78 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 14 Sep 2016
Date Written: February 24, 2012
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 of 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. Examples include misleading statistics about recent graduates' employment rates and students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores.
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.
Keywords: U.S. News rankings, law schools, criminal law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Cloud, Morgan and Shepherd, George B., Law Deans in Jail (February 24, 2012). Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-199. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1990746 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1990746