Law Firms

Willkie Farr co-chair placed on leave after he's charged in college cheating case

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Gordon Caplan

Gordon Caplan. Photo from Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Gordon Caplan, the New York City-based co-chairman of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, has been placed on leave a day after he was accused of paying $75,000 to bribe an exam proctor to boost his daughter’s ACT score.

Caplan was among 50 people charged Tuesday in the alleged bribery scheme. Prosecutors alleged that a college prep company known as the Key funneled bribes to exam proctors and college coaches. The proctors changed exam scores or facilitated cheating, while the coaches designated applicants as athletes deserving admission.

Other parents charged in the alleged scheme included actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

Caplan was caught on wiretaps discussing the scheme with a witness who later cooperated in the probe. The witness assured Caplan that his daughter would be unaware that her test had been doctored.

Willkie Farr emphasized in a statement released Wednesday that the matter does not involve Willkie or any of its clients.

“In light of the seriousness of the matter,” the statement said, Caplan “has been placed on a leave of absence and will have no further management responsibilities. The firm will continue to be managed by its co-chairmen, Steven Gartner and Thomas Cerabino, and its executive committee. Our focus remains on our responsibilities to our clients, partners and employees.”

Caplan has been removed from the law firm’s website.

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