A Credit to the Profession: Finally, A Lawyer Who Knows How to Plead Guilty and Apologize with One Nit

Gordon Caplan, former partner (and co-chair) at the Wilkie Farr & Gallagher law firm said in disclosing his plannedplea, “the remorse and shame that I feel is more than I can convey. I apologize not only to my family, friends, colleagues and the legal bar, but also to students everywhere who have been accepted to college through their own hard work.”

Taped phone conversations between Mr. Caplan and Rick Singer, the jogging-suited mastermind behind the national web of paid-for college admissions (and who has also entered a guilty plea), were devastating for any possible defense. Mr. Singer told Mr. Caplan, in exchange for $75,000, to have his daughter “be stupid” in a psychological evaluation in order to qualify for a learning disability that meant she could take the college entrance exam over two days at a testing center in California. Mr. Singer had a test administrator at that center on his pay roll who would then fix the test with the right answers. Mr. Singer told Mr. Caplan, “She will think that she’s really super smart, and she got lucky on a test, Does that make sense?” Mr. Caplan responded, “That does.” Well, it seemed to make sense at the time. In hindsight, it is difficult to believe that Mr. Caplan was American Lawyer’s 2018 “Dealmaker of the Year.” He missed a few loopholes on this deal for his daughter.

One nit, the Barometer has is that Mr. Caplan also said in his statements on his planned plea and apology that his daughter knew nothing about the scheme. As the Barometer reads the taped phone conversations in the criminal complaint, the then-high school junior had to participate at some level in the psychological evaluation. She may not have known about the $75,000, but she was part of using a system with testing exceptions that has left mile-wide gaps for gaming.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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