February 2, 2012
A dozen law schools are being sued for failing to accurately report employment data, leaving many graduates with few job prospects and sizeable student debt.
The lawsuits seek tuition refunds for graduates from Albany Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Hofstra Law School, Widener University School of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, DePaul University College of Law, John Marshall School of Law, California Western School of Law, Southwestern Law School, University of San Francisco School of Law and Golden Gate University School of Law. Last year, three similar complaints were filed against Thomas M. Cooley Law School, New York Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
In a statement quoted by The Wall Street Journal, David Anziska, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said that some of the law schools were selected because of their size. Others were targeted because of their location in large metropolitan areas such as New York, California and Illinois. These cities, he explained, have "a massive oversupply of lawyers" and thus law graduates would be less likely to find employment there.
"We believe that some in the legal academy have done a disservice to the profession and the nation by saddling tens of thousands of young lawyers with massive debt for a degree worth far less than advertised," said Anziska, in a statement quoted by Bloomberg.
Anziska teamed up with lawyers from seven other law firms to file the lawsuits, which he said were on behalf of a total of 51 graduates.
"We believe the only way law schools will take us seriously is if many, many law schools are sued, and many, many graduates make their voices heard," he was quoted as saying by The Chronicle of Higher Education. He told reporters that the goal is "to sue 20 to 25 more schools every few months."
Law school officials disputed the claims. "Students are well aware of the realities of today's economy," said Connie Mayer, interim president and dean of Albany Law, in an email published by The Chronicle, "and we believe the information we provide during the admission process does not mislead our applicants."
Similarly, a spokesman for Widener who was quoted by The WSJ said that the institution "stands by its employment statistics and has provided the American Bar Association, our accrediting body, with truthful and accurate post-graduate employment data."
Recently, a committee from the American Bar Association recommended sweeping updates in the requirements for law schools to report job-related statistics.
Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman
"A Dozen Law Schools Hit with Lawsuits Over Jobs Data," blogs.wsj.com, February 1, 2012, Joe Palazzolo
"New York, Chicago Law Schools Among Group Sued by Graduates Over Job Data," bloomberg.com, February 1, 2012, Sophia Pearson and Phil Milford
"12 More Law Schools Face Lawsuits Over Job-Placement Claims," chronicle.com, February 1, 2012, Katherine Mangan