College of Law facing internal investigation

The University’s College of Law is facing an investigation after reports were confirmed that the profile for the class of 2014 contained inaccurate information. Upon confirmation of these inaccuracies by the University’s Office of Legal Counsel, the information was taken down from the college’s website and other promotional materials printed by the College of Law.

Paul Pless, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid for the College of Law, has been placed on administrative leave, according to a press release Sunday. John Colombo, associate dean for academic affairs, has assumed these duties. Students and faculty in the College of Law received an email Friday evening from Bruce Smith, Dean of the College of Law, explaining the situation, including the administrative change.

“Pending conclusion of this review, Associate Dean John Colombo has been placed in charge of the office in the College that is responsible for the collection and dissemination of student selectivity data,” said Smith in an email, which was also signed by Richard Wheeler, Interim Provost.

The information in question includes median LSAT scores and GPAs of the first year law students, according to the press release.

University spokesman Tom Hardy said the inaccuracies were brought to the attention of the University’s Ethics Office, which decided the matter warranted further review. According to the press release, the Ethics Office was notified on August 26. The matter was then brought to the Office of Legal Counsel.

Both offices are leading the investigation, along with outside resources including Theodore Chung of the Jones Day law firm and Duff & Phelps, a firm “with expertise in data processing and forensic analysis,” according to Smith’s email.

“Mr. Chung is a well-recognized expert in conducting internal investigations,” Smith said in the email.

Hardy explained that the information on applicants, including LSAT scores and GPAs, is sent to the College of Law from a clearinghouse. The college then transfers the information to its own spreadsheets to use as part of its review process when the college is looking at applicants. Later, the information is compiled by a member of the admissions staff, Hardy said.

The investigation will analyze this year’s information and determine the correct median LSAT score and GPA of the class of 2014. Hardy said that if other discrepancies come up in the investigation, more information will be analyzed for accuracy, including the published information regarding profiles of years past.

“We’re going to be conducting an extensive inquiry to see whether or not there have been any other discrepancies that need to be addressed,” Hardy said.

The College of Law’s class of 2014 is made up of 184 students, according to enrollment numbers released last week. That number is 44 fewer students than the class of 2013, which had 228 new law students last year.