There's a reason law schools check you out when applying

Law schools are quick to note their stellar alumni. And why not? It’s a badge of honor to have a graduate reach remarkable heights, such as becoming a Supreme Court justice.

For instance, go to the Harvard Law School website and it notes how Harvard's grads include Barack Obama (former prez) Mitt Romney (almost a prez, if not for Obama) and John Roberts Jr. (current Supreme Court chief justice).

Oddly, It does not mention Andrew Caspersen, a 2002 Harvard Law grad who’s doing prison time for orchestrating a fraud scheme that totaled more than $95 million.

As a pre-law student, you will find that law schools do extensive screening in hopes of fielding stellar classes full of ambitious, smart and morally upright students. Some will check your Facebook account to see if there are pictures of you doing Jello shots, for instance. 

But they are not perfect.

And, of late, many law schools no doubt are holding their collective breaths because the Trump administration appears to have a wee bit of a problem when it comes to lawyers behaving a wee bit badly.

Take Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager who’s since been convicted of a host of white-collar crimes and pled guity to conspiracy and obstuctionist charges.  He’s a lawyer. He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center.

There’s no mention of Manafort on the Georgetown University website — not that we could find.

How about Michael Cohen? He was Trump’s personal lawyer who helped arrange a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an affair she claimed to have with Trump before he became president.

He pled guilty to a number of white collar crimes as well as campaign finance violations. He graduated from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing.

The media feasted on that tidbit because Cooley is not exactly Yale. The headline from Politico: “Trump’s Lawyer Went to the Worst Law School in America.”

From Fortune: “Trump’s Lawyer Michael Cohen’s Law School is Awful.”

From Yahoo: "Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Went to a Uniquely Awful Law School."

You can’t buy that kind of press …

And Cooley did not take kindly to it. When Cohen went to the school, it had a much better reputation. The law school crisis — as it did to a number of law schools — did a number on the law school.

The school’s general counsel, James Robb, wrote to Politico, saying that those bashing the school are “elitists who do not appreciate, or do not care about, the opportunity to succeed.”

He also noted how the school was more willing to take minority students to help diversity the legal profession. “Our law school was founded on the premise that all qualified applicants should be given a chance.”

Trump’s associates who are lawyers aren’t all facing criminal charges. Some are just odd. Take Anthony Scaramucci, who served for a brief time as Trump’s director of communications before resigning for trashing a number of Trump staffers in a scathing, profanity-laden interview.

He’s a Harvard Law grad. And, no, we did not see a mention of him on the website either …

So when you’re applying to law school, remember there’s a reason they dig pretty deep. As the LSAT Blog Ace the Test put it:

"If you do manage to become admitted to the bar, law schools want to feel relatively confident that you won't later do something stupid or questionable that might get you disbarred. They basically want to cover their [behinds] because you'll make their school look bad when a front-page article comes out that says something like, 'John Smith, Esq., was recently convicted of animal cruelty after electrocuting a giraffe. He had recently graduated from Acme Law School.'"

Right. Just ask Cooley. 

 

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