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LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Job
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Experience:  I have practiced law for more than a quarter of a century.
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Can a convicted felon become a lawyer?

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Can a convicted felon become a lawyer?
Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

While a felony conviction, in and of itself, will not automatically eliminate the possibility of the individual obtaining a license to practice law, it can in certain circumstances, and much depends on the nature of the crime and when conviction.

In many states a simply thing as a DUI can prevent you from being eligible to take the bar exam for 12 months following the misdemeanor conviction. Convicted 1st degree murders likely don't have much of a chance. Also, if the felony occurs while the individual is a minor, there may be a way to expunge the criminal record.

I wish you well.

Best regards,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am looking, in particular, at the state of Vermont to practice law. I'm 42 years old and able to expunge my record. I still have to attend University and Law School which I am able to do, so we're talking a few years down the road. I just don't want to start something I "can't finish" by being denied the bar exam or a license. Any elaboration would be appreciated. (conviction was petty theft 17 years ago)
Good morning,

The conviction of petty theft 17 years ago will not prevent you from obtaining your state bar license. About the only thing that might prevent it would be your lying about it if asked in your application to take the bar exam.

Go have the conviction expunged and continue on. You are good to go.

I wish you well.

Best regards,


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