Handling Disciplinary Addendums in Your Applications

Handling disciplinary addendums for law school applications can be an anxiety-ridden process for many, even if the event that precipitated the “disciplinary” action you are disclosing is not particularly embarrassing. You might be thinking, “why would a law school admissions committee choose me over someone with similar GPA/LSAT from an equally-respected school when I have this on my record?”

According to dozens of former admissions officers who have made these types of decisions in the past, things aren’t nearly as bad as they seem. The conventional advice is that you should err toward over-disclosure. This is not only the honest and ethical thing to do, but is also the best tactical decision that you could make in terms of the strength of your application. Sometimes, you can even spin a negative into a positive by showing how you have matured since your mistake, are willing to accept full responsibility for it, and have taken action to rectify any wrong that you may have committed. Just as law schools sometimes are impressed by an “upward trajectory” in your grades if you had a slow-start to school, they also can be impressed by similar evidence of personal growth elsewhere in the application.

The short story here is that you should disclose anything and everything that you even had a thought that you might want to disclose. If you really think that you have something that does not need to be disclosed, you should consult the advice of an admissions professional, such as our team of former admission officers at InGenius Prep. There is no substitute for hearing it from the mouth of someone who read thousands of applications containing such addenda and making decisions on those candidates. The InGenius team likely even includes som has had worked at the school to which you are applying who can give insider advice on how your addendum will be viewed.

This advice generally applies to all school applications, but is particularly important for law school applications in light of the fact that you will ultimately be applying for admission to the bar. The state bars’ character and fitness committees are extremely strict and will be looking for any type of discrepancy between your law school applications and your bar application. You do not want to have any skeletons in your closet. Start your legal career off the right way. Honestly.

For advice tailored to your particular situation, please contact the InGenius Prep team to sign up for a free consultation. If you haven’t already, you can check out the video of me walking you through the strengths and weaknesses of a sample disciplinary addendum here. Alternatively, if you would like help drafting your explanatory addenda, you can purchase our customized hourly service here.


About the Author

David Mainiero, Co-Founder and Director of Operations of InGenius Prep, is an experienced educator and academic and admissions counselor with over almost a decade of experience helping students unlock their potential and achieve their dreams. Having founded and run multiple and small businesses, David has a strong entrepreneurial track record.

He graduated from Dartmouth College Summa Cum Laude with Highest Honors in History with a focus on Nationalism in the Near East and was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Several years later, he earned a JD from Harvard Law School. To this day, he believes that the most important moments in his own education were learning with his peers during his time as a Policy Debater in high school and college.

David knows firsthand what success looks like and how to achieve it; his passion to help students discover their own passions and realize their fullest potential motivates him to travel all around the world to share his visions for educational access.