Law Schools

Law student kicked out of one school gets a second chance at another

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A law student whose admission at one school was rescinded after the school claimed that he failed to fully explain the circumstances of a drug conviction is getting another chance from a different law school.

David Powers, who once attended St. John’s University School of Law, will begin attending classes today at Pace Law School, the New York Times reports. He had completed three semesters at St. John’s as a part-time student when he was kicked out. New York’s top court upheld the rescinded admission in April.

Powers is a certified public accountant with a master’s degree in taxation. When he applied to St. John’s law school, he disclosed he had formerly used drugs, was once pulled over by police after a drug deal, and he had pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

The guilty plea was actually to third-degree possession with intent to distribute, according to the April decision (PDF) by the New York Court of Appeals. He initially pleaded guilty to a more serious second-degree charge, but he was allowed to enter the substitute plea after completing inpatient drug treatment.

Powers will start as a second-year law student at Pace, which gave him a $25,000 scholarship toward $45,000 in tuition. Pace law dean Davis Yassky noted that 15 years had passed since Powers’ offense.

“I really hope it is the case that somebody who gets involved with drugs at age 20 or 21 isn’t condemned to spend the rest of their life with radically foreclosed opportunities,” Yassky told the New York Times. “We can’t afford to have people shut out from the productive mainstream.”

Updated at 11:56 a.m. to reword the lede sentence.

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