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Grads Sue New York Law School and Cooley Law, Saying They Inflated Job and Salary Stats

Posted Aug 10, 2011 12:36 PM CDT
By Sarah Mui

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Graduates of New York Law School and Cooley Law School, respectively, filed lawsuits against their alma maters claiming that the schools were deceitful in the reporting of their graduate employment statistics.

Plaintiffs in both the suit against Cooley (PDF) and the suit against New York Law School (PDF) are represented by the New York City-based Kurzon Strauss law firm.

Cooley filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Kurzon Strauss last month in response to solicitations the firms posted on Craigslist and JD Underground that included a draft of a purported class action complaint contending that Cooley incorrectly reported its graduates' job placements. David Anziska told the ABA Journal at the time that the firm intended to countersue Cooley as well as the school's lawyers at Miller Canfield.

Cooley filed a separate lawsuit (PDF) last month seeking to unmask anonymous bloggers who Cooley representatives say defamed the school. This week, Berkley, Mich., lawyer John Hermann, who represents anonymous blogger Rockstar05, said Cooley seems to be "simply 'upset' about its students speaking critically of its rating criteria and admission policies."

“These suits are not just about NYLS and Thomas Cooley—we believe the practice of inflating employment statistics and salary information is endemic among law schools,” Anziska said in a press release (PDF), which also says that Kurzon Strauss has hired Cooley graduate Steven Hyder of The Hyder Law Firm in Monroe, Mich., as local counsel there.

Bloomberg was unable to immediately reach Cooley Associate Dean James Thelen or a New York Law School spokesperson for comment. Cooley general counsel Jim Thelen told Wall Street Journal Law Blog that plaintiffs who take issue with how law schools report employment numbers should take their concerns to the American Bar Association or the Department of Education, and that suing law schools "certainly doesn’t seem like the right way to go about it.” New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar told Law Blog in a statement that the suit's claims “are without merit and we will vigorously defend against them in court.”

A similar suit was filed in May against Thomas Jefferson School of law by Anna Alaburda, a 2008 graduate of the school working as a document reviewer. The school answered the suit in June, and said that Alaburda should have been able to see that not all of its graduates employed within nine months of graduation had law jobs: A chart provided in the answer showed that its graduates' employment rates nine months after graduation generally soared above the school's bar passage rate.

Updated Aug. 11 to include information from Law Blog.

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