Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation  (Read 28541 times)

WheelsUp

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2009, 11:40:50 PM »
LawDog has a point. This is a huge deal. And you've got to protect your future career. Think about how much you've invested into your education to get to this point. But the big question is this: how helpful will your boss be in overcoming this problem? If the amount of help your boss offered for the LOR is any indication, he might not be willing to stick his neck out there for you.

TTom

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 130
    • View Profile
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2009, 03:27:08 PM »
LawDog & Wheels,

Even IF nola's boss was completely cool with nola just making up a letter and forging his name to it, that doesn't make it any better. It's still terrible judgment.

And some of your suggestions about how to "correct" the situation are no better. Are you really suggesting that nola's boss should lie to LSAC and say that everything nola did was authorized? Because that's what it sounds like you're suggesting.

I thought nola's judgment was awful but your guys' judgment is pretty poor as well.

Bottom line, nola should own up to what he/she did. No more lies. No more stories. No more trying to get out of it.

It's disgusting that you two would even want someone who committed such a despicable action to get out of the consequences by piling more crap on the pile.

EarlCat

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2533
  • i'm in ur LSAT blowin' ur curve
    • AOL Instant Messenger - EarlCat78
    • View Profile
    • EarlDoesLSAT.com
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2009, 03:39:09 PM »
Are you really suggesting that nola's boss should lie to LSAC and say that everything nola did was authorized?

What's wrong with the one person capable of authorizing the action authorizing it?  I mean, I don't know what kind of attorney would authorize an employee to sign the attorney's name, but if that's what he did...

LawDog3

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2009, 03:44:36 PM »
LawDog & Wheels,

Even IF nola's boss was completely cool with nola just making up a letter and forging his name to it, that doesn't make it any better. It's still terrible judgment.

And some of your suggestions about how to "correct" the situation are no better. Are you really suggesting that nola's boss should lie to LSAC and say that everything nola did was authorized? Because that's what it sounds like you're suggesting.

I thought nola's judgment was awful but your guys' judgment is pretty poor as well.

Bottom line, nola should own up to what he/she did. No more lies. No more stories. No more trying to get out of it.

It's disgusting that you two would even want someone who committed such a despicable action to get out of the consequences by piling more crap on the pile.

I suggest you watch Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson in Changing Lanes. Let's see how you feel when you've got to defend a murderer in four or five years. Or a company you represent has falsified documents to get a government contract, just to cover a timeline because the original, legitimate documents got lost.

If he owns up to this, he's finished, because of the timing. He is at a juncture where he knows or should have known better. No law career. Submitting a false document to a major authority will mean the end of his potential career. The BAR, LSAC...they'll think, "Okay, this future Assistant D.A. will potentially falsify documents to get a person locked up." And maybe the OP doesn't deserve to go to law school. But that's for lawyers and judges and the LSAC to decide, not us.
 
You forget that his boss originally promised him a letter of recommendation. And, yes, he DID make a huge mistake in writing it himself.

The OP isn't even a very good criminal. He didn't even have the good sense to have someone else put their fingerprints on the stationary he mailed in and sign the letter. His prints were probably prominent, and that was a clue. The LSAC checks prints on stationary and envelopes, and everyone should know that. But prints, alone, don't catch a cheater, b/c he does work there and he has reason to touch the stationary. So they checked the signature and, low and behold, the handwriting matched his LSAT signature. A lousy criminal should stay a lousy criminal and just live an honest life. That's why there's hope for this guy. One mistake.

Plus, NOBODY in this game is beyond reproach. Lawyers lie...judges lie...clerks lie...law schools lie big time, sending in inflated stats to the ABA to keep their rankings...cops lie constantly. The people who lie least frequently and tell the smallest, least destructive lies are the ones we are willing to live with. But, at some point, YOU will LIE during your career. You will do something that another person can judge to be unethical or even illegal; it is a mathematical certainty. That's the society we live in. And no, it isn't acceptable, in the sense that we should just ignore it. But it happens.

You have probably had a job before. Have you never taken anything from the workplace that didn't belong to you? A pen? Paper? Wrongfully placed long distance phone calls? Spent company dollars in a way not intended by the company? Those are all technical examples of theft. And let me ask you this: Are you sure that you, and none of your friends, have not told your recommenders what to say in your letters? Technically, if that's the case, the recommender is not writing the recommendation alone; you are helping write it.

Some people would consider THAT dishonest...at least, people who have not told their recommenders anything at all. There are degrees of criminality...things aren't all black and white, and if you think they are, law school is going to change you. I have had one summer of law school "exposure" and I already think differently. What do you think happens after three years? Morally, ethically, you'll be in a place you don't expect, I can promise you that. Law = Mostly Grey. That's why it's so intersting.

Cut the guy a break. Many undergrad cheaters have made good lawyers. Many shoplifters have made good lawyers. Theives or liars can turn their lives around. I think the guy was extremely desperate, and I doubt he would ever try this again. But he didn't cover his bases. He should have advised his boss of what he was doing, so there wouldn't have been a surprize. His boss is an attorney, so he should avoid lying, but he CAN SPIN the situation. I AM SUGGESTING SPIN. As far a LSAC is concerned, the OP is a "criminal", but every criminal has a right to a defense. If you were his lawyer, what would YOU do?  

TTom

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 130
    • View Profile
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2009, 04:26:58 PM »
Are you really suggesting that nola's boss should lie to LSAC and say that everything nola did was authorized?

What's wrong with the one person capable of authorizing the action authorizing it?  I mean, I don't know what kind of attorney would authorize an employee to sign the attorney's name, but if that's what he did...

EarlCat,

The point is that nola's boss didn't authorize him to write a letter and sign his name to it. And, even if he did, nola shouldn't have taken him up on such an offer.

LawDog,

Your reply gave me a good laugh but that was about it. Thanks for playing.

EarlCat

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2533
  • i'm in ur LSAT blowin' ur curve
    • AOL Instant Messenger - EarlCat78
    • View Profile
    • EarlDoesLSAT.com
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2009, 06:45:48 PM »
EarlCat,

The point is that nola's boss didn't authorize him to write a letter and sign his name to it. And, even if he did, nola shouldn't have taken him up on such an offer.

It's controversial, but it wouldn't be the first time a party authorized an action retroactively.  And no, I wouldn't have taken him up on such an offer either, and I question the professionalism of a boss who would have offered it in the first place.  That being said, if the boss says he approves of everything in the letter and has authorized OP to sign his name, then give that to LSAC and whoever else and see what happens.

I have a hunch OP is screwed anyway.  Law schools have to turn down lots of qualified applicants each year... why would they turn someone down just to give OP that seat?

WheelsUp

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2009, 07:37:32 PM »
TTom, your response never really addressed the merits of my or LawDog's arguments. One thing that has not been refuted is that this is a first-time offense at the very start of the OP's legal career. Reform IS possible. And I doubt the OP will EVER do anything like this again. As I mentioned earlier, this is a very different offense than a seasoned lawyer who has been forging documents repeatedly.

Second, TTom, you have mischaracterized my position, and I believe LawDog's as well. Never once did we defend the OP. We both admit that what he did was stupid, unethical, and should never happen again. However, there are two sides to this issue. All I'm saying is 1) the OP made a big ethical mistake 2) reform is possible at this stage in the OP's career and 3) the OP deserves a vigorous defense b/f his whole career could be destroyed.

As a law student, I can second what LawDog mentioned. Success in law school (and ultimately the law) depends upon seeing BOTH sides to any situation. The law is rarely black and white. Now, I admit that the OP doesn't have too many arguments going in his favor, but he does have some, and he deserves a defense. I would NOT go so far as coaching the OP's boss to state lies. The boss probably wouldn't go along with it anyway. But if there is anything that the boss can say, so long as it's true, that can help the OP, then it ought to get out there. It's not our job to decide, as TTom has done, if the OP is worthy to be a lawyer.


LawDog3

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2009, 07:55:21 PM »
Are you really suggesting that nola's boss should lie to LSAC and say that everything nola did was authorized?

What's wrong with the one person capable of authorizing the action authorizing it?  I mean, I don't know what kind of attorney would authorize an employee to sign the attorney's name, but if that's what he did...

EarlCat,

The point is that nola's boss didn't authorize him to write a letter and sign his name to it. And, even if he did, nola shouldn't have taken him up on such an offer.
LawDog,

Your reply gave me a good laugh but that was about it. Thanks for playing.

Wait a minute. You're wrong. Many recommenders (including some very esteemed profs) ask the students to write their own letters. The recommender then edits the letter for vernacular, sentence structure and punctuation, but leaves the content/substance of the letter relatively untouched. He/she seasons the letter with some amplification and may remove or add a few thoughts, and voila! The letter gets sent. It's not unusual for students to write their own letters. The OP got into trouble when he signed it and apparently didn't let his boss know what he had done; it appears that his boss was completely taken off-guard by LSAC's call. And like I said, those fingerprints...

I bet people didn't even know the LSAC did that. This is one of the reasons they pull fingerprints at testing, so they can scan and cross-check. It's another piece of evidence.

This is complicated, but it's a good test-case. Is this an authorized letter or not? It depends on the boss. But I stand by my position. The OP deserves a defense, and he is innocent until proven guilty. If you love the law as much as WheelsUp does and I do, you have to hold on to those principles. We are merely strategizing as to HOW the OP can defend himself if a charge is filed. And the LSAC will have to give him a hearing if he chooses that option. They can't just railroad him; that's denying due process.

WheelsUp

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2009, 08:15:46 PM »
Yup, it's a very common practice for a boss/professor to have the student write the LOR. These are busy people who get LOR requests all the time. My boss didn't even make changes. He just read and signed. I see NO moral issue with that AT ALL. The professor/boss had ample opportunity to say, "Uh, I don't agree with such and such, let's change that." And if they don't agree with the LOR, THEN THEY DON'T SIGN THE DOCUMENT. Some people (for example, JFK's book Profiles in Courage) pay authors to completely write a book for them. Part of the deal is that the ghost writer will get no acknowledgment, and the book is to be passed off as the famous person's. Such things are quite common.

On a side note, LawDog, if you're right about the finger print test, that's crazy! I don't put it past the LSAC to run a fingerprint test. But there are certainly alternative explanations for why only the applicant's prints would be on the LOR. Again, I guess this brings us back to the original point, the OP deserves all possible arguments in his defense.

LawDog3

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2009, 08:25:34 PM »
Yup, it's a very common practice for a boss/professor to have the student write the LOR. These are busy people who get LOR requests all the time. My boss didn't even make changes. He just read and signed. I see NO moral issue with that AT ALL. The professor/boss had ample opportunity to say, "Uh, I don't agree with such and such, let's change that." And if they don't agree with the LOR, THEN THEY DON'T SIGN THE DOCUMENT. Some people (for example, JFK's book Profiles in Courage) pay authors to completely write a book for them. Part of the deal is that the ghost writer will get no acknowledgment, and the book is to be passed off as the famous person's. Such things are quite common.

On a side note, LawDog, if you're right about the finger print test, that's crazy! I don't put it past the LSAC to run a fingerprint test. But there are certainly alternative explanations for why only the applicant's prints would be on the LOR. Again, I guess this brings us back to the original point, the OP deserves all possible arguments in his defense.

Well, just remember, though, the print test would have to align with the other factors...inconsistent writing sample, same signature, etc. And the LSAC does see all of the other documents when you upload them...resume, etc. So it's possible something in the letter didn't mesh with his profile. It's also possible that the OP was just one of those random screens that get done, and he got caught. That's why I made sure my bosses and profs wrote my letters. I just couldn't risk it. Funny, I did replace the stationary at my job, and I made my boss put his pawprint all over the paper before and after signing it. And I made sure the secretary put hers on the envelope.

Tell me the OP didn't use his own paper, from his dorm room...lol...