Academic journal article Missouri Law Review

Law Deans in Jail

Academic journal article Missouri Law Review

Law Deans in Jail

Article excerpt

I.   INTRODUCTION  II.  CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS       A. The Federal Respondeat Superior Rule      B. Federal Guidelines for Prosecuting Organizations  III. FEDERAL CRIMES       A. Mail and Wire Fraud          1. Federal Jurisdiction         2. Substantive Elements             a. The Expansion Definition of Fraud            b. True Lies            c. Property Rights          3. Law Schools and U.S. News May Have Committed            Federal Crimes             a. The Importance of the U.S. News Rankings            b. LSAT Scores and Undergraduate Grade Point Averages            c. Part-Time Programs            d. Post-Graduate Employment       B. Conspiracy      C. Racketeering      D. False Statements  IV.  THE U.S. NEWS METHODOLOGY       A. The Absence of Probability Sampling          1. Sampling Bias         2. Unknown Imprecision         B. Coverage Error and Defective Sampling Frames         C. Nonresponse Bias         D. Missing Values         E. Inadequate or Unknown Sample Size         F. Methodological Flaws and Material Inaccuracies  V.  CONCLUSION 

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 o/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; for example, misleading statistics about recent graduates ' employment rates. 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.

I. INTRODUCTION

   I hereby certify that the information provided within is a complete    and accurate representation of this law school. (1)     [I]t is our responsibility to provide accurate information to our    readers, (2) 

A most unlikely collection of suspects--law schools, their deans, U.S. News and World Report (U.S. News) and its employees--may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News' annual ranking of law schools. The possible felonies under federal law include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed any of these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law their employers likely will be guilty of the crimes as well. (3)

For more than a decade, reports published in the news media, legal journals, and blogs have detailed the tactics law schools have employed to improve their positions in the annual U.S. News rankings, sometimes by manipulating or even falsifying data that the magazine has solicited from them. (4) These reports of the law school rankings scandals often link these acts to the schools' deans, and on occasion, individual schools or deans have publicly acknowledged their involvement. (5) U.S. News has admitted that it has continued to publish these rankings despite its knowledge of these schemes. (6)

These facts are neither new nor unknown. …

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