Sunday, May 29, 2011

2008 grad files class action against law school for deceptive employment stats

From the National Law Journal:

The debate over the accuracy of law school graduate employment statistics — or lack thereof — has moved into court.

A 2008 graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law filed a class action in California state court on May 26, alleging that the school committed fraud by misrepresenting the employment statistics for its recent graduates.

"For more than 15 years, TJSL has churned out graduates, many of whom have little or no hope of working as attorneys at any point in their careers," the complaint reads.

According to the complaint, plaintiff Anna Alaburda graduated with honors from the San Diego law school in 2008 and passed the California bar examination, but has been unable to secure full-time employment as an attorney. She sent more than 150 resumes to law firms and received only one job offer that was "less favorable than non-law related jobs that were available to her."

Alaburda has been working as a document reviewer on a project-by-project basis. She accrued more than $150,000 in student loans during her law school years, the complaint says.

Alaburda was lured to the school by statistics reported by U.S. News & World Report in 2003 indicating that 80% of its graduates were employed after nine months. She "reasonably interpreted these figures to mean that the vast majority of TJLS graduates would find employment as full time attorneys."

"The foregoing statistics were false, misleading, and intentionally designed to deceive all who read them," it reads.

In fact, the figures included all recent graduates who were in part-time jobs or non-legal jobs, which is how law schools calculate their "employed after nine months" figures for the American Bar Association and U.S. News, the complaint reads.

Continue reading the NLJ story here. More coverage via The Law School Transparency Project here.


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I don't think she will win this one. The U.S. News explanation of its rankings criteria says, "In the past, new J.D.s counted as employed at graduation and at nine months out if they were working full or part time in a legal or non-legal job or pursuing additional graduate school education after their J.D." In other words, in the year she graduated, the statistics included part time and non-legal jobs, and it said so clearly in the rankings explanation. While I would prefer that the statistics include only fulltime, legal jobs, there is no deception here.

Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | May 29, 2011 2:47:06 PM

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