Expunging or sealing records

questions & answers

Question: My brother was charged and served 10 years in prison for recieving and selling stolen property in MI. He moved to AZ to find a job 2 months ago and he is looking forward to going back to school to become a paralegal. Will he be able to become a paralegal and he can he become a lawyer? He has no record in AZ nor any other state. Any advice is helpful. Thanks!

Answer:

Presently there is no organization that specifically regulates paralegals or legal assistants.  It is up to the individuals hiring the employees to set the standards that they will use to judge the applicants.  This includes whether or not to hire an individual who has any sort of criminal record.

Attorneys however, are regulated by the Bar organization of their particular state and have to pass several steps in order to be admitted to the practice of law.  The most notorious of which is the bar exam, an extensive test based on law that varies from state to state.  Lesser known is the Character and Fitness portion of the admissions process.

Character and Fitness is an extensive background history of the applicant.  If an applicant wants to become an attorney they must honestly complete the Character and Fitness forms. Once the applicant has completed and submitted their forms a committee reviews the application.  If the committee finds areas in the applicants Character and Fitness that they are not sure about, they may ask the applicant to attend an admissions hearing or ask for more information on the area. The committee then determines whether or not the applicant has passed Character and Fitness.  If you do not pass Character and Fitness you are not eligible to practice law in that state.

This does not mean that a person who has a criminal record will automatically not be able to practice law.  The committee looks at a variety of circumstances before making its determination. However, it may make the process more difficult.

More information about Arizona's Character and Fitness can be found on the Arizona Supreme Court's webpage.

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • My brother was charged and served 10 years in prison for recieving and selling stolen property in MI. He moved to AZ to find a job 2 months ago and he is looking forward to going back to school to become a paralegal. Will he be able to become a paralegal and he can he become a lawyer? He has no record in AZ nor any other state. Any advice is helpful. Thanks!

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