Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Law School Deans May Have Committed Federal Felonies, Conspiracy, Wire Fraud and Racketeering

Here's the abstract of a paper by two professors at Emory University School of Law, provocatively titled "Law Deans in Jail":

"A most unlikely collection of suspects - law schools, their deans, U.S. News & World Report and its employees - may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News' ranking of law schools. The possible federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents' crimes.

Some law schools and their deans submitted false information about the schools' expenditures and their students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. Others submitted information that may have been literally true but was misleading. Examples include misleading statistics about recent graduates' employment rates and students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores.

U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors." 

From the paper's conclusion:

"It could be that none of these acts are crimes. But the evidence of possible crimes is sufficiently compelling, the relevant federal statutes have been applied so expansively, and the harm done for many years to thousands of people has been so severe, it should not be hard to recognize the need for investigations by federal authorities to determine whether crimes have been committed. This is not a game."

HT: Fred Dent


At 3/13/2012 1:21 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

somehow, i suspect that suing a law school is no easy task...

At 3/13/2012 8:33 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

There could have been crimes, I would not know. Do institutions pump up their status by exaggeration? Yes, it happens at the best of institutions including corporations.

The fact that that the Emory Law School profs have called b.s., might be a function of their safe tenured status. The rating of Emory law has dropped at US News. I'm glad the the profs have called attention to this situtation, and we should all scrutinize institutional ratings with a more than a grain of salt.

At 3/13/2012 10:37 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Law schools are being sued for fraud actually:


At 3/14/2012 6:35 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Big education feeds at the trough of government largesse through state funding and student subsidised loans, then peddles there fraudulent wares through an equally complacent and corrupt media.

It will all be swept under the rug as agents of the ABA investigate the creations of the agents of the ABA.

At 3/14/2012 6:50 PM, Blogger Bill said...

An element of a fraud claim is reasonable reliance on the misrepresentation. I doubt these students will be able to prove that they, or anyone for that matter, reasonably relied on puffed up employment stats when any ninny could read the newspaper and see that law firms stopped hiring big summer classes by the end of 2008.


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