A lawyer who had embellished her exam grades and thus got jobs in large law firms has been sentenced to nine months in prison on probation. The district court of Berlin-Tiergarten issued on Tuesday a corresponding penalty order for forgery of documents against the 44-year-old. However, from the court's point of view, there was no fraud, which the prosecution had initially assumed. No financial loss had been caused, the judge explained: The woman had always passed probationary periods, one could not speak of bad work.
The woman had significantly raised her state law exams and also her high school diploma with an image editing program – according to the indictment, she falsified her exam grades two grades better. Thanks to the embellished testimonies, the woman was employed by three major law firms – two in Berlin and one in Munich – between 2015 and 2020. She had been paid "a gross salary that corresponds to the fake grades, far above average," the indictment said.
The business lawyer had confessed to the fraud in court. She had made a "mistake that took on a life of its own," the woman said of her defender. After her exams, she was unsuccessful with more than 100 applications. With embellished grades, she then got jobs. The applications were submitted electronically. "It went great, I think I was good," the woman said. After she was discovered in August 2020, she waived her right to be admitted to the bar of her own accord. I apologize.
The public prosecutor's office had brought charges of commercial fraud and forgery of documents with an alleged damage totaling almost 640,000 euros. After a legal discussion between the parties to the proceedings, the court went into a so-called penalty order procedure. The presiding judge already wrote in the opening order that it could be problematic to assume fraud. The woman can appeal against the penalty order.