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The Impact of Past Violations on Your Law School Application


Navigating the law school application process can be daunting, especially for those with past infractions or violations looking for guidance. But stay positive! Law schools often consider the context and nature of past mistakes, and that’s where a great character and fitness addendum can play an important role in your candidacy. Many admissions committees recognize that applicants are more than their past actions and that people can grow and learn from their mistakes. So, let’s delve into nine common infractions that generally won't prevent you from getting into law school.

1. Reckless Driving:

While reckless driving is a serious matter, a single incident, especially if it's an isolated event in your past, typically isn't a deal-breaker for law school admissions. Ensure to demonstrate that you've learned from the experience and have since maintained a clean driving record.

2. Underage Drinking:

Underage drinking, though illegal, is relatively common among college students. As long as it doesn’t evolve into a pattern of behavior and there are no additional legal complications, admissions committees may overlook it.

3. Public Intoxication:

Similar to underage drinking, a single incident of public intoxication that shows up on your record isn't likely to be the sole reason for an admissions denial, provided it's not part of a recurring pattern of misconduct.

4. Theft:

Minor theft charges, particularly those that happened when you were younger and less mature, may not be a barrier to admission as long as you can show that you've learned from the mistake.

5. Disorderly Conduct:

Occurrences of disorderly conduct, which can sometimes stem from youthful judgment lapses, are generally forgivable by admissions committees if they are isolated incidents.

6. Plagiarism:

A cautionary note on plagiarism — while minor instances may be overlooked, significant violations can be particularly concerning as they strike at the heart of academic integrity. Always address any academic misconduct head-on and demonstrate how you've upheld integrity since.

7. Marijuana Use:

In light of changing laws and attitudes towards marijuana use, admissions committees may be more lenient, particularly when the use did not lead to additional legal issues.

8. Contraband Possession:

Minor contraband possession charges, especially if they are from the distant past, may not heavily influence the application process.

9. COVID School Policy Violations:

Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some allowances may be granted for minor violations of school policies related to COVID-19, as long as they don't reflect an attitude of disregard for public safety.


Your history doesn't have to define your future in law. While it's true that significant infractions can affect your application, law schools evaluate candidates holistically. If you have minor violations in your past, it's crucial to provide context, show remorse, demonstrate growth, and focus on your academic and professional achievements. Your journey to a legal career is about the whole picture, not just a snapshot of your past. Reach out to us today to learn how we can work together to prepare the strongest possible law school application for you!


Please note: While this blog can serve as a guide, each law school has its own specific admissions policies and considerations. It's crucial to be honest and thorough when disclosing past violations on your law school application and to seek advice on individual cases as needed.

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