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12 law schools sued over misleading jobs data

Law school grads file 11 proposed class action suits against their alma maters

Yesterday, a group of recent law school graduates banded together to sue their alma maters.

Graduates from Albany Law, Brooklyn Law, California Western, Chicago-Kent, DePaul Law, Florida Coastal, Golden State, Hofstra Law, John Marshall Law School, Southwestern, USF Law and Widener Law filed 11 separate proposed class actions against their former schools, claiming the institutions misled them about job opportunities.

“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,” said David Anziska, plaintiffs’ attorney in three of the lawsuits. “It is time for the schools to take responsibility, provide compensation and commit to transparency.”

The dozen new suits follow three filed last year against Thomas M. Cooley Law School, New York Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law for allegedly defrauding prospective students by inflating job-placement data.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Anziska and the students’ other lawyers’ goal is to sue 20 to 25 law schools every few months.

Last month, an American Bar Association committee approved changes to increase transparency about jobs data among law schools. If the rules are passed, schools will need to disclose more detailed information about graduate job placement.

A recent study from Law School Transparency, a non-profit that facilitates the transparent flow of law school consumer information, found that many U.S. law schools are slow to share employment data of 2010 law school graduates. The study found that 49 percent of schools reported some salary information, but 78 percent of those schools provided the information in a misleading fashion.

A summer 2011 Association for Legal Career Professionals survey found that only 68.4 percent of 2010 law school grads had obtained jobs that required them to pass the bar. Seven percent of those jobs were part-time. Nearly 23 percent of survey respondents reported that they were currently looking for different jobs in the legal profession.

Ashley Post

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