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Cheating and Suing to Get What You Want

Vivia Chen

February 5, 2013

The legal job market is still lousy. So is that what's prompting some people to go overboard? Some recent examples:  

Cheating on Exam - photo by Leigh Schindler - istockphoto.com When they say "time's up" in Ohio, they mean it. We, New Yorkers, are like Italians: There's no shame—only pride and delight—in being late. If the invitation says, "dinner starts at 8," no one—except the truly starving—shows up on time.

But that's not the case in most of parts of the country. In the Midwest, in particular, people are known to be sticklers about time. So if you're a New Yorker who's planning on sitting for the bar somewhere in the heartland, listen up.

The National Law Journal's Leigh Jones reports :

The Ohio Supreme Court has refused bar admission to a graduate who witnesses accused of continuing to write down answers to the bar examination after time was called.

The court, reports the NLJ, found Jasmine Parker, a 2011 graduate of Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law who took the bar in July 2011, to be lacking "the character and fitness to become licensed."

Parker was ratted on by two other test-takers:

One of them said that Parker continued to write for up to 60 seconds after the call; another that she had continued long enough to complete two lines of writing on her answer sheet.

To correct the unfair advantage, the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness adjusted Parker's scores: It gave her a zero for one of the essay questions. But it looks like Parker didn't need the extra time, because even with the adjustment, "she passed the exam."

Parker certainly didn't help herself when she initially "denied the allegations and said that her accusers were lying." Later, she admitted that it was possible she ran overtime but claimed she wasn't aware of it.

I do think it was uncool for Parker to claim that she didn't run overtime. That said, running over by 60 seconds or so doesn't seem like the biggest sin in the world. I bet it happens quite frequently on these type of exams—but it probably doesn't get reported or caught.

Parker lost almost a year and a half because of this incident. But don't worry—she's getting another chance. Ohioans are nice people. The justices wrote, "In light of Parker's sincere remorse and her maturation as a result of this experience, we permit Parker to reapply for admission to the bar on or after February 1, 2013."

I just hope she has a job to go to—but that's another can of worms, isn't it?

Suing law schools for discrimination might not be the best way to launch an academic career: Of course, age discrimination exists. And I'm all for hauling violators to court. Still, I have to wonder about the tactics of former North Dakota Attorney General Nicholas Spaeth.

According to the Blog of the Legal Times, Spaeth, age 62, sued Georgetown and five other law schools for age discriminaiton after he failed to get  job interviews through the Association of American Law Schools faculty recruitment conference. (One of the schools he's suing is the University of Missouri School of Law, where he's listed as a visiting professor.)

Recently, Georgetown fired back by filing a motion for summary judgment. "According to the motion, Spaeth's application didn't make it past the first stage of review," reports BLT Blog. "A Georgetown law professor on the hiring committee looked at Spaeth's materials, the school said, but moved on after noting that he hadn't offered any past original legal writing samples and didn't express any interest in academic scholarship."

Okay, so there's a question of fact whether Spaeth's writings passed academic muster. But that's not what his lawyer focused on. Instead, Spaeth's attorney, Lynn Bernabei, said to BLT Blog that Georgetown never articulated that the number of articles published was a major factor. She said: "I think it a little disingenuous at this point to say the primary criteria is scholarship, where that's written nowhere." 

My, my—Georgetown didn't explicitly say that publishing unreadable law review notes is the ticket to entry into legal academia? Uh, did Spaeth really think that Georgetown would be impressed by his years of practice? I mean, hello?

Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? Email chief blogger Vivia Chen at [email protected]

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Right, Vivia! Age discrimination
Is blatant and rampant. They don't care about publications or experience or ability- just won't
Consider qualified older People in
Some places...

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: [email protected]

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