A group of law school graduates are putting their education to use by suing the schools from which they graduated.
The group has filed a pair of class action lawsuits against two law schools, Thomas M. Cooley Law School and New York Law School, in an attempt to expose their alma maters' alleged misrepresentation of post-graduation salaries and employment rates.
The plaintiffs are seeking $250 million from Cooley and $200 million from NYLS in damages, as well as a mandate that the schools revise their methods of reporting post-graduation job numbers.
The numbers are skewed, the plaintiffs say, because the schools include all categories of employment in their graduate employment rates, not just jobs in the legal profession. In addition, the plaintiffs say, the schools mislead applicants by listing an average graduate salary that is derived solely from a self-selected pool of respondents.
The real statistics would "shock people," David Anziska, a lawyer for the New York firm Kurzon Strauss, which is representing the plaintiffs, told the Lansing State Journal. He added, "There are many, many recent grads out there who have not secured gainful employment and are staring down the barrel of tens and tens of thousands of dollars in bone-crushing and soul-crushing debt that they really have no realistic option of ever paying off."
The two law schools have fought back against the allegations. Jim Thelen, Cooley's chief lawyer, told the Wall Street Journal that the suit was merely an attempt to focus press attention on a widespread complaint about American law school employment reporting. The plaintiffs, he said, would have better luck taking their cause to the American Bar Association.
"These are nothing other than attempts to bring public attention to this issue," Thelen said, "and it certainly doesn't seem like the right way to go about it."