Legal Ethics

Lawyer Who Inflated Grades Gets Recommended 18-Month Suspension


A lawyer who inflated his law school grades to get a summer associate position at Sidley Austin got something of a reprieve from an Illinois ethics review board.

In April, a hearing board had recommended that Loren Friedman be suspended for three years for altering his transcript from the University of Chicago Law School. The chief counsel for the Illinois agency that oversees lawyer discipline appealed, saying Friedman should be disbarred.

The appeal has resulted in a recommended 18-month suspension, according to the American Lawyer and the Legal Profession Blog. According to the opinion by the Review Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Friedman did not harm any clients.

“Based on his sincere remorse and his acceptance of responsibility for his actions, it appears that respondent has learned from his mistakes,” the opinion said. “In our view, a suspension of 18 months [until further order] is sufficient to protect the public, deter others from engaging in similar misconduct, and require respondent to satisfy his obligation of establishing his character and fitness before resuming practice.”

Friedman had whited out his first-year C and B grades on a transcript and changed them to As and Bs before submitting them to Sidley Austin and other law firms, the opinion says. He also altered second-year grades submitted to Sidley.

Friedman was an associate at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York when he told the Illinois bar that he had altered the transcripts. He had also worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Delaware, but left after flunking the bar exam twice, the American Lawyer says.

Friedman reported the altered transcripts after a headhunter circulated a resumé containing his real grades, which landed on the desk of a Sidley hiring partner, the American Lawyer says.

Friedman had previously reported that he had failed to reveal he flunked out of medical school on his law school application.

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