Fudging Your Applications

A story broke yesterday about a University of Chicago Law School alum who got busted for fudging the grades on his law school transcript when he was applying for law firm jobs. Apparently, the complaint to the Illinois bar also alleges that he fudged his law school application materials by failing to disclose that he had flunked out of medical school.

I take particular interest in this story not just because I too am a UofC law school alum, but because, based on his graduation year, there's a very high likelihood that I admitted him when I was an admissions officer there.

Every year that I have been counseling applicants, multiple people ask me: "Do I really have to disclose that? How will they ever find out?" And my answer is always the same: "Yes, you have to disclose, first because it would unethical not to when it's a mandatory disclosure, and second because you might get caught."

Some people are very, very good liars, and it's hard for admissions officers to catch every lie, especially lies of omission. But this incident is a powerful reminder that one way or another, these things can come back to bite you. If these allegations are true, he might be disbarred.

Incidentally, some commenters at Above the Law are asking why he would have had to disclose flunking out of medical school when he was applying to law school. Law school applications require you to list every undergraduate and graduate institution you have ever attended, whether or not you received credit or a degree. You also have to submit all of those transcripts with your applications. Those disclosures are mandatory, not discretionary. For details, see page 22 of the LSAT and LSDAS Information Book.