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. Hell, That is nothing compared to the CA Supreme Court admitting an illegal alien to the CA bar. So a person does not need to be a citizen, or even of good moral character to be a lawyer in CA which probably is why the state of CA is so screwed up.

    1. A mere misdemeanor. My own ignorance, I didn’t know this until a few weeks ago. I presumed illegal entry into the US was a significant crime, I was wrong.

  2. He can go to work for the Department of Justice and lie to federal judges.

  3. The Wisconsin Way, he learned to fudge numbers from Scott Walker’s example.

    At least now he can pursue a career in law instead of having to settle for some bottom-feeding profession, like private investigation.

  4. I would love to see what he looks like. Usually, JT has photos plastered, for all to see. Not in this case. Perhaps it’s not the most PC thing to mention, but I just can’t help wondering what he looks like–did the Wisconsin Supreme Court take pity on him for belonging to a certain, alleged minority class? Think that element is irrelevant and doesn’t color–no pun intended–the decisions that it ultimately forms in these cases? Think again.

    A friend approached me the last week of my third year in law school–she was in tears. She claimed that although the law school had decided to allow her to graduate, she was upset that she would never be able to practice law. Why? She had lied–big time–on her law school application. You know, the part about whether she had ever been arrested and convicted of a felony? Yeah. That part. She was, in fact, a convicted felon. Those fingerprints, that we were required to take the first week of law school? Seems like it took three years to run them, so the school was just now–at the end of three long years–finding out about the massive lie. Her fingerprints came back as a hit.

    She was allowed to graduate; however, the Washington Supreme Court had a fight on its hands. She desperately wanted to take the Bar exam and be admitted in that state. She had grown up there and wanted to return to her roots. She, eventually, won and was permitted to do so. Why? In no small part because she was Native American, and her attorneys zealously argued, on her behalf, that so few Native Americans–especially those from reservations–ever even graduate from high school, let alone, law school, and that she would serve as an example to others similar to her once she returned to her reservation. It worked. She was required, as part of the agreement, to work for her tribe for several years, assisting it with legal matters. I strongly suspect that someone, without the same racial and cultural background, would’ve fared as well. Her racial and cultural identity were turning points in the decision. No doubt about it. She would’ve been summarily dismissed and rejected without them.

  5. I guess now you get extra points for chutzpah! Who knew? We don’t need lawyers that are honest in this country…. Just look at the liars in Washington. BO, HR, WJC just to name a few…….

  6. Again, in the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls!

  7. He should be forced to attend US Navy BUDS training. He will learn character matters, he will learn attention to detail matters. If he doesn’t ring out during hell week then he passes. Otherwise, go into politics.

  8. Isn’t photo shop wonderful. He’s just acting like an experienced lawyer early in his career.

  9. In finance, past performance is not indicative of future results.
    But for human behavior, that’s the way to bet.

    His admission to the bar is an admission that the bar is low.

  10. He is being discussed on the blog here. We need to send copies of the blog and our comments to his friends and neighbors and his fellow workers. It is ok to say that you got a B when you got a B- but not ok to say you got a B+ when you only got a B. Lying about being on Law Review is over the top. He needs to do a year of Community Service.

  11. Tin, no he is not. Lying on your bar application should disqualify you. End of story.

  12. Good : bad
    Right : wrong
    Honest : dishonest
    Truth : lie
    Law full : law breaking
    True : false

    Eh, what’s a little “puffing” among colleagues?

    Birds of a feather stick together.

    Takes one to know one.

    There are soldiers spending time in Leavenworth Prison for essentially the same behavior.

    I will not lie, cheat, nor steal, nor tolerate those that do.


    Funny old world.

  13. The resume falsifications are what used to be called “puffing” when I was in law school. Not a big deal. He graduated from a quality law school, so he is far more qualified to represent a client than the zillions of graduates from Calfornia’s unaccredited law schools.

    1. I don’t know Tin. I’d put the unranked clown law schools down in Florida against anything you can roll out in California!

      The grade stuff is no biggy, but asserting he was on law review? Maybe if he was on some “Environmental Law Journal” review and “accidentally” fudged it, that’s one thing. But if he just outright lied and said he was law review at Wisconsin-Madison that’s significant.

  14. What’s a bit of rounding error among lawyers these days. He’ll be well qualified for a presidential run at some point in the future.

  15. The lie about being bar review is significant. On the other stuff? I’ve seen an attorney/attorneys do stuff many, many times worse w/o batting an eye.

  16. What a way to start a law career hiding relevant facts from the court. I do think it is a big deal and I don’t think admission was appropriate.

    I remember when the standards for admission meant something.

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