Law Schools

Former Law School Employee Says in Sworn Statement She Was Pressured to Inflate Graduates' Job Stats

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A former assistant career services director at Thomas Jefferson School of Law has admitted to padding the school’s 2006 graduate employment data to include unemployed graduates who had been employed at any time since graduation.

Karen Grant, who held the job for one year in 2006 and 2007, says she was pressured into doing so by her supervisor, Laura Weseley, the San Diego school’s former director of career services.

Grant’s admissions are contained in a sworn statement taken in August in connection with a class action lawsuit against the school on behalf of a group of graduates who contend that they were tricked into attending the institution by its misleading job statistics.

Her statement (PDF) was first reported Tuesday by Law School Transparency, an organization that advocates for law school reform.

In the statement, Grant, whose job responsibilities included tracking the employment status of recent graduates, said she “routinely recorded currently unemployed [graduates] as ‘employed’ if they had been employed at any time since graduation.”

She said she was only following Weseley’s instructions, whom she says told her it was “no big deal” and that “everybody does it.”

Under the reporting requirements of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, law schools are supposed to count as employed only those graduates who are working on Feb. 15, nine months after graduation.

In an interview with the ABA Journal, Thomas Jefferson School of Law dean Rudy Hasl called the allegations a “crock of crap.”

He said the school never instructed any employee to falsify graduate employment data. He also said the data the school submitted to the ABA was accurate.

Hasl refused to discuss the circumstances surrounding Grant’s departure from the school, citing the confidentiality of personnel records. But he said the matter will be fully addressed at a scheduled hearing in the case next month in court.

The section, in a prepared statement (PDF) issued in response to the Law School Transparency report, said all matters concerning the accreditation of individual schools must remain confidential. But it also said the section is fully committed to ensuring that all schools comply with the accreditation standards and that it regularly follows up on reports and other communications regarding possible noncompliance with the rules.

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