This Villanova scandal is going to get uglier before it finishes. On Friday, we reported that John Y. Gotanda, the dean of Villanova Law School, sent a letter to students and alumni in which he revealed that the school reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association.
The letter was light on specifics. According to comments made by a Villanova spokesperson to the ABA Journal, the problem involved Villanova providing the ABA with incorrect LSAT and GPA numbers.
The Villanova administration has not yet disclosed exactly what data was inaccurate, who was responsible, and what the school is doing to make sure that this kind of thing won’t happen again. That could be because the school is still investigating the full scope of the problem.
But Villanova students and faculty members are talking. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…
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….
We did NOT, contrary to popular belief, celebrate like munchkins [rejoicing in] the Wicked Witch’s death when the “Peanut Girl” transferred — but we are definitely doing so now (unless, of course, Dean Sargent is ill — in which case we wish him the best).
Sadly, Dean Sargent may be ill; he is stepping down for “personal and medical reasons.” We wish him a speedy recovery. We also hope his successor is similarly skilled in the use of the “reply all” function.
Read the announcement, from Villanova President Peter Donohue, after the jump.
From: Mark Sargent
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2009 3:01 PM
To: Wendy Barron; 2010dist; 2011dist
Cc: William James; Doris Brogan; Felicia Hamilton; Lori Bogish; Jennifer Nguyen; Christine Stango
Subject: RE: Work-Study funds for summer 2009
Wendy, we need to be careful with this kind of mass communication, helpful as it is. As I am sure you saw, this ended up on Above the Law. I did not get nearly as excited about it as Maule, and I know other schools will have the same problem, but readersnaturally (albeit idiotically) put a bas [sic] spin on it for us.
This is what we get for being transparent and helpful! The internet really is a type of hell!
ing we put on email or elsewhere can go viral almost instantly.
Mark A. Sargent
Dean and Professor of Law
Villanova University School of Law
From a second tipster:
I had to forward this. It is the email equivalent of the scene in Billy Madison where Chris Farley gets on the school bus and yells, “NO YELLING ON THE BUS!”
1. Thanks for the shout-out, Dean Sargent! We’re glad to have you as a reader.
2. You’re right — other law schools arehaving the same problem. For example, there’s no more work-study money at Rutgers – Camden (email after the jump).
3. “[R]eaders naturally (albeit idiotically) put a bas [sic] spin on it for us.” Oh, Dean Sargent, don’t read the comments — they will only cause you grief. We’ve helpfully hidden them, so they don’t display by default; you have to affirmatively seek them out.
Finally, this is not the first time Dean Sargent has had problems with that pesky “reply all” button. Remember the saga of Peanut Girl? Back in the fall of 2007, Dean Sargent complained about having to deal with a student with a very severe peanut allergy — in an email he sent to the deans of all ABA-accredited law schools. In a subsequent apology to the listserv, he described his gaffe as “the oldest mistake in the history of email.”
We reached out to Dean Sargent for comment on his latest email error. Read more, after the jump.
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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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