WA Can I become a lawyer with a criminal record

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26 April 2021
I'm now 60 yrs old and have led a clean life for over 20 yrs. I have some old convictions for dishonesty ie stealing and false pretences. They were all very minor offences and the penalty's resulted in iether small fines or one period of 12 months good behaviour. I have held very responsible senior positions over the last 20 years and have turned my life around. I have been accepted to study and only wish to do so to help fathers in a volountry capacity when I complete my study's. I have no wish to enter paid empoyment but just to help those who are having trouble negotiating the system in a difficult period of their lives. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated

Tim W

LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
Your question is in two parts.

The first is - are dishonesty offences a bar to admission?
Answer - often, yes.
Offences in that class can indeed be regarded by the board as conclusive, irrebuttable evidence of poor character.
Much depends on what you actually did (no, don't tell us any more than you have).

The second is - if you have spent convictions, will you be able to conceal (that is, not be required to disclose)
those offences to the Admissions Board?
Answer - Failing to disclose convictions, even when spent, may bring your integrity into question
in a way that even the offences themselves may not.

Two suggestions:

1. Write to (don't just ring) the LPBWA, and ask them about a thing called an early Declaration of Suitability.

2. Getting into uni to study law is less of a problem - most any uni will take your money.
But, getting admitted to the profession afterwards, for people like you, that can be separate hurdle.
Don't put down a fifty+ grand on a law degree unless you are quite certain
that your offences will not see you refused admission for lack of good character.

One further thing:

3. You won't be allowed to just go out and do. Even for no fee.
If you can complete a degree, and you can get admitted,
then you will still need to complete a period of supervised practice
before you can go out on your own.

Best of luck.