Prospective law students look at a multitude of factors before deciding which school to attend. Some of these factors include prestige, scholarships, location, quality of professors etc. However, the most important statistic for most law students is the percentage of graduates that are employed soon. Thus, these students expect that the school's published graduate employment statistics are accurate.
In October attorneys Jesse Strauss and David Anziska announced their intention to file a class action lawsuit against 15 law schools, in addition to their 2 impending lawsuits against Cooley and Law New York School of Law, according to an article on abovethelaw.com
Furthermore, Anziska said last December that the attorneys had secured at least three named plaintiffs to oppose 11 of the 15 law school defendants.
Now in February the case of the students against these law schools has got all the more interesting as 6 additional law firms have joined the litigation and 12 additional lawsuits have been filed.
And as of today class action lawsuits have been filed against 15 different law schools for reporting allegedly deceptive employment data.
The additional 12 schools facing lawsuits, and their reported post-graduate employment rates are:
- Albany Law School (reports rates of between 91% and 97%);
- Brooklyn Law School (reports rates of between 91% and 98%);
- California Western School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 93%);
- Chicago-Kent College of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 97%);
- DePaul University College of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 98%);
- Florida Coastal School of Law (reports rates of between 80% and 95%);
- Golden Gate University School of Law (reports rates of 85% nine months after graduation);
- Hofstra Law School (reports rates of between 94% and 97%);
- John Marshall School of Law (Chicago) (reports rates of between 90% and 100%);
- Southwestern Law School (reports rates of between 97% and 98%);
- University of San Francisco School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 95%);
- Widener University School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 96%).
Also, only one of the aforementioned schools, Southwestern Law School, actually disclosed the number of 2010 graduates who found employment for which bar passage was required.
According to last week's press release: Each lawsuit has been filed by multiple law school graduates as representative plaintiffs. The suits allege that many of the schools inflated graduate employment rates by employing their own graduates to temporary administrative jobs and counting graduates in non-legal related jobs as employed even though such jobs do not require a law degree.
The plaintiffs further allege that the average graduate salaries are also misleading as a result of a few high earning graduates. Thus, the plaintiffs allege that they remained enrolled at their respective schools only to find themselves immersed in debt and left with limited opportunities in an oversaturated legal job market.
The goal of these lawsuits in transparency. Strauss believes that these law schools have a duty to report accurate employment statistics so as not to mislead incoming students who invest a great deal of money and time to these institutions.
Finally, Strauss says that law schools are starting to more accurately display employment data to prospective law students. And, as a result, today's law students are better informed than law students were just a few years ago.
Nonetheless, Strauss believes that the named plaintiffs in these cases believe to be compensated.
It will be interesting to see what the possible remedy would be if any of these lawsuits ultimately succeed. Whether it be reimbursement of tuition expenses and other related expenses compensatory damages or possibly even punitive damages if these courts find that the law schools committed fraud.
What do you think?
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