Clerkships, Email Scandals, Job Searches, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Privacy, Screw-Ups, Technology

Oops! Top Law School Email Screw-Up Reveals Grades, Ranks Of All Clerkship Applicants

Over the course of the past few years, law school personnel have found it especially difficult to keep their students’ personal information private. In April 2012, someone at Baylor Law School sent out an email containing a trove of admissions data — from names, to grades, to LSAT scores — to every student admitted to the Class of 2015. In March 2014, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles sent out an email with a heap of financial information for the entire graduating class — up to and including Social Security numbers and loan amounts — to some members of the Class of 2014.

Today, we’ve got another email screw-up for you, and this is one of the juiciest and most prestigious accidental data dumps we’ve seen yet. Someone at a T14 law school “inadvertently” sent out every piece of vital information possible about its clerkship applicants — from GPA, to class rank, to work experience, to recommenders, right down to where their girlfriends live — to everyone on its clerkship listserv.

If you’d like to see how you stack up against elite law students, now you can. We’ve got all the data…

Please note the UPDATES at the end of this post.

The law school in question is UVA, and before we get to the stats, here’s the sordid tale of what happened.

Yesterday, Ruth Payne, UVA’s Director of Judicial Clerkships, sent an email to the school’s clerkship listserv with an attachment containing details about hiring information for the District of Maryland. Alas, there was nothing attached. She later realized her mistake and re-sent the email, writing, “Actually attached this time.” Unfortunately, “[a]ctually attached this time” was a spreadsheet entitled “2015 Applicants Workbook,” and it contained all the information under the sun about UVA’s would-be clerks.

Six minutes later, all of UVA’s clerkship applicants received a frantic email with a subject line of “PLEAE [sic] DELETE IMMEDIATELY.” The body of Payne’s email had only two words: “WRONG ATTACHMENT.”

Streisand effect, much? According to tipsters, students were already “flipping their s**t,” and Payne was feeling the pain. Here’s the email affected students received from George S. Geis, Vice Dean of UVA Law:

Earlier this afternoon you received an email from Ruth Payne titled “re: D. MD. Clerkships,” purporting to include an attachment related to clerkship availability in Maryland. The attachment was unfortunately a different spreadsheet with confidential information regarding the clerkship process. Ruth and I both deeply regret this situation and apologize to all of you. We take the safeguarding of your personal information very seriously and will conduct a full review of our communication practices and our management of confidential student information. We ask that you please do not open this attachment and that you immediately delete this email if you have not done so already.

Ruth or I are available if you have any questions or concerns.

We think we can name about 155 law students who have questions or concerns. That’s the number of students whose information was accidentally sent out to the clerkship listserv. In case you’re wondering, that number is almost half of the entire graduating class of 2015. Nice work, UVA. Pop those collars high.

Now, about those GPAs and class ranks…

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments