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Ethics: Legal Ethics Forum
Law schools and "cooking the books"
The WSJ has an article about law school rankings, prompting Larry Ribstein to suggest that the schools' efforts to game their rankings has disturbing similarities to accounting fraud. I agree, and it's the most powerful kind of teaching: teaching by example. In 2005, I posted I've posted that . . .
American Laywer Media has this article, which uses the recent conference on law school rankings as a vehicle for addressing the gaming of the rankings. . . . . I think that law schools are teaching by example that cooking the books is what lawyers do.
I don't know if those stories are very real or urban myths, but the law students do talk about them. Assume that one law school uses all those techniques. Which techniques, if any, are unethical? If the techniques yield a process at variance with that school's brochures and advertising materials, why would that be any different than a corporate lawyer "cooking the figures" when the year end rolls around? Would such a law school be teaching its students, by example, that lawyers should act that way in the real world?
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