Willkie Farr & Gallagher co-chair Gordon Caplan has been put on leave from the firm after a highly publicized charge Tuesday that he paid $75,000 to have his daughter’s college test score fixed.
The firm announced Caplan’s leave of absence in a statement Wednesday that said he would have no further management responsibilities at Willkie.
“This is a personal matter and does not involve Willkie or any of its clients,” the firm said. “In light of the seriousness of the matter, Mr. Caplan has been placed on a leave of absence from the firm and will have no further firm management responsibilities. The firm will continue to be managed by its chairmen, Steven Gartner and Thomas Cerabino, and its executive committee. Our focus remains on our responsibilities to our clients, partners and employees.”
Caplan’s initial court appearance came Tuesday and he was released on a $500,000 bond, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Caplan was heard on federal wiretaps discussing the plan to have his daughter’s test scores adjusted by a test proctor before they were submitted, according to prosecutors’ court documents.
“I’m not worried about the moral issue here,” Caplan said, according to a wiretap transcript cited by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts. “I’m worried about the—if she’s caught doing that, you know, she’s finished.”
Patrick Smith, founding partner of Smith Villazor and an attorney for Caplan, declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday.
The complaint filed in the District of Massachusetts alleges that between 2011 and 2018, parents “paid approximately $25 million to bribe coaches and university administrators to designate their children as purported recruited athletes, or as members of other favored admissions categories, thereby facilitating the children’s admission to those universities.”