Law maker or law breaker?
I am a second-year law student currently serving a two-year driving disqualification for drunk-driving. Could this conviction prevent me from becoming a corporate lawyer?
The Oracle replies
Unfortunately, it is possible that your conviction will affect your progress into law. In order to enrol on the LPC, you have to become a student member of the Law Society via the SRA (the body that regulates solicitors in England and Wales, and which rigorously assesses applications). The SRA's objective is to ensure that those it admits to the Roll have "a level of honesty, integrity and professionalism expected by the public and members of the profession". To this end, it has strict character suitability criteria which must be fulfilled. The problematic criterion for you is: "Is there confidence that the applicant is willing to comply with legal and regulatory requirements?" Criminal convictions mean you'll fail this test, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The SRA decides each application on a case-by-case basis, however, so you won't know the outcome until you actually apply. When you submit your application, you must include details of the conviction - add explanatory information you have to justify what happened.
One glimmer of hope however - when the Oracle published a similar question in 2011, it received a comment from an individual who had been in your precise situation but had disclosed it to the SRA, which went on to grant her student membership. She did advise submitting early however.
For further guidance or clarification, head to the SRA's website, where you can find more information and contact details.