Legal Ethics

Chicago Grad & BigLaw Alum Admits Altered Grades; 3-Year Suspension Sought

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Ironically, it was telling the truth about his law school grades that got Loren Friedman into trouble.

When he circulated his resumé, via a legal recruiter, to law firms in Illinois in 2007, he attached a copy of his University of Chicago Law School transcript. Seeing the proliferation of C grades on it, a partner at Sidley Austin wondered how Friedman had been hired there as a summer associate in 2002. The answer, as Friedman has since admitted: He had altered his U of C transcript, routinely whiting out his C grades and changing them to B grades, to get a summer job at Sidley, reports the Am Law Daily.

Friedman, who went on to clerk for a federal bankruptcy judge and work as a bankruptcy associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in Delaware, and Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York, self-reported the transcript issue to Illinois bar authorities after Sidley partners said they would do so if he didn’t. Now he is studying for a graduate degree in business management at the University of Illinois.

A lawyer arguing the case for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission had sought disbarment or an indefinite suspension of Friedman’s law license. However, his apparent remorse and strong testimonials from Friedman’s former law firm colleagues and classmates and friends helped persuade a hearing panel to recommend a three-year suspension instead, according to the Am Law Daily and the Legal Profession Blog. A final decision on the recommended suspension will be made by the Illinois Supreme Court.

In addition to altering his transcript by changing virtually every grade on it for the better, according to an IARDC report (PDF) filed yesterday, Friedman also failed to disclose in his U of C law school application that he had been dismissed from medical school because of poor academic performance. (He apologized for this omission to the law school dean in 2003.)

While still in law school, according to stipulated evidence discussed in the IARDC report, Friedman represented about seven paragraphs of another author’s work as his own in a paper submitted for a Law, Science and Medicine class in 2001. Friedman said it was a careless mistake and, believing it to be an isolated incident that didn’t rise to the level of intentional plagiarism, the law school dean did not convene a disciplinary committee.

Neither blog post includes any comment from Friedman or his lawyer. A message left by the ABA Journal for Samuel Manella, who reportedly represented Friedman at the hearing, was not immediately returned.

Earlier coverage: “U of C Law Grad Accused of Submitting Phony Grades to Sidley Austin”

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