Can a felon become a lawyer?

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2012

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Can a felon become a lawyer?

My boyfriend served 5 years in prison as a felon under charges of possession of child pornography. That conviction was almost 10 years ago. I know he would love to become a defense attorney. Are there any laws that say he cannot become one? I was wondering for his benefit how he could best approach this. He will be 30 years old later this month.

Asked on April 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The state bars of different states have different regulations with respect to who can be an attorney when it comes to having a prior felony conviction. As such, I suggest that your boyfriend contact the state bar of the state he ultimately will want to practice law in assuming he gets accepted into law school, takes the state bar in a particular state and then passes the state bar to see what impediment his felony conviction may have on him.

Some state bars will not allow a person who has been convicted of a felony to be a licensed attorney.

He might consider consulting with a criminal defense attorney to see if possibly he can get his felony conviction "expunged". If the conviction is expunged by a court order, then the felony really no longer exists. Not all petitions to have a criminal conviction expunged are granted by the court.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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