12 More Law Schools Sued Over Reporting of Law Grad Employment and Salary Stats
Posted Feb 1, 2012 5:39 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Updated: In a gathering storm that apparently may not yet have reached its full strength, lawsuits have been or will be filed today against another 12 law schools over the way they report employment data for their graduates, according to counsel for the plaintiffs.
They say in a press release (PDF) that new litigation is being brought against law schools in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois and New York, concerning allegations that a number engaged in subterfuges such as hiring their own graduates for temporary jobs and counting law grads working in nonlegal jobs as employed. Links to some of the complaints can be found at plaintiffs lawyer David Anziska's website.
Plaintiffs contend that they were misled by the statistics into taking on a heavy debt burden in pursuit of employment as attorneys that was much harder to find than the job stats provided by the law schools suggested. They also allege that salary figures may have been compiled from a small sample of law grads with fatter-than-average paychecks.
“We believe that some in the legal academy have done a disservice to the profession and the nation by saddling tens of thousands of young lawyers with massive debt for a degree worth far less than advertised,” Anziska said in a statement provided today to New York magazine.
“It is time for the schools to take responsibility, provide compensation and commit to transparency," he continues. "These lawsuits are only the beginning.”
A total of 14 law schools have been sued so far, according to plaintiffs' counsel, including New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Cooley has previously launched a pre-emptive strike, contending in a lawsuit filed against a law firm (which apparently is not involved in the current set of filings) that it has been defamed by false accusations concerning information the law school provided about its graduates' success.
Bloomberg reports that Albany Law School and the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University say they stand by the employment data they provided in compliance with standards set by the ABA and the National Association for Law Placement.
“We have documentation that supports the accuracy of our data,” said Connie Mayer, the interim president and dean at Albany Law School, said in an email to Bloomberg. “Students are well aware of the realities of today’s economy, and we believe the information we provide during the admission process does not mislead our applicants.”
Officials at both schools declined to comment specifically on the litigation.
Leslie Steinberg, associate dean for public affairs at defendant Southwestern Law School told National Law Journal that the school stands by the employment data it has posted on its website and submitted to both the American Bar Association and U.S. News & World Report.
In an email to students Tuesday, Feb. 7, Chicago-Kent College of Law Dean Howard Krent said: "We believe the lawsuit against Chicago-Kent to be without merit and are confident that the courts will agree."
The other targeted schools are Brooklyn Law School, California Western School of Law, DePaul University College of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, Golden Gate University School of Law, The John Marshall Law School, University of San Francisco School of Law and Widener University School of Law.
Additional and related coverage:
ABAJournal.com: "Law Firms Announce Plans to Sue 15 More Law Schools over Job Stats"
ABAJournal.com: "ABA Committee Approves New Law School Disclosure Requirements"
ABA Journal.com: "Only 26% of Law Schools Report Percentage of Grads with Legal Jobs, Study Finds"
ABAJournal.com: "NY Times Reporter Sounds off on Legal Education, Accreditation and the ‘Crazy’ Race for Rankings"
Updated Feb. 7 to include Chicago-Kent dean's message to students.