Class action lawsuits were recently filed in five states against a number of law schools, adding to the number of lawsuits pending against law schools throughout the Country. The suits allege that the law schools inflated employment data, causing students to enroll in the law schools, only to later discover, after incurring mountains of student debt, that their job prospects were severely limited. There are currently fifty-one plaintiffs and twelve lawsuits. Among the law schools being sued are New York Law School, Brooklyn Law School, University of San Francisco and Albany Law School. Some of the law schools filed motions to dismiss and oral arguments are expected in the coming months.
Not surprisingly, the law schools stand by their employment data, claiming that it comports with the standards set out by the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement (“NALP”). NALP for its part maintains that its statistics are accurate.
The claimants’ attorney contends that many recent graduates either lie on the NALP questionnaire, claiming to be employed when they are not, or they do not fill out the form at all. The attorney bases his much lower percentage of employed graduates on the assumption that only those recent graduates that listed their salaries on the questionnaire are the ones who are actually employed. The attorney also contends that some law schools hide their graduates’ dismal employment data by hiring their own graduates for temporary work or by claiming as “employed” recent graduates working in non-legal jobs.
One of the plaintiffs, a recent graduate of Brooklyn Law School, asserted that he does not know anyone from his graduating class who is employed in a full-time legal job. Another plaintiff, a 2009 graduate of University of San Francisco, explained that after graduating law school he worked in Macy’s for $10 an hour in a non-legal position. He eventually worked for a small firm on a contract basis, and only more than two years after graduating law school did he finally land a full-time legal job.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer was very resourceful in the way he conducted his search for potential clients. Amongst other methods, he ran ads on Craigslist.
The firm intends to sue St. John’s University and Pace University once it finds sufficient plaintiffs, and it plans to sue an additional twenty law schools in the near future.