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Is an individual required to disclose a sealed or expunged record to a law school (not the bar)?

Columbus, OH |

From what I understand, it is illegal for a law school to inquire about a sealed or expunged record.
ORC: 2953.33 asserts that an individual may not be questioned in regards to a sealed or expunged record unless the question bears a direct and substantial relationship to the position for which the person is being considered. Firstly, when applying to a law school, one is not applying to practice law, rather, one is applying to study law. Secondly, the Supreme Court of Ohio delegates the authority to admit applicants to practice law to the BAR examiners, not the law schools themselves.

Also, practicing law is a privilege, correct? According to ORC 2953.33 all rights and PRIVILEGES are restored to an individal whose record has been ordered expunged or sealed.

If practicing law is a privilege and all privileges are restored to an individual upon an order by a court to seal or expunge a record, I conclude that the BAR examiners cannot deny an individual a license to practice law if the record in question has been ordered sealed or expunged.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I would look at the wording closely to make my decision on whether to disclose. If you do want to become a lawyer ultimately you certainly do not want to fail to disclose on your law school application which will be disclosed to the bar examiners at some point. The veracity of your application could go to you fitness and character to practice. I hope that helps.


  2. The first thing I would recommend that you do is to talk to the grievance committee for your local bar association. They may have some insight on whether or not you will even be able to take the bar exam with you record. The bar examiner's are exempt from expungement and sealing meaning they can see sealed/expunged charges. Many schools are also exempt from this as well. To determine if you have to disclose or not you should read the question carefully. If it asks have you ever been convicted of a crime even if sealed or expunged then you should put yes. The Ohio Supreme Court does delegate the authority to practice law to the bar but they set the rules about what is required from a law school along with the American Bar Association in deciding whether the school you attend and the courses you completed qualify to permit you to take the bar exam.

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  3. There are many exceptions to the expungement statutes. Even if you successfully argue that the law school can't get at your record, the Supreme Court will see it when you have to take the bar exam. And if you didn't disclose it on your law school application, but you do on your bar exam application, you've got problems.

    Disclose everything.

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