Ethical Conduct in Applying to Law School
The practice of law is an honorable, noble calling. Lawyers play an important role in society by serving both their clients’ needs and the public good.
Your submission of an application for admission to law school is your first step in the process of becoming a lawyer. Now is the time, as you take this first, important step, to dedicate yourself to a personal standard for your conduct that consists of the highest levels of honesty and ethical behavior.
The legal profession requires its members to behave ethically in the practice of law at all times, in order to protect the interests of clients and the public. You must understand that those who aspire to join the legal profession will be held to the same high standards for truth, full disclosure, and accuracy that are applied to those who practice law. These standards also apply to those aspiring to further their education with a Master of Laws degree (LLM). The legal profession has set standards for ethical conduct by lawyers. Similarly, law schools have set standards for ethical conduct by law school applicants through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). These standards are known as the LSAC Rules Governing Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process (PDF). Just as lawyers are required to study, understand, and comply with the ABA’s ethical standards, law school applicants are expected to read, understand, and comply with LSAC’s ethical standards.
If you fail to comply with LSAC’s ethical standards, you may be barred from admission to law school. If you fail to disclose required information on your law school application, or if you engage in misconduct during the admission process that is discovered after you enroll in law school or start to practice law, you may face more serious sanctions. In appropriate cases, state and national bar authorities and other affected persons and institutions may also receive notification. Individual law schools and bar authorities determine what action, if any, they will take in response to a finding of misconduct or irregularity. Such action may include the closing of an admission file, revocation of an offer of admission, dismissal from law school through a school’s internal disciplinary channels, or disbarment. Thus, a finding of misconduct or irregularity is a very serious matter. Take the time, right now, to read LSAC’s statement on misconduct and irregularities in the admission process presented below.
Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process
The Law School Admission Council has established procedures for dealing with instances of possible candidate misconduct or irregularities on the LSAT or in the law school admission process. Misconduct or irregularity in the admission process is a serious offense with serious consequences. Intent is not an element of a finding of misconduct or irregularity. This means that an “honest mistake” is not a defense to a charge of misconduct or irregularity. Misconduct or irregularity is defined as the submission, as part of the law school admission process, including, but not limited to, regular, transfer, LLM, and visiting applications, of any information that is false, inconsistent, or misleading, or the omission of information that may result in a false or misleading conclusion, or the violation of any regulation governing the law school admission process, including any violation of LSAT test center regulations.
Examples of misconduct and irregularities include, but are not limited to
- submission of false, inconsistent, or misleading statements or omission of information requested online or on forms as part of registering for the LSAT or using LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service, or on individual law school application forms;
- submission of an altered or a nonauthentic transcript;
- submission of an application containing false, inconsistent, or misleading information;
- submission of an altered, nonauthentic, or unauthorized letter of recommendation;
- falsification of records;
- impersonation of another in taking the LSAT;
- switching of LSAT answer sheets with another;
- taking the LSAT for purposes other than applying to law school;
- copying or sharing information, or any other form of cheating, on the LSAT;
- obtaining advance access to test materials;
- theft of test materials;
- working on, marking, erasing, reading, or turning pages on sections of the LSAT during unauthorized times;
- bringing prohibited items into the test room;
- falsification of transcript information, school attendance, honors, awards, or employment;
- providing false, inconsistent, or misleading information in the admission and financial aid/scholarship application process; or
- attempt at any of the above.
A charge of misconduct or irregularity may be made prior to a candidate’s admission to law school, after matriculation at a law school, or after admission to practice.
When alleged misconduct or irregularity brings into question the validity of the LSAC data about a candidate, the school may be notified of possible data error, and transmission of that data will be withheld until the matter has been resolved by the Law School Admission Council’s Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process Subcommittee. The Council will investigate all instances of alleged misconduct or irregularities in the admission process in accordance with the LSAC Rules Governing Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process (PDF). A subcommittee representative will determine whether misconduct or an irregularity has occurred. If the subcommittee representative determines that a preponderance of the evidence shows misconduct or irregularity, then a report of the determination is sent to all law schools to which the individual has applied, subsequently applies, or has matriculated. Notation that a misconduct or irregularity report is on file is also included on LSAT and Credential Assembly Service reports to law schools. Such reports are retained indefinitely. More information regarding misconduct and irregularity procedures may be obtained by writing to miscirreg@LSAC.org