Law Schools

Even at unranked Thomas Jefferson Law, some grads are glad they went

Last April, Business Insider highlighted uncomfortable superlatives for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego: most unemployed and most indebted students among all law schools.

In its look back at what it calls the “poster child of the law school crisis”, however, the publication was able to find several 2012 grads who have found the trouble and expense worthwhile career-wise.

One, David Gibbs, passed the bar and launched a solo practice doing transactional business law, starting with work for friends. He’s hoping to nudge into a six-figure income this year.

Elisabeth Donovan became doubtful of her career prospects during her second year of law school, but now has a family law practice for low-income clients. “Sometimes I feel like I’m just trying to keep my head above water,” she told Business Insider, but added: “I’ve found what I do is so satisfying—just being able to help other people is so satisfying.”

The story includes two other 2012 grads, who now work in law firms. Eric Bernsen, 36, had an engineering background and is with intellectual property firm Knobbe Martens.

Still, 31 percent of that graduating class had no jobs nine months after getting the law degree, and U.S. News and World Report found that Thomas Jefferson law grads had the highest average debt load in 2013.

In 2011, four graduates sued the school for allegedly misrepresenting career possibilities for its graduates. A judge denied their motion for class certification in October 2013.

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