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A law school is measured by several factors in the annual USN&W rankings. The rankings seem a key way to attract bright students, attract funding & enhance the reputation of the Law School. One of these is using median GPA & LSAT scores of the incoming class.

Because of the increased emphasis on school rankings, the shrinking job situation & the declining enrollment, schools have increased pressure on them to show their school in the best possible light. This leads to actually fudging statistics to help the school.

There are now two cases of admission offices fudging GPA & LSAT scores of their admitted students. In Villanova’s case, it was censured by the ABA & in the case of U of Illinois, they are currently investigating the process. In both cases, the responsible party has been either terminated or put on administrative leave.

Having a law school fudge numbers runs against what the school was created for: To turn out the best lawyers, young people who are ethically bound, who will uphold the law, who will help people in trouble with the law. Where is the ethics. How can we expect the students to be ethical when the school is not.

The best of schools have a few bad eggs BUT they speedily investigate & punish the perpetrators. Top schools ask each student to sign an ethics contract & they are bound by it while in school. Having a systematic ethics problem at the schools administration is not good for the school, the profession or the people associated with the school.

To get back the reputation lost, the schools must go out of their way to root out the bad apples, be it students or professors or administrators. They must put checks in place to ensure everyone adheres to policy. They also need to lead by example by having all its employees be forthright. Finally, it must continue to emphasize ethics as a way of life. So that this kind of thing does not happen again.

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