools. Generally speaking, you should keep this thought in mind: when in doubt, disclose.
For more information on Character and Fitness, you should check out the “Applying” portion of the PLAS website here for an overview. Better yet, go to the PLAS Compass page and watch our very helpful 5 minute video on Character and Fitness. Once on the PLAS Compass page, scroll down to “Application Pointers.” Click on that, then select the second item “Character and Fitness Presentation.” Once there, click on the Character and Fitness Video link. It is well worth your time, whether you are applying now or sometime in the future. Finally, if you have any questions on this or other pre-law issues, feel free to make an appointment with an advisor by calling our office at 333-9669.