Potential admissions data fraud at Illinois


Paul Pless

The Chicago Tribune reported over the weekend that an admissions dean at University of Illinois College of Law has been put on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the fraudulent reporting of admissions data on the Illinois website. While the data does not appear to have been submitted to the ABA Section of Legal Education, this would still violate Standard 509 because it covers all basic consumer information, not just information submitted to the Section.

Above the Law reports that the investigation will be conducted by Theodore Chung of Jones Day. NonTradLaw reports that the dean is Paul Pless. Confirming this suspicion, Mr. Pless’s profile has disappeared from the Illinois website.

According to Charles Cooper from NonTradLaw:

We need law schools, we need new lawyers, but we don’t need vast numbers of uninformed, indebted, and unhappy law grads. And inflated stats, to some extent, draw in applicants who have no place in law school. This has to stop, at this point, it’s got to stop sooner rather than later.

He is, of course, correct. We expect this to reignite the discussion about auditing all consumer data. While the task will be very difficult and costly for employment data, admissions data would be extremely cheap to audit if the Law School Admissions Council were to cooperate. All ABA-approved law schools are members. Representatives of LSAC have said that LSAC is not interested in auditing admissions data, despite presently having the capabilities to do so.