To Attorney or not to attorney

I am not sure if I should use a clearance attorney for guidance in filling out the sf86. I recently was given a conditional job offer requiring ts with dos.

In short, 3 issues will need to be mitigated: bankruptcy, voluntary stay at psychiatric hospital/bipolar disorder, and marijuana use. All of these took place within the past 2 years, so I think it is an uphill if not impossible battle.

The longer version is that I was in a twelve step program with 15 years of sobriety and relapsed in May of 2017. The relapse only included marijuana and no other substances. Last use was Oct 2018 and no intention of use in the future. I am back in the twelve step program and know that regardless of this job/clearance that marijuana use is not for me.

During the same time period, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and experienced a long bout of mania. I decided to check myself in to the hospital at the encouragement of my psychiatrist. I followed the in patient stay with the recommended outpatient partial hospitalization program and after successful completion of that program, I followed their advice to get and maintain a relationship with a counselor.

The mania in addition to being out of work to complete the partial hospitalization program did a number on my finances which is where the decision to file bankruptcy came in. I filed in Feb of 2019 and the discharge was issued in June 2019.

Things I’ve done to mitigate all of this:
-continue to follow the medical advice of psychiatrist, and therapist.
-took a financial management course (in addition to the ones required for the bankruptcy) and have actively and aggressively been paying off the remaining debt-my student loan. I’m on track to be debt free by the end of 2021 and have no plans to ever take out debt again.
-continue involvement in the twelve step program to maintain abstinence.

I consulted with an attorney today and it looks like it will be pretty expensive and I’m not sure if I should go that route or try to go it on my own. Any thoughts?

Thank you so much in advance :slight_smile:

I expect that you are in a very tough position here. A attorney might be more valuable once you get denied and file an appeal. You almost certainly will get denied on the first pass. I don’t think that a lawyer helping you complete the SF-86 is going to accomplish except lower your bank account.

Go to google and look up “adjudicative guidelines”. Read through them carefully. See were an objective observer might find grounds to deny you and then look at the potential mitigating factors and see what applies.

The biggest mitigation for any issue is time. You don’t have a whole lot of time between you and these issues.

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Thank you so much for your thoughts. I have the same thinking, that not enough time has passed for these to be mitigated thoroughly. I read through the ajudicative guidelines last night and made some notes about things they list as mitigating factors.
I want to feel like I’m doing everything I can to get a favorable outcome, which is where the idea of consulting an attorney came in- but I suspect you are right- that it might be better to do that if and when I’m given the opportunity to explain myself/appeal.
I’m bummed with myself that after living properly for so long that this misstep will likely cost me the job, but at this point all I can do is move forward.