Filed April 21, 2009

In re Loren Elliotte Friedman
Commission No. 08 CH 32

Synopsis of Hearing Board Report and Recommendation

NATURE OF THE CASE: 1) making a false statement of fact in application to the bar; 2) failing to disclose a fact necessary to correct a material misapprehension in an application to the bar; 3) engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; 4) engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice; 5) engaging in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.

RULES DISCUSSED: 8.1(a)(1), 8.1(a)(2), 8.4(a)(4), 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and Supreme Court Rule 770.

RECOMMENDATION: Three year suspension

DATE OF OPINION: April 21, 2009

HEARING PANEL: Henry T. Kelly, Sang-yul Lee, Ellen L. Johnson

RESPONDENT'S COUNSEL: Samuel J. Manella

ADMINISTRATOR'S COUNSEL: Wendy J. Muchman

BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

LOREN ELLIOTTE FRIEDMAN,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 6288157.

Commission No. 08 CH 32

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE HEARING BOARD

INTRODUCTION

The hearing in this matter was held on January 6, 2009 at the Chicago offices of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("ARDC") before a hearing panel consisting of Henry T. Kelly, Chair, Sang-yul Lee and Ellen L. Johnson. Wendy J. Muchman represented the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Respondent was represented by Samuel J. Manella.

PLEADINGS

On May 6, 2008, the Administrator filed a three-count Complaint against Respondent. Count I alleged Respondent omitted information in a law school application, Count II alleged he submitted altered law school transcripts to prospective employers, and Count III alleged he failed to disclose his fraudulent alteration of transcripts to the Character and Fitness committee of the Illinois State bar.

Prior to hearing the Administrator filed a motion to amend the Complaint to include additional allegations concerning Respondent's submission of a false and misleading resume to law firms. The motion was denied, without prejudice, but the Administrator was given leave to raise the additional factual allegations at hearing in further support of the allegations of Count II.

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On June 3, 2008 Respondent filed his answer to the Complaint and on July 29, 2008 he filed an amended answer. Respondent admitted nearly all of the factual allegations but denied the charges of misconduct.

THE EVIDENCE

The Administrator called three witnesses, including one by way of video evidence deposition, and presented ten exhibits which were admitted into evidence. Two of the exhibits were stipulations as to the testimony of additional witnesses. Respondent testified on his own behalf, presented four additional witnesses, and submitted one exhibit which was admitted into evidence.

Admitted Allegations

Between August 1998 and August 30, 1999 Respondent attended medical school at the University of Illinois. On or about August 30, 1999, he was notified that he had been dismissed due to poor scholarship.

On or about December 2, 1999, Respondent submitted an application for admission to the University of Chicago Law School. The application requested a list of all colleges, universities, and graduate or professional schools attended, and asked applicants if they were "ever dismissed or placed on academic probation or subjected to serious disciplinary action at any college or university." Respondent did not list his attendance at medical school, nor did he disclose his dismissal from that school. Respondent certified that the information provided on the application form was true and complete.

At the time he completed his application, Respondent knew the information he provided was both false and incomplete in that he failed to list his education and subsequent dismissal from medical school. Respondent also knew the law school would make a decision on his

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admission based upon the information in the application, and he intended to deceive the law school by submitting the false application.

Respondent was admitted to the University of Chicago Law School based upon his false application. At no time prior to the time he commenced his studies at that institution did he change his application to provide truthful information.

Between August 2000 and May 2003 Respondent attended the University of Chicago Law School. In 2001, while Respondent was a second-year law student, he submitted his resume and purported law school transcript to a number of law firms, including the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP ("Sidley"), seeking employment as a summer associate. Although Respondent represented to the law firms that the transcript was a true and accurate record of his law school grades, the transcript contained false information, as set forth below:

COURSE

GRADE REPORTED BY RESPONDENT

ACTUAL GRADE

Autumn 2000

Elements of Law

80 (A)

73 (C)

Civil Procedure I

78 (B)

72 (C)

Contracts

-

-

Torts

-

-

Legal Research and Writing

-

-

Winter 2001

Property

-

-

Contracts

B

C

Torts

81 (A)

74 (B)

Legal Research and Writing

-

-

Technology, Innovation & Society

81 (A)

71 (C)

Spring 2001

Civil Procedure II

77 (B)

72 (C)

Criminal Law

79 (B)

73 (C)

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COURSE

GRADE REPORTED BY RESPONDENT

ACTUAL GRADE

Spring 2001
Property

78 (B)

73 (C)

Legal Research and Writing

A

B

Economi Analysis of Law

B

C

Autumn 2001
Secured Transactions

B

C

Federal Regulation of Securities

B

C

Corporate Finance

80 (A)

77 (B)

Winter 2002
Corporation Law

79(B+)

75 (C)

Antitrust

77 (B)

71 (C)

Advanced Securities

75 (B)

68(C-)

Financial Accounting

B

C

Spring 2002
Legal Profession

B+

B-

International Trade Regulations

78 (B+)

74 (B-)

Lawand Economics of Health Care

IP (in progress)

IP

Network Industries

77 (B)

72 (C)

Law, Science and Medicine

IP

IP

The transcript submitted by Respondent was false and he knew it was false because he had altered it by changing grades to reflect higher grades than he actually received.

Respondent received an offer for summer employment at Sidley and worked at that firm from June to August 2002. On September 27, 2002, Sidley extended an offer of employment as an associate, beginning in 2003. At no time between June 3, 2002 and August 2003, did Respondent advise Sidley that he had submitted a false student record to them.

On or about December 25, 2005, Respondent prepared and signed a Character and Fitness questionnaire in connection with his application to the Illinois State bar. The

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questionnaire asked Respondent to answer 55 questions relating to his character and fitness to practice law. Respondent did not provide any information in response to questions 1-52, 54 or 55 about his conduct in altering his law school transcripts.

Question number 53 asked: "[i]s there any additional information with respect to possible misconduct or lack of moral qualification or general fitness on your part that is not otherwise disclosed by your answers to questions in this application?" In his response, Respondent provided information relating to his failure to include his academic dismissal from medical school in his law school application. Respondent did not disclose that he had altered his law school transcripts and provided those altered transcripts to potential employers. At no time prior to his admission to the bar in the State of Illinois did Respondent change or amend his answer to provide information about his altered law school transcripts.

Respondent mailed the questionnaire to the Character and Fitness Committee together with the remainder of his application to the Illinois bar, and it was received on December 30, 2005. Respondent was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois on May 4, 2006.

John J. Levi

John J. Levi testified in a videotaped evidence deposition that he is a partner with the Sidley law firm, and has served as the national chairperson of the firm's law school recruiting committee for close to a decade. In that capacity he is familiar with the firm's procedures for interviewing law students for Sidley's summer associate program. (Dep. Tr. 6-9).

Levi personally recruits law students at the University of Chicago Law School, along with twelve to fifteen other attorneys, and has close personal ties to that school. He stated that Sidley typically considers University of Chicago students that are in the upper one-third of the

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class, and the students are aware of those standards when they sign up to interview with the firm. (Dep. Tr. 8-12).

Levi explained that during the on-campus interview the recruiting attorney requests a copy of the student's transcript, which the student then hands to the recruiter. For the on-campus process in 2001, Sidley did not require an official certified copy of the transcript. Following the initial interview, the attorneys discuss the various applicants to determine which students will be invited to the firm for further interviews. The student's transcript plays an integral role in that decision-making process. (Dep. Tr. 12-17, 25).

Levi did not recall personally interviewing Respondent on campus in 2001, but stated that Respondent was invited back to the firm for further interviews. According to Levi, the firm would have relied on the grades reflected on Respondent's transcript in extending an offer for further interviews. After the in-office interviews, Respondent received and accepted an offer for Sidley's 2002 summer associate program. (Dep. Tr. 19, 22).

During Respondent's participation in the summer program, Levi had lunch with Respondent and attended some of the social gatherings for the summer students. At the end of the program, the summer committee evaluated the various students and determined which ones would receive offers for full-time employment upon graduation from law school. Levi had no firsthand knowledge of Respondent's work product, but knew that he had done fine during the summer, which was key to receiving an offer. Levi identified a copy of Respondent's transcript that Sidley received at the end of the program and stated the firm was not aware at that time that the transcript had been altered. Respondent did receive an offer of employment from the firm. (Dep. Tr. 20, 23-25, 46; Admin. Ex. 3).

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Levi stated that Respondent was interested in obtaining a judicial clerkship after graduation from law school and they discussed Respondent's pursuit of that option. Because Levi was under the impression Respondent's class standing was very high, he was surprised Respondent was having difficulty finding a clerkship. Ultimately Respondent did accept a clerkship. Levi was aware that Sidley attempted to persuade Respondent to join the firm after the clerkship was completed, and that Respondent decided to work elsewhere. (Dep. Tr. 26-28).

Levi stated that if a student accepted an offer for full-time employment, Sidley's practice was to request a certified transcript upon the student's completion of law school and before the student joined the firm as an associate. Because Respondent did not accept Sidley's offer of employment, no request was made for a certified transcript. (Dep. Tr. 26).

Levi had no further contact or connection with Respondent until late spring of 2007 when another attorney at Sidley, Michael Sweeney, informed him that the firm received Respondent's resume and transcript from a headhunter. Sweeney characterized the transcript as one of the worst he had seen from the University of Chicago Law School, and questioned how Respondent had been hired for the summer program. Levi then learned that the transcript from the headhunter, which he believed was an official transcript, was different from the ones the firm had previously received from Respondent. With respect to Respondent's first year grades on the more recent transcript, Levi stated Respondent would not have received a call back interview on the basis of those grades, because the grades were very far below the firm's minimal requirements. (Dep. Tr. 21, 30, 35; Admin. Ex. 3).

On April 27, 2007, Levi and Sweeney contacted Respondent by telephone and asked him to explain the inconsistencies in the transcripts. At that time Respondent admitted he provided a false transcript to the firm in order to secure an offer. Respondent further stated he felt terrible

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and had not accepted the firm's offer for permanent employment because he knew the firm would want a certified transcript and would then discover what he had done. When Levi informed Respondent of his intention to bring the matter to the attention of the law school's placement office, Respondent expressed a concern about his diploma. (Dep. Tr. 32-38, 51).

On May 8, 2007, Levy was copied on an e-mail sent by Sweeney to Respondent in which Sweeney confirmed the conversation of April 27 and informed Respondent that the firm would make written reports to the New York and Illinois bar authorities unless Respondent reported his own actions to both states. Within an hour Respondent responded with an e-mail stating that he would report his inappropriate actions to the New York and Illinois bar admission authorities as well as the respective state legal disciplinary authorities. Respondent also apologized for his actions and admitted that his conduct was disgraceful. Levi believed Respondent took the matter seriously and that he did report his actions. (Dep. Tr. 38, 48-49, 51; Admin. Ex. 3, Resp. Ex. 1).

Levi testified he contacted Paul Woo of the University of Chicago Law School placement office, informed him of the falsified transcripts that Respondent provided at the time of his initial interview and at the end of the summer program, and pointed out that the transcripts were too easy to alter. Levi stated that the law school now provides transcripts with official seals on paper that is specially marked, and Sidley now requires certified or official law school transcripts for students entering its summer program. (Dep. Tr. 39-44).

Shortly after contacting Woo, Levi received a call from Saul Levmore, dean of the law school, who informed Levi that when Respondent was in law school he had submitted a paper that was suspected of being plagiarized. Dean Levmore advised Levi that after an investigation of the incident and meetings with Respondent, no discipline was imposed. (Dep. Tr. 42-43).

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Michael James Sweeney

Michael Sweeney, a partner at Sidley & Austin, testified he is a part of the firm's office of general counsel and since the early 1990s has served as secretary of the recruiting committee, the summer associate program committee and the new associate orientation committee. (Tr. 51-52).

Sweeney testified that in the fall of 2001 Respondent received an offer for Sidley's 2002 summer associate program. Respondent was employed at Sidley from June 3, 2002 until September 21, 2002 and earned a weekly salary of $2,400. Sweeney recalled hearing reports of Respondent's performance, which was incident-free and raised no issues for discussion, and thought he probably met him at social functions. At the end of the summer Respondent received an offer to join the firm as a full-time associate in 2003 but, because Respondent accepted a clerkship, the offer rolled over for one year. (Tr. 56-59; AX 3).

Sweeney stated that, as part of his normal practice to follow up with former summer associates who had clerkships, he had conversations with Respondent in the fall of 2003. During their conversations Respondent did not disclose that he had falsified his transcripts, that he failed to advise the law school that he had been dropped from the University of Illinois medical school, or that he had been questioned about his failure to properly credit source material in a paper he prepared for a law school class. Sweeney was surprised when Respondent declined Sidley's offer of employment. (Tr. 59-63).

With respect to a certification of employment signed by Sidley's human resources coordinator in May 2004 confirming to the Delaware State Bar Respondent's summer employment at Sidley, Sweeney did not know who inserted the typewritten statement that the applicant was honest and conducted himself in a professional manner. Sweeney stated he would

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be surprised if the statement were something that Sidley voluntarily added to the form, but stated it was probably an accurate characterization of what the firm understood at the time. Had the firm known about the altered transcripts, it would not have certified that Respondent was a person of honesty and integrity. (Tr. 87, 90; Admin. Ex. 3).

Sweeney testified he had no further contact with or news of Respondent until April 2007 when he learned that Sidley had received Respondent's resume through a headhunter. He was surprised that someone who had received an offer from the firm in the past would make contact through a headhunter, and was even more surprised when he reviewed the transcript provided by the headhunter. He stated that "no way in the world" would someone have received an offer for Sidley's summer program with the first year grades that appeared on the transcript. When Sweeney asked the recruiting staff to pull Respondent's files, he received the resume Respondent provided to Sidley in 2001 and the transcript he provided at the end of the summer associate program in 2002. Sweeney noted that when Respondent submitted his transcript in 2002, any prior transcript from Respondent would have been discarded. (Tr. 63-66, 69-72; Admin. Ex. 3).

Sweeney stated that when he reviewed Respondent's recent transcript, he realized the firm had been defrauded. He believed the initial transcript received from Respondent placed him in the upper 15% of his class, whereas Respondent's actual grades were much lower and would not warrant consideration by Sidley. He explained that a numerical grade of "77," which is equivalent to a letter grade of a "B," is roughly the firm's cutoff for being considered for an offer of employment. Sweeney noted that in between the time Sidley received the transcript from Respondent and the transcript from the headhunter, the University of Chicago changed its grading system by placing a "1" in front of the number values, but otherwise the system and valuations were the same. (Tr. 72-74, 77).

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Sweeney recalled that he consulted with his partners to determine what action should be taken. In mid-April 2007 he and John Levi, Sidley's recruiting chairman, telephoned Respondent and asked for an explanation for the differing transcripts. At that time Respondent admitted he had provided Sidley with a forged transcript, and explained that the alteration was the reason he had not accepted a job with Sidley. Further, Respondent felt bad about what he had done and indicated that, after finishing the summer program at Sidley, he had used his actual transcript. Sweeney had a general sense that Respondent was surprised that the headhunter had submitted his transcript and resume to Sidley. (Tr. 75, 78-81).

After further internal discussions, Sweeney contacted Respondent on April 27, 2007 and advised him that the firm intended to report his conduct to the bar authorities but would first give him an opportunity to self-report. Sweeney also advised Respondent that the firm would contact the University of Chicago Law School. Sweeney asked Respondent to refrain from listing his work at Sidley on any future resumes because the firm was concerned that someone might view his association with the firm as a reference. Sweeney recalled that Respondent again expressed shame for what he had done. (Tr. 83-84, 90, 93).

On May 8, 2007, Sweeney received an e-mail from Respondent indicating he would report his actions to the New York and Illinois bar admission and disciplinary authorities within the next few days. Respondent's e-mail also acknowledged that his conduct was disgraceful and stated that he was deeply sorry for his actions. Sweeney stated that Respondent never advised him that he had failed to disclose information on his law school application, or on his Character and Fitness application. (Tr. 85, 89, 91; Resp. Ex. 1).

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Saul Levmore

The parties stipulated that, if called as a witness, Saul Levmore would testify that he is the dean of the University of Chicago Law School and has held that position since July 2001. As dean, he has the ultimate authority to decide whether to convene a disciplinary committee to consider alleged student misconduct. (Admin. Ex. 10).

In May 2002 Levmore reviewed a memorandum from lecturer Julie Gage Palmer regarding Respondent's failure to properly attribute sources in a paper he submitted in his Law, Science and Medicine class. After reading Respondent's paper and speaking to him, Levmore found Respondent's conduct to be wrong and a breach of a fundamental academic standard, but also believed it was an isolated instance limited to scientific information rather than legal arguments, and that Respondent's explanation that he was rushed and had made a careless mistake was plausible. Levmore concluded that Respondent's conduct did not rise to the level of intent required for a finding of plagiarism by a disciplinary committee, and therefore did not convene a disciplinary committee. Instead, he required Respondent to submit all future papers to him for review. Levmore reviewed the subsequent papers and did not find any problems. (Admin. Ex. 10).

At the time Levmore decided not to convene a disciplinary committee, he was not aware of Respondent's failure to disclose information in his law school application or his falsification of his transcript. Those facts would have significantly affected his decision not to convene a disciplinary committee because they changed the nature of Respondent's conduct from a single instance of alleged plagiarism to multiple instances of misconduct. Levmore also felt that the information regarding Respondent's academic dismissal from medical school would have negatively impacted Respondent's chances of admission to the law school. (Admin. Ex. 10).

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Julie Gage Palmer

The parties stipulated that, if called to testify, Julie Gage Palmer would state she has been a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School since 2000, and in the spring of 2001, Respondent was enrolled in her Law, Science, and Medicine class. With respect to a paper Respondent submitted for that class, Palmer determined that he had represented seven paragraphs of another author's work as his own. Palmer notified the dean of students and the dean of the law school but did not speak to Respondent because she understood the matter would be handled by the dean. When Palmer subsequently encountered Respondent at the law school in the spring of 2003, he thanked her for reporting the paper and told her it was the "kick in the pants that [he] needed." (Admin. Ex. 11).

Respondent

Respondent testified he graduated from Deerfield High School in 1994. During his junior and senior years he volunteered every Sunday in the Glenbrook Hospital emergency room where his duties included cleaning beds and assisting patients. His purpose in volunteering was to be involved and become familiar with the medical field. (Tr. 247-49).

Respondent attended Emory University where he majored in biology, was a member of various honor societies, and maintained a 3.3 to 3.4 grade point average. As a recipient of the Howard Hughes Research Fellowship Award, he was involved in conducting research regarding patients' health habits and his findings were published in the Archives of Family Medicine. (Tr. 249-50, 254-55).

While at Emory University, Respondent became involved with Volunteer Emory, a service organization, and eventually became one of three staff coordinators for that group. As a member of Volunteer Emory he worked in elementary school classrooms, participated in AIDs

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walks, and worked in the community. Respondent also became involved in the Elementary Science Education Partnership, which involved visiting an elementary school twice each week and assisting students with hands-on science experiments. Respondent believes community service is important and vital to our existence. (Tr. 250-53).

Following Respondent's graduation from Emory in 1998, he attended medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He described his experience in medical school as horrible and lonely, and eventually he stopped attending classes. After receiving unsatisfactory grades in his classes, he was allowed to retake the exams but his grades were still insufficient. In August 1999 he received a letter from the university notifying him that he had been dropped from the program due to poor scholarship and failure to satisfy the academic requirements of the first year. Respondent stated his academic dismissal caused him embarrassment and shame, and it was an experience he would not forget. He believed his family also took the news hard. Despite the shame of having failed, he was relieved to be out of the program because it had caused him so much misery. (Tr. 169-72, 256-60; Admin. Ex. 1).

Respondent moved back home, obtained a job with a healthcare company and decided to take the LSAT exam because he "needed to be something" and wanted to portray an image of being successful. He then applied to a number of law schools, including the University of Chicago Law School. When completing the University of Chicago application, he did not list his attendance at medical school and stated he had not been dismissed from any college or university. He acknowledged his answers were false and that he purposefully omitted the information because he believed his dismissal from medical school would have a negative impact on his application. On the final page of the application he signed a certification stating the information he provided was correct. Respondent stated that, prior to his admission to the

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University of Chicago Law School or graduation from that school, he did not inform anyone in the admissions office that he provided false information in his application. Sometime in 2000 or 2001 he did disclose his attendance at medical school in resumes provided to the dean of admissions in connection with his receipt of two scholarships, but he acknowledged those disclosures in no way rectified his initial lie. He admitted he did not disclose the information about his dismissal from medical school to the other law schools to which he applied, nor has he subsequently informed those schools of that fact. Respondent stated he gave no thought to any harm his actions might cause the university. (Tr. 173-77, 205-06, 212-21, 261-64; Admin. Ex. 2)

Respondent testified that, during his first year of law school, he studied hard but his grades were fairly poor. He worried he would be dismissed from the law school, or that he would not be able to secure a job with a large law firm. At that time he felt that he needed to work at a premier law firm to confirm that he was successful. (Tr. 178, 184, 264-65).

In the fall of 2001, Respondent participated in the law school's on-campus interview program. He obtained his transcript from the registrar's office, whited out the numerical grades, typed better grades on a second document which he then placed on his transcript to line up with the course name, and photocopied the altered page. He admitted that he purposely and dishonestly changed the grades for each of the ten classes he had taken his first year. After he copied the transcript, the alterations were not apparent. (Tr. 178-84; Admin. Ex. 6).

Respondent used the altered transcripts, along with a resume that did not include the fact that he had been dropped from medical school, for his on-campus interviews with more than ten firms. He gave no thought to the effect his actions might have on other legitimately qualified students who were applying for the same jobs, on the law firms, or on the law school. Respondent received offers for summer employment from Sidley as well as at least seven other

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firms. He has never informed the other firms that he falsified his transcript. (Tr. 183-85, 188-89, 265-66).

Respondent also used his falsified transcript to seek employment during the 2001-02 school year. He obtained a position as a part-time clerk with Sheats & Kellogg and worked at that firm from January through May 2002. He has never informed that firm of the falsified transcript. (Tr. 190-91; AX 6).

During the spring of 2002 Respondent wrote a paper for his Law, Science and Medicine class. Professor Julie Palmer questioned his failure to cite to source material and referred the matter to Dean Levmore, who met with Respondent and requested that all of Respondent's future papers be submitted to him for review. Respondent apologized for his mistake, and expressed his humiliation and embarrassment to Dean Levmore. Respondent subsequently apologized to Professor Palmer and thanked her for reporting his conduct. (Tr. 235-28; Admin. Ex. 2).

Respondent worked as a summer associate at Sidley from June 2002 to September 21, 2002. He stated he enjoyed his experience immensely, was given an opportunity to work on interesting cases, and he felt his performance was good. He did not tell anyone at Sidley that he was having discussions with the dean of the law school regarding concerns about a paper he submitted in one of his classes. Near the end of the summer, Sidley requested an up-dated transcript to reflect Respondent's grades through his second year. Respondent followed the procedure he had used to alter the earlier transcript, and changed twenty grades on the subsequent transcript. He acknowledged that his actions were purposeful and he knew at the time that he was being deceitful, unethical, and fraudulent. (Tr. 189, 195-97, 222-23, 266-67).

Respondent stated that he received an offer for permanent employment from Sidley, but could not accept a job that he obtained under false pretenses. He thought if he declined the offer

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and left Illinois, he would not cause any more harm and no one would ever know what he had done. He did not disclose his misrepresentations to Sidley because he was afraid of the repercussions. (Tr. 269-70, 282-83, 299-300).

Respondent decided to pursue a clerkship with a bankruptcy judge. He submitted an accurate transcript and resume to federal bankruptcy Judge Robert Martin of the Western District of Wisconsin and was hired for a clerkship. Thereafter, he continued to submit accurate transcripts and resumes. (Tr. 269-72).

In November 2003 Respondent submitted an application to take the New York bar examination. In connection with that application, he was required to supply a copy of his law school application. At that time he decided to inform the law school that he had not disclosed information about his dismissal from medical school. In a letter of November 12, 2003 to the dean of students of the University of Chicago Law School, he wrote that, in reviewing his law school application, he was "very surprised" to note he had not disclosed his attendance at and dismissal from medical school. His letter also expressed his regret and apology for his failure to disclose the information. When questioned about his reference to being "surprised," Respondent explained that his surprise stemmed from the fact that he had not realized his deceptions had gone back so far. He further stated that "surprised" was a poor choice of words because his actions were not new to him; instead, he should have used the word "disappointed." Respondent received a letter from the dean of students indicating that the school accepted the amendment to his law school application. (Tr. 207-11, 235, 278-80; Admin. Ex. 2, 4).

Respondent did not take the New York bar exam because he received a job offer from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP ("Skadden Arps") in Delaware. In September 2004 he began work at Skadden Arps and focused on bankruptcy work at that firm. In January

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2006 he was terminated for failure to pass the Delaware bar exam after two attempts. Respondent then went to work at the Curtis Mallet law firm in New York where he had a very good experience and continued to practice bankruptcy law. (Tr. 273-76, 280).

On December 25, 2005 Respondent signed a Character and Fitness questionnaire in connection with his application for admission to the Illinois Bar, and understood he was certifying that his answers were true. In response to questions as to whether he had ever been the subject of an initial inquiry or had ever been dropped by a university, he answered "yes" and disclosed information regarding his law school paper and his dismissal from the University of Illinois medical school. With respect to the law school paper, he informed the committee that the experience taught him a valuable lesson and reinforced the importance of precision in legal writing. In response to a question asking whether he had any additional information with respect to possible misconduct or lack of moral qualification or general fitness not otherwise disclosed, Respondent answered "yes" and disclosed his failure to provide information about his dismissal from medical school in his law school application. He did not disclose the fact he had provided altered transcripts to law firms because he thought the information would damage his chances of admission to the Illinois bar. He also did not disclose that he provided law firms with a resume that omitted the information about his dismissal from medical school. Respondent agreed that altering transcripts to obtain employment is conduct that shows a deficiency in honesty and trustworthiness which, according to Supreme Court Rule 708, is a basis for denial of admission to the bar. He admitted that his failure to disclose his unethical conduct was purposeful and cowardly. (Tr. 198-204, 224, 227-29, 233-34, 241, 281, 283; Admin. Ex. 4).

Respondent was aware that he had a duty to update his Character and Fitness forms, but did not inform the committee of his falsified transcripts prior to his admission to the bar. He did

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inform the committee of a change in address and his January 25, 2006 admission to the New York bar. (Tr. 229-32).

In 2007 Respondent decided to seek new employment in Illinois or New York and in furtherance of that decision he provided an accurate resume and transcript to a headhunter. Respondent did not believe he asked the headhunter to refrain from sending the information to Sidley. Ultimately his transcript was provided to Sidley and in April 2007 he was confronted by Mike Sweeney and John Levi regarding his altered transcripts. He immediately admitted his misconduct, apologized for it, and told them he had not used altered transcripts to obtain his clerkship. He was given an opportunity to self-report his misconduct and on May 10, 2007, after he had been admitted to the Illinois bar, Respondent notified the Illinois Board of Admissions, the ARDC, and the New York bar authorities of his falsified transcripts. His letters express his regret for the harm caused to Sidley, as well as his willingness to cooperate with any investigation into the matter. (Tr. 234, 241-43, 287-89, 314; Admin. Ex. 5).

Respondent resigned from Curtis Mallet in May 2008 when the ARDC complaint was filed against him. While at that firm, Respondent was criticized for being tardy in recording his time and he did not receive a bonus when his salary was reviewed. (Tr. 277, 315-16).

Respondent is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Illinois Business College, where he hopes to develop further skills in the area of bankruptcy and corporate structuring. Before he submitted his application for that program in March 2008, he asked his attorney to review it to ensure that he had provided all the information that was requested. He did not mention the falsified transcripts, the problem with the law school paper, or the omission on the law school application, but he did not believe that information was responsive to any question on the application. He did disclose his dismissal from medical school. With respect to the pending

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ARDC complaint, Respondent stated that he contacted the assistant dean of student affairs before he began the MBA program, disclosed the general nature of the allegations, and offered to provide a copy of the complaint, but his offer was declined because the school was only interested in matters of a criminal nature. He acknowledged he did not inform the student affairs office of the specific allegations against him. Respondent stated he is doing well in school and will graduate in 2010. (Tr. 292-96, 306-13, Admin. Ex. 14).

Respondent does not believe he is dishonest at heart, but acknowledged that his actions were dishonest and stupid. He is not denying any of the allegations of the Administrator's Complaint and fully expects to be seriously disciplined for his fraudulent misconduct. He stated he feels horrible about his actions, appreciates the seriousness of what he has done to Chicago and the legal profession, and is willing to accept and abide by the appropriate punishment. Respondent has made every attempt to fully cooperate with the ARDC and wanted to participate in the process so he could be honest about his actions. (Tr. 284-85, 290-91).

Respondent testified his family has been very supportive and he has been seeing a counselor on a weekly basis to help him sort through his actions and feelings. If he returns to the practice of law, he would not feel the need to work at a large high-powered law firm. If he cannot practice law, he is interested in becoming a turnaround advisor or a corporate structuring advisor. He remains active in community service. (Tr. 286, 297-98, 323).

Character Witnesses

Megan Cleghorn

Megan Cleghorn, an attorney with the Skadden Arps law firm in Wilmington, Delaware, testified by telephone that she has known Respondent since he joined that firm as an associate in September 2004. Cleghorn and Respondent were both in the corporate restructuring group and

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they worked together until Respondent left the firm. As an associate who was senior to Respondent, Cleghorn reviewed his work and evaluated his performance. She also developed a social friendship with him during that time. (Tr. 105-07, 113).

Cleghorn stated that Respondent has a reputation for being a person of great integrity, honesty, and human compassion. She personally believes Respondent is an extraordinary person of fine character and her opinion would not change if the allegations of the Complaint were proved. She recalled that after other associates learned of the allegations against Respondent, she heard no negative comments about Respondent and, in fact, continued to hear positive comments about his character. (Tr. 108-10, 114-15).

Cleghorn stated that Respondent has expressed tremendous remorse, regret, and shame for his actions, with no attempt to excuse his conduct. When asked about Respondent's failure to disclose information on his law school application and his Character and Fitness questionnaire and his failure to cite sources in a law school paper, Cleghorn characterized that conduct as a chapter in his life when he exercised very poor judgment. Respondent explained to her that his acts were motivated by fear. (Tr. 115, 118-19, 124-25).

With respect to a character reference form Cleghorn completed and signed on February 15, 2006 in connection with Respondent's application for admission to the Illinois bar, Cleghorn stated her answers were truthful at the time she gave them. (Tr. 121; Admin. Ex. 4).

John Katsanos

John Katsanos, an attorney in New York, New York, testified by telephone that he interviewed Respondent for a position at the Curtis Mallet law firm in 2005 or 2006. At that time he was not aware that Respondent had falsified a transcript to obtain a position at Sidley or failed to disclose information in a law school application. Katsanos worked with Respondent at

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Curtis Mallet, knows him on a social level, and considers him to be a very good friend. Katsanos holds Respondent in the highest regard and stated that he has a very strong reputation for truth and veracity. In Katsanos' opinion, the Complaint allegations have not affected Respondent's reputation for honesty. (Tr. 129-36).

Katsanos stated that when Respondent's conduct came under investigation in Illinois, Respondent informed him of the situation immediately and was "beyond remorseful." Katsanos recalled that Respondent attributed his actions, in part, to being in the shadow of a successful father and feeling pressure to succeed. Respondent indicated to Katsanos that he was receiving counseling. (Tr. 135, 142-44).

Ennedy Rivera

Ennedy Rivera, an Illinois attorney, testified she has known Respondent for seven or eight years, both professionally and socially. She dated Respondent from approximately 1999 until 2004. Around the beginning of their relationship, Ennedy learned Respondent had been dismissed from the University of Illinois medical school, but did not know until 2003 that he had failed to disclose his dismissal on his law school application. (Tr. 146-50).

In February 2006 Ennedy completed and signed a character reference form for Respondent in connection with his application to the Illinois bar. She stated she understood the Character and Fitness committee was relying on her truthfulness in completing the form and that, as an Illinois lawyer, she had an obligation to provide accurate information. When asked about the question whether she knew Respondent had ever been dropped by any educational institution, she explained that she answered "no" because she read the question as relating to what had occurred during law school, and Respondent's dismissal from medical school did not even cross her mind. She denied she would lie for Respondent or jeopardize her license for him. Rivera

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admitted her answer was false, and acknowledged knowing that pursuant to Professional Rule 8.1 a lawyer shall not make a false statement in connection with a bar admission application. (Tr. 151-56; Admin. Ex. 4).

Rivera stated that Respondent has a reputation for being a very truthful and honest individual and the allegations against him have not changed that reputation. (Tr. 147-48).

Jacob Hildner

Jacob Hildner, an attorney at the McQuire Woods law firm in Chicago, testified he has known Respondent since they were classmates in law school, and they have both a professional and social relationship. After reading about the allegations against Respondent in the newspaper, Hildner called Respondent to offer support. Hildner described Respondent as contrite, saddened and humbled. (Tr. 157-58).

Hildner stated that Respondent's reputation for truthfulness is very strong. He does not believe the allegations of the Complaint would change Respondent's reputation in the community, but acknowledged he has not discussed the allegations with anyone other than Ennedy Rivera. (Tr. 158-61).

In February 2006 Hildner completed and signed a character reference form for Respondent in connection with Respondent's application to the Illinois bar. With respect to the question whether he had knowledge that Respondent had ever been dropped by any educational institution, he answered "no" because he did not learn of Respondent's dismissal from medical school until 2008. (Tr. 162, 165-66; Admin. Ex. 4).

Prior Discipline

The parties stipulated on the record that Respondent has not been previously disciplined. (Tr. 392).

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FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

In attorney disciplinary proceedings the Administrator has the burden of proving the charges of misconduct by clear and convincing evidence. In re Ingersoll, 186 Ill.2d 163, 710 N.E.2d 390, 393 (1999). Clear and convincing evidence constitutes a high level of certainty, which is greater than a preponderance of the evidence but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Williams, 143 Ill.2d 477, 577 N.E.2d 762 (1991). At the hearing in this matter, Respondent admitted all the allegations against him, and admitted that he acted dishonestly and fraudulently.

With respect to Count I, the evidence and admitted allegations established that in 1999 Respondent submitted an application for admission to the University of Chicago Law School. The application requested each applicant to list all graduate and professional schools attended, and to indicate whether he/she had been dismissed from any college or university. In completing the application, Respondent failed to disclose his attendance at and dismissal from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. His omissions were not an oversight, but rather a deliberate attempt to improve his chances of admission to law school.

Although Respondent's misconduct occurred prior to his admission to the bar, his misrepresentations were made for the purpose of securing a legal education and degree in preparation for his admission to practice. In In re Connor, 90 CH 117, M.R. 8711 (March 19, 1993) the attorney's failure to disclose information in a law school application was found to be a violation of the ethical rules. See also In re Posterli, 89 CH 520, M.R. 7407 (May 24, 1991) (although attorney's false resume was prepared and distributed prior to his admission to the bar, it was used for the purpose of obtaining employment as a lawyer and therefore was grounds for discipline).

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We find with respect to Count I that Respondent engaged in the following misconduct charged in the Complaint:

  1. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

We do not find that Respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5). Attorney misconduct is prejudicial to the administration of justice only if it has an impact on the representation of a client or on court proceedings. See In re Odom, 01 CH 69, M.R. 19772 (2005) (the Review Board, in an opinion approved by the Supreme Court, stated "[f]or there to be prejudice to the administration of justice within the meaning of this Rule, it is our judgment, until the Supreme Court states otherwise, that there must be a tribunal involved, and that was not the case here."); In re Gearhart, 05 SH 19, M.R. 21335 (March 19, 2007). Respondent's false representation in his law school application did not involve a tribunal and therefore we do not find any prejudice to the administration of justice.

The evidence and admissions relating to Count II established that Respondent altered his law school transcript on two separate occasions, and then submitted the altered transcript to law firms for the purpose of increasing his chances of employment. Respondent's false submissions affected the law firm's evaluation of Respondent and created an uneven playing field for the other law school students who were applying for the same position.

Based on Respondent's alteration and submission of altered transcripts, we find the following misconduct was proved:

  1. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

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  1. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

For the reasons stated in Count I, we do not find that Respondent's conduct prejudiced the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5). His submission of falsified transcripts did not involve or affect any tribunal or court proceedings.

We wish to add a further note with respect to Count II. We heard evidence that Respondent submitted a resume to law firms which failed to disclose his attendance at or dismissal from medical school. We believe that a resume, which is not certified, is generally understood by prospective employers to be a compilation of accomplishments and is meant to present the applicant in the best light. The prospective employer is at liberty to question any time gaps or information reflected in the resume, and any response to those inquiries would then have to be made in a truthful manner. Since the resume itself is not compiled in response to specific inquiries, we do not judge it as strictly as an application which requires full disclosure of requested information. For these reasons, the evidence regarding Respondent's resume did not enter into our findings of misconduct on Count II.

With respect to Count III, the evidence and admitted allegations established that after Respondent graduated from law school in 2003, he left Illinois to first pursue a clerkship in Wisconsin and then to practice with a law firm in Delaware. In 2005, in anticipation of returning to Illinois, he submitted an application for admission to the Illinois State bar. In completing the Character and Fitness questionnaire required of all applicants, he was asked to provide information regarding misconduct or lack of moral qualification that was not otherwise disclosed in the application. Respondent failed to disclose the fact that he had altered his law school transcripts because, by his own admission, he feared the information would negatively impact his

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chance for admission to the Illinois bar. Although he updated his application on more than one occasion, he continued to omit any information regarding his altered transcripts.

The Supreme Court has noted that the Character and Fitness committee lacks the personnel and resources to conduct independent examinations of bar applications, and thus, it must rely primarily on truthful and complete answers by applicants to its questionnaire as a source of material information. An applicant to the Bar has the duty to answer all questions fully and accurately, and the failure to do so is tantamount to a fraud upon the Court. In re Ascher, 81 Ill. 2d 485, 499, 411 N.E.2d 1, 7 (1980).

Based on the foregoing facts, we find the Administrator proved the following charges of Count III by clear and convincing evidence and that Respondent engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. making a statement of fact known by the applicant to be false in his application to the Bar, in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. failing to disclose a fact necessary to correct a material misapprehension in his application to the Bar, in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  3. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  4. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

As with the previous two counts, we do not find that the Administrator clearly and convincingly proved a violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5). Our analysis with respect to this count, however, is slightly different. We believe Respondent's admission as an attorney to the Illinois Supreme Court satisfies the requirement that a tribunal be involved, but in order to find a violation of 8.4(a)(5) we must also have clear and convincing evidence of actual prejudice, rather

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than mere speculation of prejudice. See In re Vrdolyak, 137 Ill.2d 407, 560 N.E.2d 840 (1990) ("a bare assertion of prejudice is insufficient to sustain the charge. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the administration of justice was, indeed, prejudiced."). In this case we simply do not know whether Respondent's misconduct during law school, had it been disclosed, would have precluded his admission to the bar. Since no actual impact was established, we do not find a violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5).

RECOMMENDATION

Having concluded that charges of misconduct were proved, we must determine the appropriate discipline warranted by the misconduct. In so doing, we consider the goal of these proceedings which is not to punish but rather to safeguard the public, maintain the integrity of the profession and protect the administration of justice from reproach. In re Timpone, 157 Ill.2d 178, 623 N.E.2d 300 (1993). Attorney discipline also has a deterrent value in that it impresses upon others the repercussions of errors such as those committed by Respondent in the present case. In re Discipio, 163 Ill.2d 515, 645 N.E.2d 906, 912 (1994).

In arriving at the appropriate discipline we consider those circumstances which may mitigate and/or aggravate the misconduct. In re Witt, 145 Ill.2d 380, 583 N.E.2d 526, 535 (1991). In mitigation we consider Respondent's lack of prior discipline, the evidence regarding his character and reputation, and the fact that he fully cooperated in the proceedings. See In re Clayter, 78 Ill.2d 276, 399 N.E.2d 1318 (1980). With respect to the character testimony, we give more weight to the two attorneys who worked with Respondent and were able to assess his character in a professional setting.

An attorney's acknowledgement of his misconduct and expressions of remorse, or lack thereof, are also factors that we can consider. In re Gorecki, 208 Ill.2d 350, 802 N.E.2d 1194

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(2003). Although Respondent admitted his deceptions and apologized to every person and entity he may have harmed, the Administrator disputes his candor and credibility on these subjects.

With respect to Respondent's admissions of misconduct, the Administrator questioned whether he has fully and completely owned up to his mistakes and cited to his failure to disclose all of his past deceptions in his recent application to business school as an example of his continued efforts to conceal his past conduct. Having reviewed that application, however, we believe he provided the information that was requested, including his dismissal from medical school. We note that while the application asks about academic discipline or convictions for a crime, it does not ask whether the applicant's professional conduct has been the subject of inquiry or action. Following Respondent's admission to the MBA program, he did contact the student affairs office, disclosed the pending disciplinary complaint against him, and asked whether he should submit a copy of the complaint. According to Respondent, his offer was declined because the office was only interested in conduct of a criminal nature.

With respect to Respondent's expressions of remorse, the Administrator characterized him as a "professional actor" and pointed out that he has a history of offering seemingly genuine apologies after exposure or threatened exposure of his conduct. Having observed Respondent closely, we came to a different conclusion. We believe he has spent considerable time reflecting on his actions and motivations, and is repentant for his misdeeds. Further, we believe his remorse encompasses the damage or potential damage he caused his fellow law students, the law firms to which he applied, the University of Chicago Law School, and the legal profession. He expressed his regret, we believe him, and we do not know what else he could have added to satisfy the Administrator. We also note that two attorneys who worked with Respondent in recent years testified that he has exhibited extreme shame and remorse.

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We received no indication that Respondent's previous apologies were not genuine and we do not wish to penalize him for expressing prior regret for mistakes. With respect to his 2003 apology to the law school for omitting information from his law school application, Respondent could have remained silent and waited to see if the matter became an issue with the New York bar, but instead he notified the school of his conduct, admitted that his omission was purposeful, and apologized for his conduct. While his letter did not disclose his additional malfeasance in altering transcripts, his admission was a step forward in owning up to his mistakes. As to his apology to the law school dean when he was questioned about his failure to cite source material and his apology to the partners at Sidley when he was confronted with his altered transcripts, an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and expression of regret was both appropriate and warranted in each of those instances. No witness testified that the apologies seemed perfunctory or insincere.

We do not believe the challenges to Respondent's forthrightness and candor after the misconduct was revealed were supported by the record. His testimony was sufficiently consistent with the recollections of the other witnesses and with the documentary evidence, and his expressions of remorse and acknowledgements of his misconduct were credible. We therefore consider those factors as mitigating circumstances.

In aggravation, we consider the fact that Respondent did not engage in an isolated instance of misconduct; rather his actions reflect a pattern of deception that began in 1999 with his false law school application, continued in 2001 and 2002 when he altered his law school transcripts, and reappeared several years later with he failed to disclose his altered transcripts to the Character and Fitness committee. See In re Lewis, 138 Ill.2d 310, 562 N.E.2d 198 (1990); In re Smith, 168 Ill.2d 269, 659 N.E.2d 896 (1995).

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Another aggravating factor is the harm or risk of harm caused by Respondent's actions. See In re Saladino, 71 Ill. 2d 263, 375 N.E.2d 102 (1978) (discipline should be "closely linked to the harm caused or the unreasonable risk created by the [attorney's] lack of care"). Although no clients were aggrieved in this case, Respondent's fraudulent acts gave him an unfair advantage in both the law school admissions process and in his interviews for summer associate positions, to the detriment of other qualified students. In addition, Sidley devoted the resources of its summer program to the training and recruitment of a student who apparently had no intention of accepting a permanent job offer at that firm. In 2007 two of Sidley's partners devoted further time in unraveling Respondent's fraud and determining how the situation should be handled. With respect to Respondent's admission to the bar of the State of Illinois, the Character and Fitness committee relies upon each applicant to make full and honest disclosures. Because Respondent concealed information, he was admitted to practice without being fully vetted by the committee. His admission, therefore, resulted in a risk of harm to the public, the court system, and the profession.

The Administrator suggested that disbarment or a suspension until further order of the Court is warranted, and cited cases in support of that position. Respondent pointed to cases in which courts have imposed suspensions of thirty days to two years, but acknowledged that the higher end of that range is more appropriate for this case. While the Administrator's cases focus heavily on misstatements in bar applications, Respondent's cases focus more on academic fraud. In this case we are confronted with both types of false statements, although we note that the failure to disclose information on the bar application is a continuation of the fraudulent conduct that occurred while Respondent was in law school. In our opinion the alteration of transcripts is

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particularly disturbing because considerable planning and care was required to replace the actual grades and then duplicate the transcripts so that the alterations could not be detected.

We appreciate the efforts of both parties in researching and presenting numerous cases that are relevant to our decision. We are also mindful, as the Court has stated on many occasions, that each case is unique and must be resolved with respect to its particular facts and circumstances. In re Timpone, 157 Ill.2d 178, 623 N.E.2d 300 (1993).

Several of the Administrator's disbarment cases involve attorneys who engaged in a pervasive pattern of falsehoods and deceptions to frustrate the bar admissions process. See In re Mitan, 75 Ill.2d 118, 387 N.E.2d 278 (1979) (nine material false statements and omissions on bar application and supplement, including failure to disclose prior felony conviction); In re Jordan, 106 Ill.2d 162, 478 N.E.2d 316 (1985) (false statements/omissions on bar application, including failure to disclose numerous suspensions and other disciplinary measures by police department, reason for discharge from police department, an arrest that was dismissed and 297 parking tickets); In re Smith, 00 CH 35, M.R. 19547 (September 24, 2004) (numerous false statements in bar application, as well as commission of criminal conduct relating to possession of firearms, and false statements to police officers). In contrast, Respondent's misconduct with respect to his bar application was limited to one piece of information that was not disclosed, rather than a pattern of omissions. Thus, we do not have the same type of "calculated effort" with respect to the bar application that was present in the foregoing cases.

Other cases involving fewer omissions or misrepresentations in a bar application have resulted in lesser sanctions, even where additional misconduct was present. In a recent case, In re Bilal, 05 CH 87, M.R. 22687 (January 20, 2009), the attorney was suspended for eighteen months for failing to disclose an arrest in his application for admission to the bar and for

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engaging in a conflict of interest in representing a client. In In re Chandler, 161 Ill.2d 459, 641 N.E.2d 473 (1994) the attorney was suspended for three years until further order of court for engaging in an elaborate fraudulent scheme to secure an $85,000 mortgage, providing a false social security number on her bar application, and failing to update her application with new information regarding the mortgage fraud. Although the Court observed that the failure of a bar applicant to fully and truthfully respond to inquiries warrants severe disciplinary sanctions, the underlying mortgage fraud was a significant basis for the discipline imposed in that case. See also In re Myles, 96 CH 185, M.R. 13506 (May 30, 1997) (attorney suspended 6 months until further order of court for failing to disclose pending disciplinary proceedings in application for admission to United States Supreme Court, and for neglecting a client matter).

We reviewed a number of cases involving attorneys who submitted false information to employers in order to improve their chances of securing a job. Those cases reflect a range of sanctions, depending on whether additional misconduct or mitigating and aggravating circumstances were present. In In re Posterli, 89 CH 520, M.R. 7407 (May 24, 1991) a six month suspension was imposed upon an attorney who included false achievements on his resume and, after he was hired by a firm, allowed the false statements to appear in the firm brochure. The Hearing Board noted that the attorney was contrite and had made the false statements as a result of an overwhelming desire to succeed. In a more extreme case, In re Epstein, 92 CH 515, M.R. 8984 (January 25, 1994), an attorney who submitted a false resume for employment while he was on inactive status was suspended for three years until further order of the Court. The attorney also performed legal work while on inactive status, made false statements to the Administrator, suffered from bipolar disorder, and failed to appear at his hearing.

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Cases from other jurisdictions also reflect a range of sanctions for submission of altered transcripts or false resumes, depending on the unique circumstances present. See In re Scruggs, 164 Wis.2d 471, 475 N.W.2d 160 (1991) (two year suspension); In re Soufflas, No. BD-1006-025 (Mass. 2006) (six month suspension); In re Hawn, 06-BG-1418 (D.C. Court of Appeals 2007) (30 day suspension).

After reviewing numerous cases, we believe the following two are closest in factual circumstances to the present case and present the best guide for our recommendation. In In re Parker, 01 SH 103, M.R. 18152 (May 24, 2002), the attorney was disbarred on consent for failing to disclose three months of military service and his discharge from the military in his bar application, submitting resumes to law firms which reflected false achievements, altering his law school transcripts to improve his grades, and falsely stating to his employer that he had been injured in an auto accident. Because the Parker case did not go to hearing, we do not have a detailed discussion of the misconduct or the attorney's motivations. Unlike the present case, no mitigating factors were noted.

In In re Connor, 90 CH 117, M.R. 8711 (March 19, 1993) the attorney failed to disclose requested information in his law school application, including his attendance and dismissal from a community college and a previous law school, and failed to list numerous employers. Five years later he failed to provide similar information in his bar application, and failed to disclose a conviction for criminal damage to property. The attorney, who did not appear at his hearing and therefore presented no mitigating evidence, was suspended for thirty months until further order of the court.

Having considered the relevant authority, we do not believe this is a disbarment case. The mitigating factors and lack of pattern in deceiving the bar examiners distinguishes it from

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the Administrator's cases. Respondent's fraudulent misconduct was very serious, however, and continued over a considerable period of time. In our opinion a lengthy suspension is necessary to achieve the purposes of the disciplinary process and to that end, we recommend that Respondent be suspended for three years.

We do not recommend that the suspension be continued until further order of the Court, as suggested by the Administrator. This is not a case where the attorney is recovering from a disability, owes restitution, has been previously disciplined, or failed to participate in the disciplinary process. Although a suspension until further order of the Court is also appropriate where an attorney has not shown that he can adhere to ethical standards, In re Houdek, 113 Ill.2d 323, 497 N.E.2d 1169 (1986), Respondent's acknowledgement of his misconduct and expressions of remorse persuade us that he is willing and able to meet professional standards of conduct in the future. In In re Bilal, supra, the Review Board, in an opinion approved by the Supreme Court, declined to recommend a suspension until further order of the Court for an attorney who failed to disclose an arrest to the Character and Fitness committee. The Board noted that "[a] UFO is designed to force the respondent to prove that he or she has remedied a significant problem before resuming practice. This case, while involving serious misconduct, does not present that type of a situation."

For the foregoing reasons, we recommend that Respondent Loren Elliotte Friedman be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years.

Date Entered: April 21, 2009

Henry T. Kelly, Chair, Sang-yul Lee, Ellen L. Johnson, Hearing Panel Members.