ARDC Alleges False Statements On Law School Application and Bar Application

Normally I do not write about complaints filed by the ARDC because the allegations have not been proven. In this case, I have decided to report on the amended complaint in the matter of In Re Vincenzo Field, 2018 PR 00015 because it illustrates that a lie on a law school application never goes away. The two relevant counts are provided below. (There were other counts in which Mr. Field was accused of lying in various cases he handled.).

The first two counts contain these allegations:

Count I

1. Respondent received a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science from McGill University in May, 1998.
2. In October, 2005, Respondent registered to take the Law School Admission Test (“LSAT”) but cancelled taking the test. In December, 2005, Respondent took the LSAT and scored 158. In September, 2006, Respondent retook the LSAT and scored 173.1
3. In late 2005, Respondent applied for admission to the University of Chicago Law School, but was denied admission to the 2006 entering class.
1 LSAT scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly and range from 120 to 180.
4. On or about December 4, 2006, Respondent submitted a second application for admission to the Juris Doctor program at the University of Chicago Law School. The application requested that Respondent submit, among other things, a resume and candidate statement as part of the application process. Respondent submitted his personal statement and an addendum which purportedly addressed gaps in Respondent’s academic record.
5. In his personal statement addendum, Respondent stated that in 1999 he had been diagnosed with a leiomyosarcoma (a form of stomach cancer) that he had undergone four separate surgeries to have tumors removed from his stomach, as well as radiation therapy and what he referred to as “countless” minor procedures to stop gastric bleeding. Respondent stated that the disease delayed completion of his MA degree, stalled work in the McGill University Ph.D program, and forced his withdrawal from the University of Michigan, where he had taken courses as a visiting scholar toward completion of a doctoral degree.
6. In his personal statement addendum, Respondent further stated that although he had just undergone surgery in September, 2005 and was still receiving radiation therapy, he had sat for the October and December 2005 LSAT exams. Respondent explained that he was not healthy enough to have sat for the exams, but that in January, 2006, for the first time in six years, Respondent had been given a clean bill of health by his oncologist. As a result, he scored well on the LSAT, with a score of 173, and was finishing course work at the University of Michigan.
7. Respondent’s statements that he had been diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma were false.
8. Respondent knew the statements that he had been diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma were false because at no time prior to submission of his application to the law school had Respondent been diagnosed with or received treatment for leiomyosarcoma or any other cancer, nor did Respondent have an illness that affected his LSAT performance, and did not take the LSAT exam in October, 2005.
9. At the time Respondent submitted the false information in his application for admission to the University of Chicago Law School, Respondent knew the information was false and intended to mislead the law school in order to advance his chances for admission to the Law School.
10. Based upon Respondent’s false application to the University of Chicago Law School, Respondent was admitted to the school. At no time prior to the time he commenced his studies or since completion of his studies at the Law School did Respondent amend his application to provide truthful information to the Law School.
11. By reason of the conduct above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
  1. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, including, but not limited to Respondent’s false statement that he was diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma, had an illness that affected his LSAT performance and had taken the LSAT exam in October, 2005, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990).

Count II

13. On or about May 31, 2011, Respondent filed with the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, an agency of the Supreme Court of Illinois, both a character and fitness registration application (“application to the bar”) and a separate application to take the bar examination. Respondent’s applications to the Board of Admissions were made pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 703, which requires proof of an applicant’s course of law studies and fulfillment of the requirements for and receipt of a first degree in law from a law school approved by the American Bar Association, and Supreme Court Rule 704, which requires each applicant to file with the Board of Admissions to the Bar both a character and fitness registration application and separate application to take the bar exam.
14. Respondent’s application to the bar (“questionnaire”) requested answers to 55 questions relating to his character and his potential fitness to practice law. Respondent completed the application, but did not disclose his false statement in his application to the University of Chicago Law School that he was diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma.
15. Question 55 of the questionnaire asked the following: “Do you understand that after your Character and Fitness Registration Application is filed, you will have a continuous reporting obligation and must notify the Board of Admissions of any changes or additions to the information provided in your application? This includes, but is not limited to, address changes, employment changes, criminal charges, disciplinary actions (educational, employment or other), and traffic violations, including any parking tickets that are not paid upon receipt.”
16. Respondent answered “Yes” to Question 55 of the questionnaire.
17. Question 53 of the questionnaire asked the following: “Is there any additional information with respect to possible misconduct or lack of moral qualification or general fitness on your part that is not otherwise disclosed by your answers to questions in this application?”
18. Respondent answered “No” to question 53 of the questionnaire. At no time prior to the February 21, 2018 voting of a complaint by the members of Panel C of the Inquiry Board, did Respondent advise the Committee on Character and Fitness that he had submitted a false information in his application for admission to the University of Chicago Law School. At no time prior to his admission to the Bar in the State of Illinois did Respondent amend or change his answer to question 53 of the questionnaire to provide the Committee on Character and Fitness information about the false information he included in his application for admission to the University of Chicago Law School.
19. Respondent’s preparation of his application to the bar, his answer to question 53 of the questionnaire, and his failure to advise the Committee on Character and Fitness of his conduct in submitting the false information in his application for admission for University of Chicago Law School were false and Respondent knew that his conduct was false because his application for admission to the Illinois Bar contained material omissions which were intended to deceive the Committee on Character and Fitness in order to advance Respondent’s chances for admission to the Illinois Bar.
20. On or about May 31, 2011, Respondent submitted the questionnaire to the Committee on Character and Fitness together with the remainder of his application to the Illinois Bar. On or about November 10, 2011, Respondent was admitted in reliance on the entire application, which was not accurate.
21. As a result of the conduct set forth above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
  1. knowingly making a statement of fact known by the applicant to be false in his application to the Bar, and failing to update that information, including but not limited to Respondent’s failure to reveal his false statement that he was diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma in his law school application, in violation of Rule 8.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;
  2. failing to disclose a fact necessary to correct a material misapprehension in his application to the Bar, and failing to update that information, including but not limited to Respondent’s false statement that he was diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma in his law school application, in violation of Rule 8.1(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and
  3. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, including but not limited to Respondent’s failure to disclose his false statement that he was diagnosed with and received treatment for leiomyosarcoma in his law school application in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

Comment: Any reader should withhold judgment until the ARDC Hearing Board makes a factual finding.

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