Legal Ethics

Law grad who inflated resume and failed to mention speeding tickets wins conditional bar admission

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A University of Wisconsin law graduate who boosted his grades and falsely claimed he was on law review when applying for a job has won conditional admission to the state bar.

In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court admitted Joshua Jarrett to the bar provided that a licensed lawyer supervises his law practice for two years, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Jarrett had a grade point average of 2.72, but listed it as 2.75 on a resume submitted to the New York City Law Department during his second year of law school, according to factual findings by the Board of Bar Examiners. He also submitted an unofficial transcript that listed B grades in three courses in which he actually had a grade of B-.

The resume also falsely claimed that Jarrett was a member of the law review. Later, Jarrett sent an email to the employer saying he submitted the materials on the same day he was informed that he was not chosen for law review. He included a new unofficial transcript that inflated Jarrett’s grades even more.

The transcript inflated two B- grades to Bs, one B- grade as a B+, and one B grade to a B+. The transcript listed Jarrett’s GPA as 3.0. The law school put Jarrett on academic probation for two semesters as a result of the misrepresentations.

Jarrett’s application for bar admission admitted to the misrepresentations, but did not disclose three speeding tickets and his arrest on a bench warrant for failing to appear on two of the speeding tickets.

The court majority noted that since the academic misconduct, 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.” Employers and professors praise him for his work ethic, judgment and compassion, the per curiam opinion said.

“We therefore choose to exercise our prerogative and afford this applicant the benefit of the doubt,” the court said.

Three dissenters said there had been “simply too many incidents in which Mr. Jarrett considered the truth optional when it was not to his advantage.”

Jarrett told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a separate story that he has learned a lesson from the “ordeal.” He currently works as an analyst for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The court’s decision shows you can make a mistake in your personal or professional life and recover from it,” he said.

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