Law.com, Can You Bribe Your Way Into Law School?:
The nation has been riveted by the college admissions scandal that has revealed the dark secrets of the higher education admissions game. Federal prosecutors have charged 50 people—including Hollywood headliners, a Big Law leader and financiers—and allege a complex scheme of fraudulent ACT and SAT scores and a network of athletic coaches at elite colleges who were on the take.
Few people know the admissions world better than Anna Ivey, former admissions dean at the University of Chicago Law School who now coaches applicants on how to get into top colleges, law schools and MBA programs. We talked with Ivey on Thursday about whether such illegal admissions schemes exist at the law school level, and how applicants legally circumvent the traditional admissions process. ...
Have you heard of these types of things happening in the law school sphere?
Most of the things people do to influence the admissions decisions are legal, even if they are distasteful. Whereas [the allegations in the latest scandal are] a felony. What people are used to is some level of the shenanigans that happens all the time. I’m talking about things like big donations to schools in hopes of influencing the outcome.
But no, I haven’t heard of felony-level stuff where parents are bribing people at a law school. It could be happening, but I’m not aware of it. I think the way the fraud operated in this particular case wouldn’t really work at the law school level because what they did is exploit this whole phenomenon of college sports and the power that coaches have at these schools. There’s really no equivalent on the law school side. As a law school admissions officer, you don’t have an athletic coach where you go to them as say, this year you have X number of spots and you get to pick them. For better or worse—I think for better—you don’t have the corrupting influence of college-level sports. If you were going to bribe someone at the law school, it would have to be the actual admissions officer. Thankfully, in the college bribery standard, there’s no suggestion that I’ve seen that actual admissions officers were involved. Could it happen in theory? Sure. But I have not heard of that happening. ...
What things should change as a result of this scandal? ...
The fixes that might pertain to the law school side is that there is clearly abuse happening of the accommodations process for the LSAT, as there is with the SAT and the ACT. You don’t want to make it so hard and burdensome that you’re keeping out people who legitimately need accommodations. There are trade-offs to tightening up that process. But anyone who sees the underbelly of higher education knows full well that that process gets abused all the time. It needs to get cleaned up.
To some degree, I’ve really respected the law school admissions process because in a lot of ways it is a bit more objective than some of the other admission processes out there. That’s a double-edged sword. If you go to the [Law School Admission Council’s] calculator and plug in your GPA and LSAT score, if you move those numbers around you can see the admission odds moving in lockstep. There is such a strong correlation. It’s hard to get around poor numbers. That can sometimes be a good thing.