Having a criminal record does not preclude you from becoming an attorney. For inspiration, check out UC Davis School of Law alum Briana Zweifler’s story. The UC Davis School of Law has resources to help you.
KHOP – King Hall Outreach Program
KHOP is designed to equip high-potential undergraduate students from underrepresented
communities with the skills necessary to excel in the law school admissions process, while also introducing students to current law students, lawyers, and faculty members at UC Davis School of Law. The no-cost program consists of a series of full-day Saturday presentations and workshops throughout the winter and spring quarter/semester. During the program, participants prepare for the law school application process, gain insight into the law school experience, and receive exposure to a variety of legal fields.
Find a Mentor through #NJIBALaw
#NJIBAlawstudents, the law student division of the National Justice Impact Bar Association (NJIBA), offers mentorship and resources. UC Davis student Marcelo Lopez is national pre-law rep.
From the website: NJIBAlawstudents is a safe place for all formerly incarcerated or justice impacted prospective law students and current law students. Too often we have been marginalized and forced to contort ourselves to fit the desired goal and narrative that society has for us. Truth is we are different but our differences should be celebrated, not punished. As such, we created this organization to provide us a seat at the table instead of having to fight for one. Who better to advocate for us than us.
Applying to Law School and Becoming an Attorney
If you are interested in attending law school and becoming an attorney, we encourage you to reach out to Kristen Mercado, Assistant Dean of Law School Admissions at King Hall to learn about the process. It is advisable that you speak with a law school admissions counselor about how to properly frame your experience, to avoid complications in the future regarding having a criminal record as you work towards becoming an attorney.
Passing the Bar – Character and Fitness
An important part of becoming an attorney is passing the “Character and Fitness” portion of the bar exam. In the Character & Fitness portion, you must disclose all interactions with the law and criminal justice system. Your C&F disclosures must be consistent with your law school application information, which also asks about criminal history, because the State Bar will compare these records. In addition to law school admissions counseling, it is also suggested that you speak with Emily Scivoletto, Dean of Student Affairs to learn more about the specific hurdles formerly incarcerated students will need to be aware of when applying for the Character & Fitness portion of the bar exam.