Law school fined for providing false admissions data

July 25, 2012
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The American Bar Association sent a strong message to the University of Illinois College of Law Tuesday, fining the school $250,000 for submitting inaccurate information to the ABA through the association’s annual questionnaires of law schools.

The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the ABA voted at its June meeting to impose sanctions upon U of I. The law school intentionally reported or disseminated false LSAT and GPA statistics for the entering classes of 2005 and 2007 through 2011. False acceptance rates were reported for the entering classes of 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

An assistant dean for admissions increased students’ scores. The employee was a 2003 graduate of the school whose success in recruiting highly credentialed classes led to his salary more than doubling by 2011.

“No matter what the competitive pressures, law schools must not cheat. The College of Law cheated,” the sanction says.

In addition to the fine, the ABA publicly censured the law school and required that the censure be posted prominently on the home page of the law school’s website for two years; imposed a requirement that the law school issue a correct public statement; requires the law school hire a compliance monitor to report on data for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years; and ends an agreement that allowed U of I’s law school to conduct an early-admissions program.

The fine must be paid by Sept. 15 and the proceeds of the penalty will be placed in a designated fund used by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar for monitoring and enhancing compliance with data reporting and publication requirement standards by all ABA-approved law schools.

The ABA announced its sanctions on U of I College of Law Tuesday. The public censure wasn’t posted on the school’s website Wednesday morning.

The falsified data wasn’t discovered until a “whistleblower” brought suspicions to the attention of the University of Illinois in 2011. The law school has since implemented corrective actions, the sanction says.
 

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