Posted Jun 17, 2011 12:48 pm CDT
A recent law grad is getting some support for his assertion that the Federal Trade Commission could investigate whether law schools are violating federal consumer protection law.
Joel Murray, a recent graduate of the University of California at Davis law school, posted a paper outlining his conclusions at the Social Science Research Network, the National Law Journal reports. “Many law schools are violating the FTC Act by reporting false and misleading employment statistics,” he writes. “The FTC should begin an investigation into U.S. law schools.”
The NLJ contacted two law professors for their take on Murray’s assertion. They agreed that providing misleading statistics could cause legal problems for law schools.
University of Wisconsin law professor Gerald Thain said the FTC could take action if law schools publish false or deceptive employment data, but he doubts it would be a priority for the agency.
University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos saw other possibilities for litigation. Disgruntled students could sue under consumer protection laws, a tack taken recently by a Thomas Jefferson law grad. Campos sees a couple possible defenses. Law schools could assert that students are sophisticated consumers, and that they were simply following the industry standard.
“Another potential source of liability under federal statute is that schools are, essentially, lying to the federal government for the purposes of getting benefits of some sort,” Campos told the NLJ. “Law schools get federal subsidies, most notably in the form of federally guaranteed loans, and that could open them up to litigation.”