Can you become a defense lawyer after a felony conviction?

Early child abuse left me severely misdirected in my youth. On the wrong path I was convicted of assault & served 7 yr. in the clink. I turned my life around somewhat while behind the wall. But not before an incident where I had to stab a rival inmate in self defense. One yr. pryor to my set release, I was charged with the assault which carries a maximum of 10 yr. Unable to afford a lawyer & untrusting of the system, I hit the law library & studied 24/7 & chose to represent myself in court. It was a longshot which paid off. I was aquitted by reason of self defense. Now Ive been free for 2 years. Im taking several college courses & was wondering about entering the legal field. I thought this would be as good a place as any to get some insight & advice on this matter while maintaining anonymity of my horrific past.
Answer:   Every State has different rules for admission to their respective bar, so I do not agree with a blanket statement that you can't become an attorney after a felony conviction is necessarily true. In New Mexico, one requirement for admission is to be: a person of good moral character, physically and mentally fit to practice law. There are a number of factors considered, and a number of mitigating factors looked at as well. See http://www.nmexam.org/rules/rules103.htm... Nowhere do the rules of admission to the NM Bar explicitly state that a felony conviction is an automatic disqualification. What they do say is: A person who has been convicted of a serious crime as defined under these rules shall prove good moral character by demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the applicant is rehabilitated and satisfies all other requirements for good moral character. I personally know of attorneys who had criminal convictions prior to going to law school & they were admitted to the N.M. Bar.

I suggest checking the rules of admission for the various state bars of the states that you might want to live & review the requirements. It would probably be an uphill battle, but not impossible. The first hurdle, though, is getting admitted to law school, which will usually require you to have an undergraduate degree & a high score on the LSAT test. The better the grades you get, & the better you do to put your past behind you, I would think the better your chances are.

Good luck.
You cannot become a lawyer if you have had any kind of criminal past.
To practice you'll need to become a member of your State Bar association. This requires 1) passing the Bar exam (usually after law school - though some schools have exceptions to the law school rule) and 2) passing the Bar Fitness exam. The Bar fitness exam makes sure that you have the kind of moral character that a good lawyer should have. You should contact your state bar directly to find out what they require. I think a few states expressly deny admittance to the Bar to convicted felons - just as they do to people who lie on their law school applications about their grades, accomplishments, etc. But, I would call your local state bar and find out!
Contact your state bar. There are no laws that I am aware of in my state of Missouri that disqualify you from being certified to practice law. But it may be an uphill battle in getting employement and getting them to certify you.
First answer is wrong. All states require that you be of good moral character. There is a presumption that a felony conviction disqualifies you, but most states have a provision by which you can get individual review of the issue. A crime of moral turpitude would disqualify you, and a violent crime ordinarily counts as a crime of moral turpitude, but there are rare exceptions. You can research your state and see what they have done.
That depends on what state you live. Research all states and find out in wich one you can work as a lawyer. Another option is being a paralegal asssitant.
No, you won't be able to become an attorney with a felony conviction, especially if you've served a ten year sentence. The bar association won't admit anyone to the bar with a felony conviction.

It's great that you were able to turn your life around, but you can forget about being an attorney.


The Answers post by the user, for information only, FreeLawAnswer does not guarantee the right.
Answer question:


More Questions and Answers: