Law Students

Law School Employees on the Wrong Side of the Law
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Law school professors and deans nationwide have been arrested  for a variety of charges.

Summary: Law schools nationwide have suffered various scandals, from deans being arrested for soliciting prostitutes to professors secretly recording women in a changing room. Some of the most egregious crimes that these professors and law school deans have committed are described below.

According to the National Law Journal, several law school faculty members and administrators around the country have gotten into trouble with the law, bringing much unwanted attention to these schools.


These incidents are rare, however. Those who are teaching students to uphold the law as they enter the legal profession typically stay out of trouble. Therefore, whenever an incident involving crime or other scandalous acts touches a law school, news outlets jump all over it.

According to Deborah Rhode, a Stanford Law ethics professor, law schools want to provide a “climate of integrity” on their campuses. This means that misconduct allegations are thoroughly investigated and that faculty members follow legal ethics rules, as well as university codes of conduct.

In addition, these schools must be cautious when responding to a scandal. Rhode explained, “You want to make sure you adhere to appropriate procedural safeguards because individual reputations are at issue.”

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In the past week, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law’s John Attanasio, a professor and the former dean of the law school, was arrested in Frisco, Texas for a prostitution-related charge. He was released on February 1 on a $500 bond. So far, the school has stayed quiet about the arrest. A spokesman for the law school said that Attanasio was not currently teaching and that Southern Methodist will “gather information and follow university procedure to determine any appropriate action under its policies in such matters.”

Southern Methodist University is not alone in its scandal, of course. Villanova University School of Law’s Mark Sargent, a former dean, resigned after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that he was involved in a prostitution investigation. Sargent was never charged with a crime, but he was later suspended from the practice of law for reporting inflated numbers about the incoming classes at the school to U.S. News & World Report.

Read more about the data scandal here.

At the University of Florida Levin College of Law, a former associate dean named John Patrick Shannon resigned back in 2006 after law enforcement raided his home and office as part of an investigation into online child exploitation. He was charged with two counts of child abuse and was sentenced to house arrest and probation. Shannon also gave up his law license. According to, Shannon offered advice in emails and online chats about how to give a child extra medication to take advantage of the kid more easily. However, since he was charged with child abuse, he will not be required to register as a sex offender.

Which one of these incidents is the most shocking?

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At the University of California Berkeley School of Law, Dean John Dwyer resigned after a student accused him of sexual harassment in 2002.  The LA Times reports that the student accused Dwyer of fondling her and undressing her while she was passed out after drinking too much. Dwyer admitted to sexual relations with the student, but argued that it was consensual. Dwyer is now employed with a private law firm in San Francisco.

At Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Dean Lawrence Mitchell stepped down last year after accusations surfaced that he retaliated against a professor who brought up concerns of supposed sexual misconduct. Mitchell remains on the school’s faculty. Business Insider explains that Raymond Ku, a tenured professor at the school, filed a complaint that he suffered retaliation because he was against “Dean Mitchell’s unlawful discriminatory practice of sexually harassing females in the law school community.” The complaint also alleged that Mitchell called himself a “dictator.”

Read more about the Case Western incident here.

The University of Miami School of Law suffered a scandal in 2007 when professor Donald Jones was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. However, the case was dropped and Jones’ record was expunged. According to CBS, Jones offered to pay an undercover officer posing as a prostitute $20 for oral sex. After he was arrested, Jones allegedly said he was “just a horny guy.”

At the University of Connecticut School of Law, Ronald Murphy, an adjunct professor, was also arrested in a prostitution sting.  While the school reviewed the case, he was placed on administrative leave. According to, he was also charged with interfering with a police officer.

Georgetown University Law Center was also the center of local media when Rabbi Bernard “Barry” Freundel, a professor, was accused of secretly recording women in the synagogue where he worked. JDJournal previously reported that the professor used an assignment in his Jewish Studies class to get the girls to undress at his synagogue.

Source: National Law Journal

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