Reminder: Aspiring Lawyers Should Not Engage in Terrorism

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I know bar-exam results don't come out until next month, but I'm going to go ahead and suggest that if you are now or have ever been a terrorist, you might want to make other plans anyway. The job market is tough enough as it is.

This is a follow-up to an item I first mentioned in 2009. See "No Getting Around It: Terrorism Will Not Look Good on a Resume," Lowering the Bar (Oct. 8, 2009). At that time, Parminder Singh Saini was hoping to be admitted to the bar in Canada despite the fact that in 1984, he and four others hijacked an Air India flight and held 270 people hostage for the next two days. The future bar applicant fired several shots through the cockpit door (while the plane was still in flight), wounding one of the crew members in the back. He later threatened to "start throwing dead bodies out of the plane" if his demands weren't met. Ultimately, no bodies were thrown, the hijackers surrendered, and Saini served 10 years in prison before being pardoned. He then used fake documents to get into Canada, but was later caught, and in deportation proceedings two separate adjudicators described him as exhibiting an "almost total lack of credibility and trustworthiness" as well as "a continuing ability and willingness to engage in unlawful behaviour."

On the other hand, his grades were decent.

In doing some research for a presentation recently, I checked up on this story and found that the Law Society of Upper Canada did in fact rule that Saini would not be admitted to the bar. The hearing panel said it was concerned by "the seriousness of the crime of hijacking, the deception after landing in Canada and the fact that he is still being described [by the Canadian government] as a person of danger." (Is that anything like a "dangerous person"? They sound a little like they're trying to be politically correct about it.) While Saini did apparently get people to write character references for him, according to the report he "never fully revealed his leadership role" in the hijacking to those people. That is another hit to his credibility, I guess, although I'm not sure his particular role on the hijacking team should make a big difference. Saini was deported to India in January 2010, and a motion to allow him to come back was, even less surprisingly, denied a month later.

It's entirely possible, of course, that he's now working for the TSA, but he ain't practicing law in Canada.