American Bar Association / ABA, Law School Deans, Law Schools

Villanova Law ‘Knowingly Reported’ Inaccurate Information to the ABA

In a letter just released to students and alumni of Villanova University School of Law, Dean John Y. Gotanda admits that Villanova Law knowingly reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association, for years prior to 2010.

The school has conducted an internal investigation and has been independently audited by Ropes & Gray. In response to the investigation and audit findings, the school will reorganize its admissions reporting process, with the goal of implementing “a reporting system which is above reproach.” In addition, according to Dean Gotanda’s letter, “the University will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

Sadly, this is not the first scandal that has rocked the law school in recent years….

Dean John Gotanda is the new Villanova law dean. The previous dean, Mark Sargent, resigned under difficult circumstances.

Dean Sargent’s problems had to do with his personal life. Right now Dean Gotanda is dealing with a more important professional crisis. Regardless of what you say to prospective law students, you’ve got to be accurate in your direct dealings with the ABA.

It seems that Dean Gotanda is at least getting out in front of this issue. Below is his full letter to the Villanova Law School community.

UPDATE: There’s some additional information over at the ABA Journal. A Villanova spokesperson told the publication that “at this point it appears that [the inaccurate information] is limited to LSAT and GPA scores.”


Dear Villanova Law School Alumni:

I’m writing to update you on an issue of serious concern that Villanova University leaders and I are addressing swiftly and thoroughly. On Thursday, January 20, 2011, I became aware of inaccuracies in the admissions data reported to the American Bar Association (ABA) by VLS for years prior to 2010. The inaccuracies were discovered and reported to me by a special Law School committee charged with assessing and enhancing the effectiveness of our Academic Success Program.

Upon learning of these inaccuracies, I immediately contacted Villanova’s Vice President and General Counsel to begin a formal review of the matter. The University promptly began a comprehensive internal investigation and commissioned an independent audit by Ropes & Gray to determine the nature and scope of the reporting inaccuracies.

The internal investigation and audit findings showed that the inaccuracies were knowingly reported to the ABA by individuals at VLS. Accordingly, the University will hold those responsible accountable for their actions. The VLS admissions reporting process and organizational structure will be reconfigured as part of the University’s commitment to a reporting system which is above reproach.

In the meantime, I am working closely with the ABA, which is fully aware of this situation and Villanova’s committed response to it. All VLS functions are being carried out by experienced professionals to ensure smooth, ongoing school operations. The University has also confirmed that this year’s VLS admissions data are correct.

It is important for you to know that both Father Donohue and I take this matter very seriously. As always, our primary responsibility is to our students, and the integrity of our educational mission cannot be compromised.

We have a strong and talented group of faculty, students, staff and alumni, and we have a beautiful new state-of-the-art learning facility. Together we will continue to foster a cohesive, supportive academic environment committed to excellence. I am honored to be working with such an impressive group of scholars, alumni, staff and students at the Villanova School of Law. Moving forward, I assure you that VLS will continue to thrive and become even stronger.


Dean John Y. Gotanda

Earlier: Dean Mark Sargent — You Can Call Him John
Farewell, Dean Sargent ‘Peanut Girl’ dean resigns at Villanova.

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