WBI Weekly Digest

Happy October!

Well-Being Wednesday

Answering Your Character & Fitness Questions

If you missed last week’s "Meet LCL and the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners" lunchtime event, we’ve got you covered. Do you have concerns about character and fitness issues that might come up when you’re applying for admission to the bar? Don’t let them stress you out. Instead, get ahead of them.

When should you address your issues? As soon as you can. The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners (BLE) wants people to be proactive and is focused on conduct — particularly how likely you are to repeat your conduct. If there is a pattern of behavior, the BLE will want to know what you are doing now to address that issue. For example, if underage drinking leads to disorderly conduct and eventually a DUI, the BLE will want an explanation of how you will prevent this conduct from recurring. Their main concern is whether conduct is going to affect your ability to practice.

What do you need to disclose? For starters, your criminal, debt, employment, and litigation history. The important thing to know is that if you are being proactive and handling issues, boards will likely not be concerned. For instance, if you are steadily paying off your student loans, don’t worry. On the other hand, unfiled taxes and unpaid child support will raise questions. All that said, you should err on the side of disclosing information.

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) is here to help! They can walk you through requirements for disclosure. Be aware, though, that they can’t give you legal advice on your particular situation.

What other conduct does the BLE care about? Really, anything that affects your ability to practice. There does not need to be ill intent or a criminal aspect to it. Missing class for a month could be concerning for the BLE if there’s no explanation behind it. That’s why it’s best to be proactive and make sure you have documentation explaining these potential conduct issues.

What if I don’t plan to practice in Minnesota? You should look at the bar application for the jurisdiction in which you plan to practice as soon as you can. There’s a good chance there will be subtle differences in questions, and you will want to know how you can proactively address them.

What can I do right now? Get in touch with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers about getting ahead of these issues. The BLE will NEVER ask LCL for guidance on applicants and will NEVER ask if a bar applicant worked with LCL. LCL, to its own credit, will NEVER share information with the BLE. Your conversations with them will be completely confidential. Just be aware that this could differ in other jurisdictions.

Also, see below for the student-run “Character and Fitness” Wellness Group on Fridays. 

Most importantly, be proactive! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are concerned about access to resources and services.


NAMI Connections Group for Law Students

The NAMI Connections group offers peer-led support for law students living with mental health disorders who attend any Minnesota law school (UMN Law, St. Thomas, Mitchell Hamline).

NAMI Connection is a recovery support group for adults with a mental illness regardless of their diagnosis. (Aka… you don’t need an official diagnosis to join us). This group is offered free of charge and is led by trained individuals who are also in recovery – people who understand the challenges folks with mental illness face. 

Who: Law students living with mental illness (No diagnosis required) 

What: Peer-led support group!

When: 2nd & 4th Mondays of each month; 4:30-6:00pm

Oct 10, Oct 24, Nov 14, Nov 28, Dec 12

Where: Remote; https://umn.zoom.us/j/97566449394

Meeting ID: 975 6644 9394

This group is confidential. It is not therapy. 

Click here to see other NAMI Connection Groups offered in Minnesota. 

"Character and Fitness" Wellness Group

A student-run, safe, strictly confidential, judgment-free, casual support group welcomes anyone struggling with substance use or who is in recovery.

Who: University of Minnesota law students struggling with substance use or who are in recovery

What: Student-run, peer support group

When: Held every Friday at 12:30

Where: Mondale Hall

Hybrid meeting: Contact [log in to unmask] for room location, Zoom info, support, or other inquiries.

Let’s Talk 

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

Boynton Mental Health

Group Therapy at Boynton Health

Understanding Self and Others for Graduate Students 

Group Leader: Emily Price, PsyD, LP, (she/her)

Tuesdays | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. | September 20th - December 6th 

Understanding Self and Others for Black Students

Group Leader: Nomcebo Gugu Nkosi, LPCC (she/her)

Wednesdays | 1:00-2:30 p.m. | September 21st - December 14th

 To join a group, contact Boynton at 612-624-1444. All groups take place in Boynton’s East Bank Clinic.

Looking for a Therapist? 

Learn about the various types of mental health professionals and types of treatments available. 

Psychology Today Find a Therapist Search Tool

Fast Tracker 

Crisis Resources

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Sand Creek 24/7 Phone Counseling 

NAMI Ramsey County Book Club

Join NAMI Ramsey County on the first Thursday of each month to discuss books with a mental illness theme. Learn through compassionate conversation. See which book they’re reading at namiramseycounty.org/bookclub.

NAMI Educational Courses

NAMI offers numerous educational courses for a wide variety of audiences, all relating to mental health. Check out their current schedule to find a course that looks interesting to you! (Practically all the courses are free!)

WBI has created a Resources Page on our website where law students can always go to find support.

UMN Law Well-Being Initiative
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