Breaking: 12 more law schools facing class actions

The Law Offices of David Anziska, together with Strauss Law PLLC and six other law firms, publicly announced moments ago that they have filed complaints against 12 more law schools. To date, 15 of the country’s 197 ABA-approved law schools are facing class action suits. (Thomas Jefferson, New York Law School, and Thomas Cooley have already been sued, with the first lawsuit already in discovery.)

These lawsuits should be of grave concern to the ABA, both as the only federally-recognized accrediting body and as the legal profession’s largest and most powerful trade organization. Nearly 8% of its member schools have been formally accused of fraud by 74 former students. While positive results for the plaintiffs would further confirm what LST has drawn attention to over the past two years, the underlying problem of poor ABA governance will remain unchanged by the results. Recent efforts to reform the accreditation standards are a start, but the ABA has yet to show that they will take any significant corrective action against schools. While these lawsuits will attempt to hold schools accountable for past misleading actions, it will be up to the ABA to ensure its member schools do not continue the fraud that is widespread throughout American legal education.

The new batch includes 11 schools from Anziska and Strauss’s October 2011 announcement. The twelfth is Golden Gate University School of Law, as Above the Law announced late last year.

All 12 Schools:

  • Albany Law School
  • Brooklyn Law School
  • California Western School of Law
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • DePaul University College of Law
  • Florida Coastal School of Law
  • Golden Gate University School of Law
  • Hofstra Law School
  • John Marshall School of Law (Chicago)
  • Southwestern Law School
  • University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Widener University School of Law

As momentum for holding law schools accountable grows and people start to realize the courts are their only remedy, LST expects more class actions will be filed this year. These allegations concern a long history of consumer-disoriented behavior, which unfortunately continues today at a great number of schools. LST’s Winter 2012 Transparency Index shows just how poor the newly-sued schools are doing when it comes to being honest about what their graduates found for work. Just one of the twelve schools currently discloses the number of graduates who found full-time, permanent jobs for which bar passage was required.

Transparency Index Performance of Newly-Sued Schools

School State Transparency Index Performance
Albany Law School NY Does not indicate # in FT/PT jobs or LT/ST jobs. Provides Legal Employment Rate.
Brooklyn Law School NY Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. Provides misleading salary figures.
California Western School of Law CA Struggled with its graduate survey response rate more than most schools. Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. Provides misleading salary figures.
Chicago-Kent College of Law IL Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. Provides misleading salary figures.
DePaul University College of Law IL Does not indicate graduate survey response rate. Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. Provides misleading salary figures.
Florida Coastal School of Law FL Struggled with its graduate survey response rate more than most schools. Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. However, it does provide the Legal Employment Rate. Provides misleading salary figures.
Golden Gate University School of Law CA Struggled with its graduate survey response rate more than most schools. Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs or LT/ST jobs. However, it does provide the FT Legal Employment Rate.
Hofstra Law School NY Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. Provides misleading salary figures and employer list.
John Marshall School of Law (Chicago) IL Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs or LT/ST jobs. Provides the FT Legal Employment Rate. Provides many misleading salary figures.
Southwestern Law School CA One of the best performing schools with 12 met criteria. One of two schools that currently provide the Full-time, Long-term Legal Employment Rate. Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs.
University of San Francisco School of Law CA Does not provide employment statistics on its website.
Widener University School of Law DE/PA Struggled with its graduate survey response rate more than most schools. Does not indicate # in school-funded jobs, FT/PT jobs, or LT/ST jobs. However, it does provide the FT Legal Employment Rate.

Press Release

Law Offices of David Anziska (New York, New York), Strauss Law PLLC (New York, New York), Law Offices of Frank Raimond (New York, New York), The Clinton Law Firm (Chicago, Illinois), Concepcion Martinez & Bellido LLP (Miami, Florida), Finkelstein Thompson LLP (Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California), Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff LLP (Sacramento, California), and Stone & Magnanini LLP (Short Hills, New Jersey and New York, New York) announce that proposed class action law suits will be filed today against twelve law schools around the nation. The law schools sued today, and the primary counsel, are as follows:

Each lawsuit has been filed by multiple graduates as representative plaintiffs. The lawsuits allege that many schools falsely inflated graduate employment rates by, among other artifices, employing their own graduates in temporary jobs and counting graduates working in non-legal-related jobs and part-time and temporary jobs as “employed” even though such jobs either do not require a law degree or do not pay enough to service the massive debt taken on to finance the degree. The representative plaintiffs further allege that many schools reported “average” salaries based on a small sample of high earning graduates. As a result, the representative plaintiffs enrolled and remained enrolled at the school only to find themselves burdened with debt and with limited job prospects.

“We believe that 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” stated David Anziska, on behalf of Plaintiffs’ counsel. “Now that fifty- one additional recent law school graduates, represented by some of the most accomplished consumer protection lawyers in the country, have sued their law schools, it is time for the schools to take responsibility, provide compensation and commit to transparency. These lawsuits are only the beginning.” With the addition of these twelve lawsuits, there are now seventy-three recent law school graduates suing fifteen law schools across the nation for similar conduct. Copies of the filed complaints will be posted at www.anziskalaw.com.

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