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If You Have a Criminal Record Can You Still Become a Lawyer in Michigan? (Pt 2)

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!

Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this discussion on what might seem like a ridiculous idea – becoming a lawyer in Michigan if you have a criminal record. But believe it or not, it’s true! As we mentioned in the previous article, it’s entirely possible to get your law degree and practice as an attorney in Michigan after you’ve been convicted of a crime. But possible isn’t the same thing as easy! So what exactly does the process entail? That’s what we’re going to break down for you in this segment.

How do you get a law degree, and a good job, after being convicted of a crime?

It’s different in every state. But here in Michigan, the process is extremely rigorous. Much more so than if you didn’t have a stain on your record. So what’s involved in being able to hang out your shingle and practice law in the Great Lakes State after a criminal conviction? It’s quite a long list, actually, and many people simply don’t make it. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Or that you shouldn’t try!

Here’s what you’re up against to get a law degree and become a lawyer with a criminal past:

  • First, you have to get admitted into a law school. That includes passing their detailed screening process. 
  • Next, you have to complete three years of intense study and a “weeding out” process to obtain a law degree, which is Juris Doctor degree. 
  • Your next step if you want to apply to take the difficult Michigan Bar Exam, is to fill out an application including an affidavit of personal history, which includes any pending charges, past convictions and even juvenile and expunged offenses. (And don’t even think about lying, or omitting anything here!)
  • Your application might be approved, but if it isn’t (which is the case for most people with a criminal record), it’s submitted for review to the State Bar’s Character and Fitness  Committee for a hearing. You would be subject to an in-person interview with a panel of attorneys. 
  • The recommendation of this Character and Fitness panel is then forwarded to the Standing Committee, which usually holds a formal hearing (a lot like a trial), where you’re given a chance to explain yourself, and evidence, along with witness testimony, is reviewed. The purpose of this process is to prove that you no have better judgment and good moral character.
  • The final decision is made by The Board of Law Examiners. This is a panel of legal experts nominated by the Michigan Supreme Court and appointed by the governor, who oversees the investigation and examination of people applying for admission to the State Bar of Michigan.

Your past mistakes don’t have to define (or limit) your future successes!

Being able to overcome a criminal past, whether it’s through professional success or even expungement, is always a bonus. But the best way to avoid having criminal charges and allegations affect your future, is to hire an excellent criminal defense lawyer. Someone who can fight to ensure that you never end up with a criminal record in the first place. And that’s where we come in.

Get the best to help you protect your future!

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our aggressive and respected criminal defense attorneys have spent decades helping the people of Michigan, by teaming up with them to create strong and creative defenses. We’re passionate about protecting our clients against false allegations, and against charges that could ruin their reputations and rob them of the futures they deserve. So if you’ve been accused of a crime anywhere in the lower peninsula of Michigan including Lansing, Howell, Grand Rapids, Detroit or Kalamazoo, call 866 766 5245 today and get help. We’re available 24/7, including nights, weekends and holidays.

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