The bar exam has a section involving the applicant’s fitness and character. If you have a criminal record, then you may worry that this will potentially impact your exam results and perhaps even get in your way of receiving your license.
The bar association uses this portion of the exam to decide whether an applicant can uphold principles related to ethical behavior among lawyers. Thus, it may help you to know what they look for when it comes to criminal charges from the past.
U.S. News discusses principles of ethical behavior among lawyers and how a criminal record may interfere with judgment. First, they will look at remorse. This is a show of actions or behaviors that prove you regret the actions leading to your criminal conviction, and that you have a dedication to changing for the better. You can demonstrate this through the donation of money or time to the betterment of your community.
Next, they examine accountability and responsibility. The bar association does not look kindly on people who attempt to hide their checkered past, rather than simply having upfront and honest discussions about it. Discuss your conviction openly, explaining what you intend to do or what you have already done to take responsibility for it. This applies whether you have an ongoing criminal case or if you have convictions from years past.
Finally, they look at rehabilitation. Show signs of recovery and proof that you have taken active steps to reach it. Explore programs that connect you with others sharing similar issues and programs that give you the chance to support your community in turn. These steps will help elevate your demonstrations of good character.