In the blog’s prior posts, we discussed the importance of compiling evidence of rehabilitation, mitigation, and character in professional license defense law. In addition, we identified types of evidence of rehabilitation, mitigation, and character. In this post, we are going to describe some strategies you can go about in compiling this type of evidence.
Please note that this pathway is just a generic recommendation. It is really posted here as just a general reference or tool. If you are in need of an actual plan to prepare a professional license defense or a petition for reinstatement, you should consult with an attorney immediately. They will draft a more specific plan that addresses your situation and needs.
Our recommended pathway is as follows:
- Removing Self from Destructive Elements
- Treatment and Education
- Re-Creating Your Social Web
- Contributing Back to the Community
First, it is important to note that this is not something that you can just whip-up in a couple of hours. Not in any way, whatsoever. Rather, compiling this evidence requires a concerted effort over a number of months – if not years – to sufficiently demonstrate contriteness, dedication to the community, education, and trustworthiness. Remember – the licensing agency in issuing a license is entrusting the licensee with responsibilities and authority that exceed what an everyday citizen possesses. Thus, you need to overwhelm the licensing agency, especially if overcoming a prior criminal conviction or revocation of your license.
A good place to start is probably with a professional licensing attorney. Yes, this appears to be self-serving. However, professional licensing attorneys are in the business of helping their clients build this type of evidence. At least meeting with one, you will get someone who can provide salient advice on where to seek relevant evidence given your “blemish”. They also may already have contacts with particular rehabilitation organizations (e.g. for drug, alcohol, or substance abuse, or compulsive behavior), community service organizations, or educational outfits. They may even be able to put together a specific step-by-step plan of action, on a calendar, and schedule progress meetings throughout.
Mental health professionals and leaders of your religious organization can often substitute for an attorney in this counselor role. Close family, friends, or co-workers may not be the best person to fulfill this role, given that they might be the person contributing to the underlying problem.
Leave the Destruction Behind
After identifying your mentor and receiving your initial counseling, you will have to commit to good behavior. Before even getting started on compiling the evidence, you have to ensure that you will not engage in the offending practice that tripped you up in the first place. This might mean severing social ties with some individuals. This might mean leaving a job or business opportunity. This might mean picking up new hobbies and things to do with your free time. Whatever it takes, you need to make sure not to find yourself in the position of having to explain a second DUI or second shady business practice when seeking to re-gain or acquire your license.
Treatment and Education
The next step is committing yourself to treatment and education. Treatment is usually best prescribed by medical and mental health professionals, however, others may be found through recommendation by your attorney, religious leader, friends, family, or co-workers. Profession-specific education can be found by visiting the relevant agency’s website (e.g. Department of Insurance) and reviewing their course catalog for continuing education courses. You might also be able to find courses offered by third party organizations (e.g. Kaplan Professional Schools) for your industry.
After getting treated and educated, a good next step is repairing the damage done. Most often, this is in the form of at least offering to pay restitution to any victim of your prior bad act. If you prior bad act created less definitive damage or was more of a potential danger (e.g. potential to defraud elderly citizens, etc.), then restitution could be in the form of making a donation to a relevant organization that deals with actual negative consequences your actions could have caused (e.g. Elder Financial Protection Network, etc.). In the alternative, you could volunteer time to visiting or volunteering on behalf of individuals who were injured – not by your potential dangerous activity – but by another who’s similar action did actually result in injury (e.g. victims of a drunk driving accident, etc.). Really, anything that you can do to specifically address the negative consequence society is trying to avoid by labeling your action as “bad”.
Re-Creating Your Social Web
The next step is creating a solid foundation. This might be by reconnecting to family and friends. However, it must be individuals who not only love you but are willing to do what it takes to support you, moving forward. Thus, it should be individuals who are willing to make sacrifices to their own behavior to ensure that you do not fall victim to a vice.
Beyond family and friends, your social web should include support groups, religious organizations, and volunteer groups. If possible, it should also include participating in relevant professional groups. This will keep you committed and connected to the community that you wish to re-join at some point in the future.
Furthermore, you need to get a job in your profession. While having lost or being denied a license does reduce your opportunity to acquire such a job, finding anything – even at the lowest rung – is key. The reason is that it shows that a member of your professional community trusts you. That notwithstanding the reason your license was denied or revoked, this licensed member of the organization still believes you can contribute to the greater of his, her, or its clients. And when you do reapply for reinstatement or modification, this employer may need to serve as mentor or monitor as you get your first step into the door.
Contributing Back to the Community
The final step is just getting involved. Meeting more people. After you develop a strong social web upon which you can rely, it is important to keep making connections. Keep finding people you can help and create relationships with. This can come through volunteering for any and all organizations. This can be done through creating a stellar relationship in your local community. Whatever it is you do, you want to ensure that when the time comes for you to try for your license again, that your pool of character witnesses will be deep and vast.