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If You Have a Criminal Record Can You Still Become a Lawyer in Michigan? (Pt 1)

A close up of two books in a stack next to a Judge's gavel, which symbolizes the law and the practice of being a lawyer.
Becoming a lawyer requires a lot of hard work. But when you have a criminal record holding you back it can be even harder. But not impossible!

The idea of someone being in a position to defend and uphold the law when they’ve got a history of breaking it themselves might seem somewhat ludicrous. After all, in most cases, the law itself doesn’t allow this, at least in a professional capacity. You might possibly be able to become a police officer or a court judge in Michigan if you have a criminal record. So it’s also true that you might be able to become a lawyer here in Michigan with a criminal record. 

Becoming a lawyer after being convicted of a crime.

But it’s not so easy to do, says Attorney Charles Kronzek. And he’s in a position to have a lot of expertise about that subject. Chuck is a panel member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Character and Fitness Committee. It is probable that a person with a criminal conviction on their record would be sent through “Character and Fitness” to see whether they have earned their way through past problems to the degree they can be trusted with a law license. 

Does Michigan have any ‘criminals-turned-lawyer’ practicing today?

Yes we do! A recent article in the Detroit Free Press shares the stories of several Michigan-based attorneys whose pre-lawyering lives include some pretty serious “youthful indiscretions”. Like Tenisha Yancey of Detroit, who was convicted of retail fraud, stalking, felonious use of a firearm, and vandalism. She served time in various jails in Michigan, before putting her past behind her and going on to get her law degree and even serving as a Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives,

There are several attorneys practicing law in Michigan with rough pasts…

Robert VanSumeren is another example of a criminal-turned-lawyer. According to the Free Press article, was recently sworn in by the very same Hillsdale County judge (Hon. Michael Smith) who had sentenced him to prison for Armed Robbery and Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery twenty years ago. And then there’s Daniel Manville, director of the Civil Rights Clinic at Michigan State University College of Law, whose fight to get a law degree in Michigan after being convicted of Manslaughter. His fight to gain a law degree, and go on to achieve phenomenal professional success, is a story that’s still talked about in law school lecture halls around the state today.

Don’t let a criminal record keep you from a great future!

Although this shows that it’s entirely possible to pursue a rewarding and lucrative career in law, despite a criminal record, the reality is not so kind for most people. Having a criminal record can keep you from getting into the school of your choice, from the jobs you want, and from the life you really deserve. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At The Kronzek Firm, our highly skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorneys have spent decades fighting to protect the rights of our Michigan clients and to ensure that they get the best possible outcomes in all their dealings with the courts.

That’s why the Kronzek Firm’s trial team is so sought-after.

For this reason, we’ve developed reputations as highly respected criminal defense lawyers who can be trusted to ethically do everything in our power for the people we defend. Which includes helping them avoid criminal records that can ruin their futures. So if you need to protect your future and you want help from one of the most highly regarded legal teams in the state, call 866 766 5245 right now. We’re here to help.

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