ABA Sanctions Villanova Law School For Reporting False Admissions Data
The American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has issued a public censure of Villanova University Law School, finding that it intentionally reported inaccurate admissions data to the ABA and the public.
The public censure includes a requirement that the law school adopt a compliance plan to ensure that future data submissions are accurate, and that the school hires an independent compliance monitor, selected by the ABA, for at least two years or until the monitor is no longer needed. The school also must issue a public statement of correction, which will go to all ABA-approved law schools, describing good practices for data reporting and outlining the compliance plan. The public censure must be posted on the Villanova Law School and ABA Section of Legal Education websites for a period of two years. The ABA section will circulate the notice of censure to a wide variety of interested parties, including university presidents, state supreme court chief justices, offices of bar admissions and others.
Villanova Law School learned of the misreporting in early 2011 and reported it to the ABA, its students, and the public. In January 2011, the law school hired an independent auditor to review past reporting and investigate potential inaccuracies. The internal investigation showed that incorrect data had been reported to the ABA between at least 2002 and 2009 relating to the submission of LSAT scores for incoming students and their undergraduate GPA’s. The data reported to the ABA in 2010 was accurate. The investigation found no misreporting of financial or placement data.
The Legal Education Section describes Villanova Law School’s actions as “reprehensible and damaging to prospective law school applicants, law students, law schools and the legal profession,” noting that the conduct undermines confidence in the accreditation process. The censure does take into account the law school’s actions to self-report the inaccuracies, correct the problems and separate those responsible for the misleading conduct from the law school.
The censure letter and information is available here.