12 More Law Schools Face Lawsuits Over Job-Placement Claims

February 02, 2012

A team of eight law firms announced on Wednesday that they had sued a dozen more law schools across the country, accusing them of luring students with inflated job-placement and salary statistics and leaving graduates "burdened with debt and with limited job prospects."

The lawyers, in a conference call with reporters, said they planned to file 20 to 25 new lawsuits every few months.

"We believe the only way law schools will take us seriously is if many, many law schools are sued, and many, many graduates make their voices heard," said one of the lead lawyers, David Anziska of New York.

He said the lawsuits had been filed on behalf of a total of 51 graduates, and each was seeking class-action status.

The targets of the latest round of lawsuits, primarily in California, New York, and Illinois, are Albany Law School (N.Y.), Brooklyn Law School (N.Y.), California Western School of Law (Calif.), Chicago-Kent College of Law (Ill.), DePaul University College of Law (Ill.), Florida Coastal School of Law (Fla.), Golden Gate University School of Law (Calif.), Hofstra Law School (N.Y.), John Marshall School of Law (Ill.), Southwestern Law School (Calif.), University of San Francisco School of Law (Calif.), and Widener University School of Law (Del.).

The Chronicle sent e-mails to each of the schools seeking comment. Several, including Albany, Hofstra, and Widener, responded, defending the accuracy of the statistics they have published.

"Students are well aware of the realities of today's economy, and we believe the information we provide during the admission process does not mislead our applicants," Connie Mayer, interim president and dean of Albany Law, wrote in an e-mail message.

The 12 lawsuits were divided among eight firms located in Chicago, Miami, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco, Short Hills, N.J., and Washington, D.C.

Disgruntled law-school graduates who can't find jobs are increasingly taking their complaints to court, asserting that the schools duped them into enrolling with misleading statistics about their chances of landing well-paying jobs when they get out. Last year similar lawsuits were filed against New York Law School, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

A committee of the American Bar Association recently recommended sweeping updates in its requirements for the reporting of job-related statistics by its accredited law schools.