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Author Topic: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation  (Read 31157 times)

TTom

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2009, 09:18:52 PM »
Guys,

I have no doubt that many supervisors/bosses etc. have people write drafts of recommendations that they then edit and sign if they find them agreeable. This is NOT what happened. Nola's boss did not ask nola to write a letter.

My complaint is that a few people on this thread have offered advice on how to fix nola's problem in ways that involve deception. One person even suggested that nola's boss contact the LSAC and tell them that he authorized nola to write, sign and send the letter. Clearly, that's NOT what happened. More deception and unethical behavior is not the answer.

And as for the person who suggested I watch Changing Lanes, thanks for the absurd suggestion. Are you suggesting, for example, that if a client hasn't signed a verified complaint and the deadline for filing is coming that an attorney wouldn't be faulted for signing his client's name?

And I have a problem with people characterizing this as a "mistake." This was no mistake. It was both unethical, probably illegal, and a huge error in judgment.

WheelsUp

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2009, 09:46:42 PM »
I think we share some common ground here. The OP's conduct was all of the above: a mistake, unethical, and deceptive. TTom, you've quite vigorously covered why it's unethical and deceptive. I think mistake is also a fitting definition, because it was bad judgment and the wrong choice. Perhaps when I say "mistake," you think I mean to say "honest mistake." That's not what I mean. Ironically, you use virtually the same definition for "mistake" when you said, "a huge error in judgment" as a description of the OP's behavior. I don't really know what better word describes that than a "mistake."

As far as deception to cover for the OP's mistake, I don't support that. But, as LawDog repeatedly explained, I support any defense that attempts to spin the facts in the OP's favor. That's the center of the adversarial method. Each side presents the facts most favorable to their side. LSAC or the ABA, or maybe even ultimately a court-room setting will decide what they think is the "truth."

LawDog3

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2009, 11:24:26 PM »
Guys,

I have no doubt that many supervisors/bosses etc. have people write drafts of recommendations that they then edit and sign if they find them agreeable. This is NOT what happened. Nola's boss did not ask nola to write a letter.

My complaint is that a few people on this thread have offered advice on how to fix nola's problem in ways that involve deception. One person even suggested that nola's boss contact the LSAC and tell them that he authorized nola to write, sign and send the letter. Clearly, that's NOT what happened. More deception and unethical behavior is not the answer.

And as for the person who suggested I watch Changing Lanes, thanks for the absurd suggestion. Are you suggesting, for example, that if a client hasn't signed a verified complaint and the deadline for filing is coming that an attorney wouldn't be faulted for signing his client's name?

And I have a problem with people characterizing this as a "mistake." This was no mistake. It was both unethical, probably illegal, and a huge error in judgment.

No, I am saying don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. And, in Changing Lanes, Ben Affleck's character interviews a prospective associate who appears wide-eyed and altruistic. Affleck gives him the job, just to debunk his idealism. He tells his future protege to come back and try to spew that idealism after a few months on the job. And yes, you should pay attention to the circumstances surrounding the signing of that document.

Never say what you will/won't do until you're in a position to DO or NOT DO it. If you were in the OP's shoes, you might have done the same thing. He didn't write this letter out of the blue. His boss promised it to him. I get the sense that he had to keep pressing his boss for the letter, and his boss was just too busy to write it.

If that was the case, his boss should have either made time, let the OP write it himself or told him to go elsewhere. His boss did none of those things, so he should back him up on this one. Do you really think the OP should lose his career over a stupid letter?

I don't know if the OP's letter was responsible for getting him into school or not. But letters are rarely useful enough to sway a committee one way or the other, and I can guess that, given the choice, many applicants wouldn't bother to submit them if they weren't required. This is why GWU does not require letters.

Again, moral questions aside, what is the OP supposed to do? He has to mount some kind of defense or explanation. If he doesn't, chances are that he'll never be a lawyer, or he'll be waiting a very long time to reapply...like a decade or more. This could be serious.

What in the world do you think a criminal defense attorney does? What do you think a corporate lawyer does? They spin, they fib, they bluff, and they sometimes even "lie without actually 'lying'" (if possible); it's a fact of life. That's the sick thing about the legal field, we are supposed to be moral authorities, but, half of the time, our jobs are to make people believe almost anything but the truth. You'd better accept this ugly fact or your not going to be very effective. 

I do not condone lying; it's wrong. I do not condone falsifying documents. But once you have made your deal with the devil, you have to try to correct it and minimize the damage w/o losing your shirt. I sincerely believe this guy will never do anything like this again.

OP! Call an attorney, and then come back and tell us what he said. 

He's already been busted, so being honest won't help him...AT ALL. He needs his boss and a lawyer to defend him. 

WheelsUp

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2009, 07:33:12 AM »
"Never say what you will/won't do until you're in a position to DO or NOT DO it. If you were in the OP's shoes, you might have done the same thing."

"They spin, they fib, they bluff, and they sometimes even "lie without actually 'lying'" (if possible); it's a fact of life. That's the sick thing about the legal field, we are supposed to be moral authorities, but, half of the time, our jobs are to make people believe almost anything but the truth. You'd better accept this ugly fact or your not going to be very effective."

Absolutely golden tidbits. Well said. It's the schizophrenia problem of lawyers (i.e. moral authority/the dirt of real practice). And this schizophrenia starts right in law school. Law school teaches about ethics and how to be good little lawyers. Yet, at the same time, many schools will do anything to fib the numbers in order to manipulate the US Rankings. (See http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/28/baylor) This article reported on misleading data form one law school. It doesn't even cover the massive amount of deception that goes into employment statistics.


non parata est

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2009, 08:42:44 AM »
I've never been in a position to hide a guy's body after I killed him.  Does that mean I can't judge people who do that?
Quote from: Lionel Hutz, Esq.
Well he's had it in for me ever since I kinda ran over his dog... Well, replace the word "kinda" with "repeatedly" and the word "dog" with "son."

CTL

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2009, 09:31:46 AM »
I've never been in a position to hide a guy's body after I killed him.  Does that mean I can't judge people who do that?

 ;D

Oh relativism...you lose again. 

I just wanted to come on here to throw a couple tomatoes at the OP.  Go home!  Maybe you should go to business school and put those Machiavellian tendencies to good use.  I can then take you to the cleaners later...
If looks could kill, you would be an uzi.

CTL

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2009, 10:00:23 AM »
I've never been in a position to hide a guy's body after I killed him.  Does that mean I can't judge people who do that?

 ;D

Oh relativism...you lose again. 

I just wanted to come on here to throw a couple tomatoes at the OP.  Go home!  Maybe you should go to business school and put those Machiavellian tendencies to good use.  I can then take you to the cleaners later...

Should he start looking into wheelchairs and white cats?

Yes.  If he/she doesn't already have a facial scar, I would recommend he/she obtain one asap.
If looks could kill, you would be an uzi.

TTom

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2009, 11:31:17 AM »
Guys,

I have no doubt that many supervisors/bosses etc. have people write drafts of recommendations that they then edit and sign if they find them agreeable. This is NOT what happened. Nola's boss did not ask nola to write a letter.

My complaint is that a few people on this thread have offered advice on how to fix nola's problem in ways that involve deception. One person even suggested that nola's boss contact the LSAC and tell them that he authorized nola to write, sign and send the letter. Clearly, that's NOT what happened. More deception and unethical behavior is not the answer.

And as for the person who suggested I watch Changing Lanes, thanks for the absurd suggestion. Are you suggesting, for example, that if a client hasn't signed a verified complaint and the deadline for filing is coming that an attorney wouldn't be faulted for signing his client's name?

And I have a problem with people characterizing this as a "mistake." This was no mistake. It was both unethical, probably illegal, and a huge error in judgment.

No, I am saying don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. And, in Changing Lanes, Ben Affleck's character interviews a prospective associate who appears wide-eyed and altruistic. Affleck gives him the job, just to debunk his idealism. He tells his future protege to come back and try to spew that idealism after a few months on the job. And yes, you should pay attention to the circumstances surrounding the signing of that document.

Never say what you will/won't do until you're in a position to DO or NOT DO it. If you were in the OP's shoes, you might have done the same thing. He didn't write this letter out of the blue. His boss promised it to him. I get the sense that he had to keep pressing his boss for the letter, and his boss was just too busy to write it.

If that was the case, his boss should have either made time, let the OP write it himself or told him to go elsewhere. His boss did none of those things, so he should back him up on this one. Do you really think the OP should lose his career over a stupid letter?

I don't know if the OP's letter was responsible for getting him into school or not. But letters are rarely useful enough to sway a committee one way or the other, and I can guess that, given the choice, many applicants wouldn't bother to submit them if they weren't required. This is why GWU does not require letters.

Again, moral questions aside, what is the OP supposed to do? He has to mount some kind of defense or explanation. If he doesn't, chances are that he'll never be a lawyer, or he'll be waiting a very long time to reapply...like a decade or more. This could be serious.

What in the world do you think a criminal defense attorney does? What do you think a corporate lawyer does? They spin, they fib, they bluff, and they sometimes even "lie without actually 'lying'" (if possible); it's a fact of life. That's the sick thing about the legal field, we are supposed to be moral authorities, but, half of the time, our jobs are to make people believe almost anything but the truth. You'd better accept this ugly fact or your not going to be very effective. 

I do not condone lying; it's wrong. I do not condone falsifying documents. But once you have made your deal with the devil, you have to try to correct it and minimize the damage w/o losing your shirt. I sincerely believe this guy will never do anything like this again.

OP! Call an attorney, and then come back and tell us what he said. 

He's already been busted, so being honest won't help him...AT ALL. He needs his boss and a lawyer to defend him. 

This will be my last response and its pretty obvious you're never going to agree with me; I'm tilting at windmills.

But... the suggestion that I shouldn't judge the OP because I haven't been in the OP's shoes is absurd. There is a reason I'm not in the OP's shoes. I'm ethical and have good judgment.

You're argument boils down to this: You shouldn't judge people that are unethical and have poor judgment unless you're unethical and have poor judgment (otherwise you don't know what it's like to be in their shoes). This, of course, is pura mierda.

Once, again, thanks for the Changing Lanes suggestion. Do you learn all your life lessons from watching crappy Ben Affleck movies? Please, tell me, what did you learn from Gigli and Armageddon?

I'm done. 

TTom

ps If you think corporate lawyers and defense attorney's are allowed to "fib," you have a serious misunderstanding of the rules of professional conduct. You might want to check those out.

WheelsUp

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2009, 12:00:17 PM »
TTom, I'm sorry, but you've really strawmanned LawDog's argument. You've never really hit the substance of anything we've said. I don't want to speak entirely for LawDog, because he's quite good at defending himself. But here's what I at least think:

1. You really can't know what you would do unless you were in the OP's situation. TTom's response: I have good judgment. I would have never put myself in that position. I'm ethical.

Fair enough, but it is precisely because you never have been in the OP's shoes that you cannot say for sure what you would do. If you found yourself in a last second situation, and the only thing that prevented you from applying to law school was one LOR, and if you didn't get that LOR in you couldn't attend law school for an entire year, could you really say you wouldn't do something that the OP did? Especially given the level of comfort that you have with your boss in signing with his name? Again, you would argue that you would never be in that situation in the first place. But, for the sake of argument, let's say you're in it. And you've got to deal with it. You can't really know what you would do. As a future attorney, you will have to deal with compromising situations that your "good judgment" will not be able to avoid. You'll be in the thick of things, and I'd be interested to see in 10 years whether your ironclad character will be so apt to condemn other people.

2. The OP's legal career has only begun. Reform is still possible. After seriously dealing with the possibility of never having a legal career, I don't think the OP will ever do this again. If the OP repeated this, we have an even more serious issue, because it's indicative that the OP is not willing to change. TTom, you never responded to this argument, and it still stands.

3. The OP deserves a serious defense that uses everything at his disposal to present the facts in the most favorable light. I wouldn't go so far as coaching the OP's boss to tell lies. HOWEVER, if the boss read that letter and likes what he read, I don't see anything wrong with the boss telling LSAC,in effect, "Yes, this LOR is accurate and correct. I authorize this letter and have previously allowed the OP broad signing authority on all documents. If I wasn't so busy, I would have written something very similar." 

TTom is right in that you shouldn't use deception to cover for the OP, but I agree with LawDog in the sense that the definition of "deception" is very tricky business. This is a very mature understanding of things that requires legal experience to truly understand. TTom never really addressed this concept of how the truth can be a blur other than knocking LawDog's suggestion of seeing certain movies and saying that he has a "serious misunderstanding." 

TTom

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Re: LSAC Misconduct for Letter of Recommendation
« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2009, 01:02:30 PM »
TTom, I'm sorry, but you've really strawmanned LawDog's argument. You've never really hit the substance of anything we've said. I don't want to speak entirely for LawDog, because he's quite good at defending himself. But here's what I at least think:

1. You really can't know what you would do unless you were in the OP's situation. TTom's response: I have good judgment. I would have never put myself in that position. I'm ethical.

Fair enough, but it is precisely because you never have been in the OP's shoes that you cannot say for sure what you would do. If you found yourself in a last second situation, and the only thing that prevented you from applying to law school was one LOR, and if you didn't get that LOR in you couldn't attend law school for an entire year, could you really say you wouldn't do something that the OP did? Especially given the level of comfort that you have with your boss in signing with his name? Again, you would argue that you would never be in that situation in the first place. But, for the sake of argument, let's say you're in it. And you've got to deal with it. You can't really know what you would do. As a future attorney, you will have to deal with compromising situations that your "good judgment" will not be able to avoid. You'll be in the thick of things, and I'd be interested to see in 10 years whether your ironclad character will be so apt to condemn other people.

2. The OP's legal career has only begun. Reform is still possible. After seriously dealing with the possibility of never having a legal career, I don't think the OP will ever do this again. If the OP repeated this, we have an even more serious issue, because it's indicative that the OP is not willing to change. TTom, you never responded to this argument, and it still stands.

3. The OP deserves a serious defense that uses everything at his disposal to present the facts in the most favorable light. I wouldn't go so far as coaching the OP's boss to tell lies. HOWEVER, if the boss read that letter and likes what he read, I don't see anything wrong with the boss telling LSAC,in effect, "Yes, this LOR is accurate and correct. I authorize this letter and have previously allowed the OP broad signing authority on all documents. If I wasn't so busy, I would have written something very similar." 

TTom is right in that you shouldn't use deception to cover for the OP, but I agree with LawDog in the sense that the definition of "deception" is very tricky business. This is a very mature understanding of things that requires legal experience to truly understand. TTom never really addressed this concept of how the truth can be a blur other than knocking LawDog's suggestion of seeing certain movies and saying that he has a "serious misunderstanding." 

I can say, with certainty, that I never would have written my own LOR and forged the "writers" name. I don't need to be in anybody else's shoes to know this. Your claim to the contrary is absurd. I'm sure you can come up with some ridiculous hypothetical in which everyone would write and forge a signature - but this isn't the case.

Wheels, I appreciate your diplomatic approach, but there's no common ground here. Deception is not "tricky business." I wish you luck not getting disbarred.

TTom