Illinois law school scandals/furors

Influence-peddling at the University of Illinois with state politicians including now-disgraced Gov. Blagojevich, per a Chicago Tribune investigation:

What does it cost to get an unqualified student into the University of Illinois law school?

Five jobs for graduating law students, suggest internal e-mails released Thursday.

Paul Campos:

The only surprising thing about this stuff is that none of these bigwigs (including a law school dean — apparently she never learned to think like a lawyer) can ever seem to remember that government emails are subject to FOIA requests.

Also in Illinois, a furor has broken out over DePaul’s firing of its law dean, Glen Weissenberger (per Paul Caron) “for reporting truthful information to the ABA in connection with its reaccreditation site visit”. John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum:

For some time now, I’ve been arguing on this blog that the most powerful form of ethics teaching that occurs in law schools is the open and widespread gaming of numbers and statistics for rankings purposes. Students are taught that gaming the numbers and then concealing it, fibbing about it, or rationalizing it, is what grown-ups do for a living in the real world.

More: Above the Law (with emails from U. of I.); Prof. Bainbridge (recalling his days on U of I Law’s admissions committee); and see comments below on this post for views of the DePaul episode differing from those linked above.

Further: The U of I dean at the time says her email remarks were facetious and are being misinterpreted [David Hyman, Volokh]. And Brian Leiter (via Glenn Reynolds): “Attacking university officials over this scandal is like attacking the victim of a robbery for handing over his money…. And, by the way, the same story is waiting to be written about admissions at every state university in the country.”


  • Students are taught that gaming the numbers and then concealing it, fibbing about it, or rationalizing it, is what grown-ups do for a living in the real world.

    sounds about right to me. Isn’t that essentially the whole point of American society? Good on Illinois for teaching its students something practical that they’ll be able to use for the rest of their professional lives.

  • with respect, it seems like the Dean was using the ABA to score points in some internal financial squabble. A Dean playing chicken with a Provost has to expect to come to a sticky end.

  • Tekel, your realpolitik made me laugh out loud. By chance, are you from Chicago, Baltimore, or New Orleans? 🙂

    Steve, thanks, that’s why I took great care in my post to be an agnostic about the facts in that case and to stress the need for an impartial postmortem and public disclosure. At the same time, I personally find the evidence for gaming/concealing on a national scale to be so widespread as to be beyond a reasonable doubt as a general matter. (Did you read the recent revelations about how the University of Florida official cast his ballots?) Again, I agree that the DePaul case isn’t clear from reading the competing accounts.

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