Law Grads Sue Law Schools over Skewed Employment Figures

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Law school alums facing a tough job market are suing their alma maters. At least 15 individual class action law suits have been filed by a total of 73 law school grads who allege that the schools falsely inflated graduate employment rates. 

The suits allege the schools inflated the data, in part, by employing their own graduates in temporary jobs and counting graduates working in non-legal-related jobs and part-time and temporary jobs as employed.  “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,” stated David Anziska, on behalf of Plaintiffs’ counsel.

The suits also allege that the schools inflated salary data as well.

Attorney Jesse Strauss, who represents some of the plaintiffs who filed the suits, said inflated employment and salary figures pushed more students to go to law school. He argues that if they knew job figures for recent law school grads were weak and they were unlikely to get a job when they graduated, they might not have decided to plunk all that tuition down.  Law school can cost upwards of $75-thousand dollars including living expenses.

Schools being sued include four in New York, including Albany Law School, Union University, Brooklyn Law School, and Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.  New York Law School was named in another suit.

The law schools say they complied with all the standards of their trade association, the National Bar Association and other legal trade groups.

“We adhere to the reporting guidelines set by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) and the American Bar Association, which set the standards for measuring employment data for accredited law schools nationwide,” said a spokeswoman for Hoftra Law School.

Albany Law School also defended its statistics as following American Bar Association guidelines, along with those set by the National Association for Legal Career Professionals. 

“The plaintiffs have been clear in their true goal to remedy a systemic reporting issue across legal education and are using a class action suit to force institutional change,” Connie Mayer, Interim President and Dean of Albany Law School said in a statement.

Still, Strauss said that complying with trade group standards is not enough.  “Their defense is that they’re somehow allowed by their trade association to report employment and salary data in a misleading way,” said Strauss.  “You can’t have a trade association pass regulations that immunizes schools from fraud.”

Update: According to the National Association for Law Placement, the phrase used in the article by Albany Law School is a tagline and not the Association’s name. It should read NALP: the Association for Legal Career Professionals.


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Comments [5]

Political Pop from am

y cant we be like Syria? Why do americans accept what is given to us?

Feb. 11 2012 03:52 PM
NABNYC from SoCal

I've been an attorney for a long, long, long time. When I decided to go to law school I realized it would cost a lot of money, much of which I would have to borrow and pay back over a period of 10 years.

I assumed I would make more as an attorney than I would in my then-job as a low-level flunky in an ad agency, and, with hindsight, that was a legitimate assumption.

I never thought I would get rich and, sadly, that also turned out to be true.

During my long, long, long years as an attorney, there have been good times and bad, although I can no longer remember the good times so there mustn't have been too many of them. I think they involved drinking at work and getting wasted after yet another exhausting and brutal week. There have been periods of unemployment. At least one of my opposing counsel committed suicide. I did not believe it was the result of anything I had done, but there were whispers.

I have worked for people who are psychopaths, cruel and sadistic, people who humiliate others for fun and brag about the victims who recoiled from the verbal assault, stumbled from the office clutching their chests, collapsed outsid their door, and died. Ahh, those were the good old days.

I have a hard time feeling sorry for people who want to sue a professional school because the graduate can't find a job. This isn't an institutional failure. It's just that the Republicans looted the treasury, Wall Street stole every penny most Americans had,and now we're all poor. There are no jobs. Don't take it personally. Join the rest of us. Get a blanket, a tin cup, a shelter dog and a piece of cardboard. Write on the cardboard "will work for food" then come join the rest of us and quit whining.

A representation that a certain percentage of students find work is not a guarantee that it will happen each year. Nobody except Wall Street and the politicians they own could have and did anticipate the worldwide depression that they would cause from their criminal financial enterprise. These students are victims? So are the rest of us. Live with your parents, don't pay your student loans, get a job selling coffee and wait it out.

If you want to be productive, you might ask yourself where law is headed. I anticipate the barriers to women will finally come down, along with the salaries. Other than the elite few wall street firms, being an attorney will become a woman's job, meaning low-paid, dead-end and miserable. I see salaries plummeting. I saw a full-time job offered at $36,000/year. I actually saw a listing for a part-time attorney to work in a firm for $12/hour. A legal secretary makes $80,000/year. Maybe instead of whining about law school, you should learn to type and go get a good job: as a secretary.

Feb. 06 2012 05:09 PM
Political Pop from America

well its about fing time grads did something........ college students hold more power than anyone in united states right now they all have at least some type of updated brains to figure things out together rather than a group of neighbors these days. there should be more college students using thier heads these days

Feb. 06 2012 01:57 PM

If you have been accused of taking someone else's personal information, you need to know that it is vital that you hire an identity theft defense attorney. Whether or not you are guilty, these are very serious accusations and carry strict penalties and fines. In fact, this is considered a federal offense, and thus you need a lawyer with experience in federal crimes.

Feb. 06 2012 06:30 AM
Louis from Brooklyn, NY

Granted going to graduate school is a choice, however there must be accountability on the part of the law school. You cannot charge an outrageous tuition, provide no resources to the students, and leave them high and dry in debt without a job.

Attending a graduate program isn't just about furthering your knowledge, it's about choosing a career path. The schools know why their students are there. It's time colleges and universities are held responsible for their actions. They cannot hide behind the curtain of calling themselves an "educational institution" while making money like a corporation.

Feb. 05 2012 01:17 PM

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