University of Wisconsin Law Graduate Wins Admission To Bar After Misrepresenting Grades And Credentials

Seal_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_Wisconsin.svgIt is not every recent law grad who can claim that he appeared before the state supreme court soon after graduation. Unfortunately, this is one appearance that University of Wisconsin law graduate Joshua Jarrett is unlikely to add to his resume. In a close vote, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Jarrett could be admitted to the bar so long as he is supervised for two years. Bar officials sought to block Jarrett after concluding that he had misrepresented his grades and credentials in a job application.


Jarrett applied to the New York City Law Department in his second year at Wisconsin and listed his GPA at 2.75 rather than 2.72. That hardly seems a mortal sin. Likewise, he submitted an unofficial transcript that listed B grades in three courses in which he actually had a grade of B-. However, he later submitted a second unofficial transcript that inflated two B- grades to Bs, one B- grade as a B+, and one B grade to a B+. The transcript also listed Jarrett’s GPA as 3.0. Perhaps most seriously he allegedly claimed to be a member of the prestigious law review staff.

What Jarrett later admitted to the misrepresentations to the bar, he did not disclose three speeding tickets and his arrest on a bench warrant for failing to appear on two of the speeding tickets.

Nevertheless, Jarrett was able to pull out a razor-thin victory (of sorts) by convincing the majority that he had shown redemptive behavior. The majority stressed that Jarrett has “completed unpaid legal internships and meaningful legal volunteer work serving economically challenged clients, has mentored students and currently works in a public trust position in Washington, D.C . . . We therefore choose to exercise our prerogative and afford this applicant the benefit of the doubt.”

Jarrett currently works as an analyst for the Federal Aviation Administration.

I think that the majority got this one right. Jarrett faces a career with the shadow of this investigation and the conditioned admission to the bar. I certainly understand the view of the dissenting justices that there were too many acts of dishonesty to give Jarrett the benefited of the doubt. However, there is also some need to allow for redemption and reform in people.

What do you think?

Here is the opinion: Jarrett Opinion

Source: ABA Journal

32 thoughts on “University of Wisconsin Law Graduate Wins Admission To Bar After Misrepresenting Grades And Credentials

  1. What is of more concern to me personally is that he works for the FAA. That is the wrong place for him to work since I will have no confidence he will actually follow the law and use some common sense which he seems to lack. That is something that cannot be remedied and he should not be in aviation.

  2. Working here illegally is also a crime and a repeat illegal entry into the US is a felony. Then one has to ask if he registered for the draft which he HAD to do. If he did not, he committed a FELONY. There are so many laws an illegal breaks that it is impossible to list them here. One has to ask if he also lied on his admission forms to college.

    • According to an immigration attorney with whom I spoke, if I recall correctly it takes three times before actions may rise above a misdemeanor. This is for your standard illegal entry, no criminal acts committed while in the country illegally. The typical act of coming in over the border a few times, staying over a tourist visa, etc., mere misdemeanors. That is, no big deal.

      If federal law makes entering the country illegally a misdemeanor where you might get a small fine we have to bear the consequences. If someone is in the country illegally and applies to be admitted to a state how do you expect things will work out? It’s a misdemeanor, and no state bar would ever have the balls to tag the act as having moral turpitude considerations.

  3. Holmes ….i don’t think he puffed on his bar app bc they only accept official transcripts and dont care if on law review. He puffed (lied) to his ‘want the job’ client. An out of the gate ethics violation. What came out was he also failed to tell the bar about speeding tickets. And really with so many jurisdictions how would a grad know if there is a bench warrant? What “database” do you look in?

    In hindsight i wouldn’t have had to tell the bar about my speeding tix…but i remembered them so i did. But there was nothing on my driving record that reflected them. The prevoius state dl had no record….nor did the current dl record…cuz the were so old. I am pretty sure i paid them. But if the ptb wanted….they could say i’m lying now that i ever had any! But unless you are like 40-50 caught in the middle of paper to electronics records you won’t get it. That is..who knows when his paper bench warrant made it to a database. Then again he should have remembered getting the citation bc most ppl piss their pants a bit getting pulled over.

    Hell i even told the bar about a collection notice on a joint video rental. Out vhs machine had a rental in it when the movers packed us out. After the semi left we remembered but it was months before the box got delivered so we could return it. We explained it to the store manager but “the system” still sent us to collections. It was all fine after we got our household goods…and we sent it back…but because we had got a “collection notice” i told the bar.

    What i don’t appreciate about many comments above is the stereotype that all lawyers are dishonest.

    But that is why bar ethics tries to regulate. Moreover, some states require current attorneys as references…who must take their obligation seriously…like looking for things lime warrants.

  4. Paul….exactly…so did he doctor his transcripts for the bar application or for his job resume? Because one is lying to the court the other is lying to a potential client…one is a bar admission problem the other is a ethics problem. He only got supervised release….bc it had to have been treated as an ethics violation. The bottom line is the same….it wasn’t just a puff but a forgery. Ppl go to jail for that. But he didn’t lie like that to the court. And therein lies the rub….

    • J – there is no way to doctor the official transcripts (which come with a seal) but you could with photocopied unofficial transcripts.

  5. Warspite, I suggest you read the law since it makes it clear that entering more than once illegally is a felony. Since I enter and leave the country fairly frequently as an airline captain, I can tell you for a FACT, that if I do not clear custom properly, I will be given a $10,000 fine which is FAR more than a misdemeanor. That is an illegal entry with NO desire to avoid the law, but a simple mistake. The illegals violate the law knowingly and with malice since they know that they have no legal right to enter. We had one captain who forgot that he had not cleared US Customs in Canada, and went directly to the domestic gate. He was fired, and was hit with the $10,000 fine. The airline had to pay since the captain could not.

    Overstaying a tourist visa is not a crime by the way. It is an administrative infraction which carries no jail time. Illegal entry is a CRIME which does carry prison time. There is moral turpitude by the illegal alien lawyer since he willingly violated all laws that he found inconvenient to him, such as not registering for the draft, illegally working in the US, driving without any license, not registering his vehicle, etc.. Just what if any law does the illegal have to obey? I guess that perjury is not a bar to becoming a lawyer either since the illegals lie on multiple forms which clearly state that lying will be under penalty of perjury. So how many laws do they get to break before they are considered to have moral turpitude?

    • Randy, while I understand your status as an airline captain/ship captain gets you treated in a special manner, it does not change the fact US Immigration laws are a joke. You and your fellow captain who was fined are terrorized and persecuted by virtue of having respect for and obeying the law. In being law abiding you are vulnerable to penalties scoffed at or ignored by illegal immigrants coming to the US.

      It amazed and distressed me when I was informed “overstaying” is not actually a crime, but instead enforced via civil penalties ($$$) and deportation. No one goes to prison for coming in on a tourist visa and staying a few additional years once the temporary visa expires. Apparently I’m supposed to be ok with this because overstaying may only represent about 25% of illegal immigrants in the US.

      Btw, I know someone very well who was tricked into an overstaying situation. This is an honest person who fears the law and has tried to obey it their entire life. They were afraid of deportation or fines, but knew prison was not going to occur.

      On the illegal entry, it’s a misdemeanor. The fact that if you do it enough times (i.e., get caught enough) it rises to the level of being a felony is almost meaningless. Apparently since the US does not put these felons in prison the only real ramifications are if you commit a crime after the border jumping or if you decide to apply for citizenship with a history of border jumping arrests and deportations. I was informed the US does not imprison people for “up to six months” re border jumping. Put to me,”[Warspite] why do you think there are people caught six or ten times for illegal entry? You think the six to ten times includes three to five years in prison? Ha! Get real. People are caught, fined $50, deported, the system repeats”.

      None of this makes me happy, but it did change my mind about illegal immigration. I have extensive personal experience with Canadian entry to the US and the long history of the INS and then ICE bullying someone from some place like Calgary or Edmonton working in the US legally. I also see the perpetuation of lies and myths. Eleven million illegals. Really? Funny how that number never seems to change even though those outside of politics know it’s ridiculous. The number also fails to consider the 300k-500k children born of illegal immigrants each year. 50% of illegals are Mexican? Or is it 60-62%? Or 70%? The percentage floats depending upon the agenda of the group asserting the number. Sanctuary cities where law enforcement is not permitted to check into immigration status? And then I learn about the misdemeanor status of illegal immigration. Incredible, although sanctuary cities make a lot more sense if the “crime” is essentially punished via deportation. Well, it makes sense to the Americans who make themselves feel good via mangling the concept of sanctuary.

      The US may whine about illegal immigration but it appears each side of the American political spectrum desires the flow to continue. Cheap labor, potential votes, in some cases both. American politicians and/or their financial and ideological benefactors don’t really care to stop illegal immigration.

      For the Wisconsin-Madison kid, I think the only serious thing he did was claim to be law review. Apparently there may be additional facts, but I’m not clear on that. I certainly think he should face sanctions for lying about being law review, but I also see it in context. Every year in Florida circus-like schools roll out 1000 new JD’s. In California it seems to be twice that from these clown academies. The deleterious effect of those bozos far exceed a guy who lied about being on law review. He deserves suspension for six months, but with the other unaddressed travesties in the American legal community that’s punishment enough.

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