Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New York Law School Wins Round One In Stunning Fraud Case Brought By Former Students

Gomez-Jimenez et al v. New York Law School, ___Misc. 3d____, 2012 NY Slip Op (N.Y. Co. March 21, 2012), is a case that every, and I mean every, law school adminstrator must read. In fact, prospective law students, as well as law professors in general, should review this decision as well. 

The case was brought by nine former law students. Interestingly, they did not challenge the quality of the education they received. Instead, they alleged that New York Law School engage in unfair and fraudlent practices, fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. 

In a scholarly opinion, full of cites to articles and an exhaustive review of case law, the court in a thirty-page decision dismisses each claim one by one and grants New York Law School's motion to dismiss.

Plaintiffs' theory was that New York Law School published misleading employment statistics which plaintiffs' relied upon. In rejecting this claim, the court viewed the plaintiffs as educated consumers and pointed to the poor job market for lawyers as reflected in their papers.

Apparently, plaintiffs believe that New York Law School statistics were misleading because it included all employment whether or not someone was working in a legally related job and whether the person was working full-time, temporary or part-time. Their claim is a bit hard to determine from a bare reading of the decision. In any event, the court concluded that New York Law School did not make any misrepresentation because they did not state in their published statistics that these statistics only represented full-time employment.

Frankly, I believe that is quiet a stretch. It is entirely reasonable for a law student to assume that statistics published on a school web site refer to full-time employment. Most law students do not go to law school in order to seek part-time employment when they graduate.

The court also gives significant weight to U.S. News Law School rankings and assumes that they are accurate. The court explains that because New York Law School does not rank high, plaintiffs could have evaluated this when deciding whether or not to chose New York Law School. The court states:

"One would think that reasonable consumers, armed with publicly available information from U.S. News that plaintiffs cite, thus would avail themselves of plaintiffs' own logic as stated in their complaint when it comes to evaluating their chances of obtaining the full-time legal job of their choice within nine months post-graduation."

What!! Even assuming that U.S. News is the bible, and it surely isn't even close, the U.S. News rankings is based upon several criteria. The U.S. News is not a placement bulletin. Also, the court is assuming that higher ranked schools have better placement rates. That may be true, but courts should not be in the business of making assumptions.

The court also errs, in my view, by stating that "before 2008 there was a seeming abundance of opportunities for lawyers at all points of entry into the profession, regardless of the law school one attended. . . " The court does not cite any authority for this proposition. I have been a lawyer for quite some time and the market has been quite difficult for lawyers as well as law students for quite some time-both before and after 2008. 

The court's most significant error is that because of the changing nature of legal practice "[m]andatory retirement ages are coming down." Excuse me, but mandatory retirement has been per se unlawful under the ADEA for years. 

To be fair, the also court makes some vaild points about the Great Recession of 2008 which is when most plaintiffs were in school. The decision is also well written. Plaintiffs also had a high bar to cross given the elements of each cause of action they had to prove.

I do not express any opinion about whether or not any of these mistakes are material enough to warrant an appeal. I have been an adjunct  faculty member at New York Law School for about 7 years and I do not know any of the players involved in this case-at least I don't think so. I can honestly say that everyone I ever met at New York Law School, including faculty and students, always appeared sincere and honest. I do not believe for one minute that New York Law School would intentionally or negligent mislead any student.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein   


New York Law School Press Release, here

New York Law Journal Article, here (registration required)


March 21, 2012 in Law Schools, Law Schools, News, Law Schools, Rankings, Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (7)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2d Circuit Upholds Rule That Correspondence Law School Graduates Are Not Eligible To Sit For Bar

Bazadier v. McAlary, ___F.3d___(2d Cir. Feb. 16, 2012), is an important case which has gotten little press. The 2d Circuit upheld New York's bar admission rules which effectively bar graduates of law school correspondence and online schools from sitting for the New York bar examination. The case was brought by a California attorney who was fully licensed.

The decision is unreported and not particularly well written. One would have thought that a decision involving this important issue would have generated more attention by the court. The plaintiff challenged the court rules on Equal Protection and First Amendment grounds. In rejecting those arguments, the court stated:

 First, the district court properly concluded that, because Bazadier’s claims do notimplicate a fundamental right or a suspect class, they should be analyzed under rational basisreview. See Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 169-70 (2d Cir. 2010). The challenged Rules,Sections 520.3 and 520.5(a) of Title 22 of the New York Compilation of Rules and Regulations,which effectively bar a graduate of a correspondence law school from taking the New York barexamination, are not based upon the content of the instruction provided by a law school and donot favor or disfavor any form of speech on the ideas or views expressed. Rather, the Rules areoccupational regulations that express a preference for one form of legal pedagogy over another.Second, the district court properly concluded that, based on the State’s argument thatcorrespondence-based study offers less assurance that a graduate has received a legal educationthat is adequate for membership to the bar, the Rules had a rational relation to the State’slegitimate interest in protecting the public from an incompetent bar. See In re Griffiths, 413 U.S.717, 725 (1973) (“[A] State [has] a substantial interest in the qualifications of those admitted tothe practice of law . . . .”); see also People v. Alfani, 227 N.Y. 334, 339 (1919) (“The reason whypreparatory study, educational qualifications, experience, examination and license by the courtsare required, is not to protect the bar . . . but to protect the public.”). Bazadier failed to “negativeevery conceivable basis” upon which the Rules could be upheld. Lewis v. Thompson, 252 F.3d567, 582 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, the district courtproperly dismissed Bazadier’s equal protection claim based on his First Amendment right offreedom of speech.Finally, we concluded that the district court properly found that Bazadier had failed tostate a claim based on an infringement of his First Amendment right of freedom of associationfor the reasons stated in its decision and order. Accordingly, because Bazadier’s complaint failed to state a claim for relief, the district court properly dismissed it without first grantingleave to amend.

What I have always found interesting about New York's rules is that you do not even have to be a law school graduate to sit for the bar. As I understand it, you have to only go to one year of law school and then work as an apprentice for a lawyer. I actually know someone who has done this and he is a first rate lawyer. Therefore, I fail to understand the rationale for not allowing correspondence or online classes. If the student can pass the bar, that is what should count in my mind. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein






February 28, 2012 in Bar Association Matters, Law Students, Lawyer Employment, Lawyers, Legal News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Don't Cheat On The Bar

Matter of Dewitt v. NYS Board of Law Examiners, ____A.D.3d___(3rd Dep't. Dec. 29, 2011), is one of those decisions which you cannot make up. A student was found to have cheated on the bar exam and his exam was nullified. Guess what, he sues. The 3rd Department, in rejecting his lawsuit, explained:

 We must disagree with petitioner's contention that the determination is not supported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is defined as "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact" (Matter of Berenhaus v Ward[*2]70 NY2d 436, 443 [1987] [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]; see 300 Gramatan Ave. Assoc. v State Div. of Human Rights, 45 NY2d 176, 179 [1978]; Matter of Goldsmith v DeBuono, 245 AD2d 627, 628 [1997]). Here, a proctor testified that she observed petitioner repeatedly craning her neck to look at the exam of the candidate seated next to her during the multiple choice session on the first day of the exam. The same proctor and her three supervisors all testified that they observed petitioner doing the same thing on the second day. Respondent also offered expert proof of strong statistical evidence that petitioner succeeded in copying answers from the other candidate. Although petitioner denied copying and presented her own expert proof challenging the statistical evidence against her, the resolution of conflicting evidence and determination of the witnesses' credibility are within the sole province of respondent and will not be disturbed (see Matter of Rogers v Sherburne-Earlville Cent. School Dist., 17 AD3d 823, 824 [2005]; Matter of Mirrer v Hevesi, 4 AD3d 722, 723-724 [2004]; Doolittle v McMahon, 245 AD2d 736, 738 [1997]).

The more interesting legal question is whether this applicant should be permitted to sit for the bar examinination in the future. I think not, but who am I? Moral of the story. Don't cheat.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


February 25, 2012 in Law Students, Lawyers | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Basketball Career Backup Plan-Law School!!

We all know that the chances of making it professional sports are remote. A career may even be cut short because of a labor dispute. So, it is of course, wise to have a back up plan. But how many professional players have a back up plan. Well, here is a story about one who does.  Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons back-up plan is to attend law school. An ABA Journal Blog article is available here. A copy of a Detroit News article which provides further details is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

July 22, 2011 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So You Want To Be A Lawyer

Is Law School A Losing Game?, is an important Jan. 8, 2011 NY Times article that everyone thinking of law school should read. It describes the terrible job prospects new lawyers face and questions whether law school is worth it since so manner graduate with unheard of amounts of debt. 

My take is a bit different. You should not be going to law school for the money. You should be going to law school because you want to learn to think like a lawyer and you want to be a lawyer period. The jobs will come- when the economy gets better. I know it is easy for me to say this, but the fact of the matter is that is you want to be a lawyer you have to go to law school.

Though many new graduates are unemployed, many many graduates do find jobs-good jobs. But students should go into this with their eyes wide open. That is why it is important to read the above article.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

January 9, 2011 in Colleges, Law Schools, Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Text Book Inflation

The cost of college and law school textbooks is unbelievably high and it gets little attention. The Albany Times Union published an important newspaper article documenting this fact of university life. The article points out that publishers will not have to make additional cost disclosure options available; however I doubt that will mean anything.  As the article states: 


Now, there is some relief for students who pay hundreds of dollars every semester. A provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 took effect this month.


The first direct federal action to address textbook prices could help lower student costs by creating more competition and breaking the tight control publishers have on the textbook market.

Publishers are now required to disclose prices and revision information when marketing textbooks to professors, which will allow them to choose lower-cost options. Publishers now are required to offer all of the items in textbook bundles for sale separately so students won't be forced to pay for CDs or passcodes they don't need. Colleges are now also encouraged to provide the list of assigned textbooks for each course so students can shop around for the best deal.

Read more:

Some relief will come when electronic texts are used in all classes. However, something tells me that those texts will not be much cheaper than the traditional books. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


November 8, 2010 in Colleges, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Does It Pay To Get An LL.M?

The Wall Street Law Journal Blog ran an interesting story on September 20, 2010, here, questioning whether an LL.M degree was worth it. The article seemed to concluded that it generally was not worth it unless the student was interested in a highly specialized field such as tax.  

I tend to agree. Also, the academic job market has become so competitive that I am sorry to report that an LL.M is not enough to land a law school or even a college teaching job in most competitive markets (where everyone wants to work). If your interested in a full time academic appointment, your looking at a J.S.D. or P.hd degree. That is the reality of todays world.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

September 25, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Study Claims That Grades Are More Important Than The Law School

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported on July 30th about a study which indicated that grades were more important than the particular law school chosen by the student. As the article states:

 Go to the best law school you get into.

It’s advice that’s been passed down through the ages, from generation to generation. Law is a profession that trades, the thinking goes, on prestige. Clients like prestigious names like Wachtell and Cravath; the wealthiest firms like names like Harvard, Yale and Chicago. Get into one of those schools, and up go your chances of going to a big firm, kicking tail, making partner and grabbing that brass ring.

Or so the conventional wisdom has for decades dictated.

But is it true? In a new paper, UCLA law professor Richard Sander and Brooklyn law professorJane Yakowitz argue no. “Eliteness” of the school you attended matters much less, they found, than your GPA.

I for one still believe that a student should go to the best law school they could get into. Then get the best grades that you can. I do not know how you can separate grades from school. I think it would not be reasonable for a student to chose a lower ranked school because he or she "thinks" that he or she may get better grades at a lower ranked school.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip: Neil J. Dudich, Esq.

August 6, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Schools, News, Law Schools, Rankings, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Law Student Sets Up Pay Pal Account To Accept Tuition Donations

Here is a new one. A law student, actually a accepted student to Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set up a web site and is seeking donations for her tuition. So far, she had gotten 3 donations. An article about this student in the ABA New Journal Now is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 26, 2010 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Law Students Push For Transparency In Law School Employment Data

The ABA Journal News Now reported on two law students who are pushing for transparency in law school employment data. They published a scholarly article on the this topic (and cited Adjunct Law Prof Blog) which is available on SSRN. They also maintain a web site. This is a serious issues that schools need to pay attention to. It is also an important issue and the U.S. News ranking data is based, in part, on employment stats.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 17, 2010 in Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bar Exam Apps

You new it had to be coming. There are now bar exams apps for the iphone. A company called BarMax makes one for the California Bar and it is not cheap. It is over $1,000. BAR/BRI also offers an app, but the students must be enrolled in the their course. Emanuel Bar review also makes a series of apps at $12.99 each. You can read more about it in the May 2010 ABA Journal.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 24, 2010 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

St. John's Law School Announces Boyd Scholarship Winner

SJ_Logo SJU masthead

I am delighted to be a member of the Board of Advisors at St. John's Law School's Center for Labor and Employment Law. The Center has several important events planned. On June 2, 2010, the Honorable Wilma Liebman, Chairman of the NLRB, will speak at the Center’s official opening.On June 3-4, the Center will co-sponsor, with the Cornell University ILR School, NYU Law’s 63rd Annual Conference on Labor. Other events planned include:

September 16, 2010, - Professor Jack Getman, the Earle E. Sheffield Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, will discuss his new book: Restoring the Power of Unions: It Takes A Movement
• September 22, 2010 – The Center will host the Law School’s 14th Annual Management Lawyers’ Colloquium
• March 18-19, 2011 - The Center, in cooperation with the St. John’s Center for Law and Religion, will host The Theology of Work and the Dignity of Workers symposium conference (8 CLE credits available)*
• July 20-23, 2011 - In cooperation with the Law School’s Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and Center for International and Comparative Law, the Center will convene the symposium conference Labor and Employment Dispute Resolution: International and Comparative Perspectives (20 CLE credits available)

One of the core purposes of the Center is to support our students through scholarships and internship opportunities. One such scholarship is The Boyd Scholarship (2010). It is funded through the generosity of Patrick Boyd ’00, senior partner of the Boyd Law Group. This scholarship supports the summer employment of a law student committed to employee rights. The first winner is:

Shazana Zumpfe-Cochran ’12
Inaugural Boyd Scholar for Labor and Employment Law
BBA, Baruch 2005

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 18, 2010 in Law Schools, News, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some Washington Area Law Schools Are Trying To Help Students Get Summer Jobs

The March 16, 2010 Blog of the Legal Times reported that some Washington area law schools are taking steps to help students obtain summer employment. Unfortunately, the article is short on details. It does describe one school that his increasing a fund to presumably fund summer jobs and increasing access to the law school for recruiters.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

April 27, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So You Want To Be A Law Clerk

Crunching Clerks is an excellent Feb. 2010 ABA Journal article which highlights something I was totally unaware of. Today it is much more difficult for law students to find jobs as law clerks. Why? Because of the poor economy. Quite simply some jurisdictions are cutting down on the number of people they hire.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 13, 2010 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Study: Minority Law Student Numbers Dip as Law School Capacity Rises

The percentage of African-American and Mexican-American students enrolled in law school dipped between 1993 and 2008, even as overall law school capacity rose across the country, according to a study released Tuesday by Columbia Law School's Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic. Over the 15-year period, the study found that there was a 7.5 percent decrease of African-American first-year students and 11.7 percent drop of Mexican-American first-years.

The American Lawyer Jan. 7, 2010

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 17, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Berkeley and Georgetown Law Announce Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Karen Sloan (National Law Journal) reported last weekend that law schools at UC-Berkely and Georgetown are offering to forgive law school debts for graduates who commit to work in public interest law for at least 10 years.  

Sloan reports that the programs are tied to recently enacted federal legislation designed to assist debt-laden college students:

The loan forgiveness programs at Georgetown and Berkeley are designed to complement the College Cost Reduction & Access Act — a federal program intended to help borrowers manage their student debt that went into effect in July. The federal program is especially helpful for public interest workers, because the government will forgive the loan balance after the borrower has made payments for 10 years. Loan forgiveness applies to lawyers working at nonprofit organizations, government agencies and legal aid organizations.

Under the income-based repayment portion of the new federal program, monthly loan payments are capped at about 10% of the borrower's income, which is important because public interest lawyers generally make far less than their counterparts at law firms. A survey last year by the National Association for Law Placement found that public interest attorneys can expect starting salaries of about $41,000.

Both Berkeley and Georgetown will pay the entirety of those capped monthly payments for 10 years, until the federal government forgives the debt.

The program does not offer full coverage for graduates in public interest law making high salaries.  Full coverage is available Berkeley graduates making up to $65,000 annual salary and to Georgetown graduates making up to $75,000 annual salary.  Graduates earning more receive loan assistance on a sliding scale to around $100,000 in annual salary.  Sloan further reports that the program is funded by alumni donations at Georgetown and student fees at Berkeley.  

With the economy in recession, law school costs rising and the demonstrated need for attorneys committed to public interest work as strong as ever, these loan forgiveness programs look like they can't miss.

Craig Estlinbaum

December 3, 2009 in Announcements, Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Careers In Education Law

The National School Board Association has an excellent web site, as well as a brochure, here,where they describe careers in school law. That web site is available here.  The web site summarizes potential school law or what I prefer to call education law, careers as follows:

Most public school districts are multi-million dollar entities. The school attorney (whether in private practice or as an employee of the district) acts as corporate counsel, and advises the school board and the school administration on contract and general business affairs, human resource and collective bargaining issues, state and federal constitutional provisions, state and federal statutory issues, and case law that may impose liability on the school district. School attorneys represent kindergarten through 12th grade elementary, middle, or secondary level public schools, but some also advise community colleges and universities.

On any given day, the school attorney might find himself/herself advising a public school board client about separation of church and state issues such as the constitutionality of teaching “intelligent design” and/or evolution; investigating an allegation of sexual harassment of a student by a school staff member; meeting with a committee of school personnel and parents about the educational programming of a student with a disability; arguing a case about student dress codes in federal court; or researching and drafting a school board policy on state open meetings laws. School attorneys have the opportunity to be involved in some of the most significant legal issues of our time.

I would add that there is tremendous opportunity for students truly interested in education law because most law schools do not focus on it. Thus, it is often off the radar. However, both large and small law firms represent districts. There are opportunities to work in labor unions, advocacy organizations as well as the school district irtitself. The NYC Department of Education, for example, employs hundreds of attorneys. The Newark Board of Education employs large numbers of attorneys as well.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

December 2, 2009 in Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, November 13, 2009

West Puts Law Books On Kindle

West recently announced that it is releasing e-book editions of 29 of its most popular law books. The releases include the book co-authored by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia legal wordsmith Bryan Garner, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. West is offering the titles for electronic download to be read on Amazon's Kindle e-book reader. Recently, Amazon dropped the price of the U.S. version of the Kindle by $40 to $259.

A sign of the times. Sounds like a good idea to me. Will save everyone money.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

November 13, 2009 in Blogs, Legal, Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So You Want To Be A U.S. Supreme Court Clerk

The Oct. 2009 ABA Journal has a very interesting article entitled Shedding Tiers. It describes how the job of Supreme Court Clerk is usually limited to graduates of the top 5 law schools. Justice Scalia was even quoted as such. The article, however, discusses the case of Lucas Townsend who graduate Seton Hall Law School and was hired as a law clerk to Justice Alito.

Justice Alito worked as a adjunct for years at Seton Hall before he was nominated to the Supreme Court. I wonder if Mr. Townsend was one of his students.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

November 5, 2009 in Law Schools, Law Students, Lawyers, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Plagiarism Scanner

Here is a new one. A company actually is marketing a plagiarism scanner. It can be used by students or profs. It only seems to scan the internet so it is of limited utility for lawyers and law professors. A link to it can be found here.

It is questionable that such a program can be of any use to a student (college or law student) as they have no need to check if something they wrote was improper. I can see profs making some use out of this service because they can check on students. I suppose journals and tenure committees could also make use of such a scanner to check on the profs. 

A plagiarism scan does not come cheap, but it is not overly expensive either. The prices are as follows:

       Personal - 10,000 words, $14.95

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

October 21, 2009 in College Professors, Law Professors, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (2)