Breaking: 15 more ABA-approved law schools to be sued

Two law firms, Law Offices of David Anziska and Strauss Law PLLC, have announced their intention to jointly file class action lawsuits against 15 more U.S. law schools (full press release below). The law schools are located in seven states:

  • California: California Western School of Law, Southwestern Law School, and University of San Francisco School of Law (3)
  • Florida: Florida Coastal School of Law (1)
  • Illinois: Chicago-Kent College of Law, DePaul University College of Law, and John Marshall School of Law (3)
  • Maryland: University of Baltimore School of Law (1)
  • New York: Albany Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Hofstra Law School, Pace University School of Law, and St. John’s University School of Law (5)
  • Pennsylvania: Villanova University School of Law and Widener University School of Law (also has a campus in Delaware) (2)

These complaints will follow previous complaints filed against New York Law School, Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in California.

With these lawsuits, nearly 10% of all ABA-approved law schools across eight states will be accused of tortiously misrepresenting job placement statistics and violating state consumer protection laws. As with the previous complaints, the relief sought will include tuition reimbursement, punitive damages, and injunctive relief such as mandatory auditing of employment data and cessation of false advertising tactics.

LST is a forward-looking organization focused on improving legal education through policy efforts, thus our interests do not adequately align with plaintiffs seeking to be made whole. As such, we will not be directly involved in filing and prosecuting these lawsuits. Nevertheless, we will join these law firms on a media call this afternoon because of the role that class action lawsuits can play in incentivizing change through highly visible impact litigation. We will help put these lawsuits in context for journalists unfamiliar with law school consumer information issues.

These cases will create more awareness among prospective law students that the employment statistics advertised by these law schools do not mean what prospectives tend to think they mean. It is our hope that these complaints, along with future claims made against other law schools, will help bring about broad social change by altering how law schools operate and by pressuring the ABA Section of Legal Education to fulfill its regulatory duties. In the meantime, LST will continue seeking ways to expand the debate about legal education reform and to help usher in a new approach to the recruitment and training of attorneys and judges.

Press Release

Post-Graduation Employment Rates at Fifteen Law Schools Questioned

October 5, 2011
New York, NY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Law Offices of David Anziska and Strauss Law PLLC announced today that they are seeking to file class action complaints challenging the post-graduate employment rates reported by the following 15 schools:

1) Albany Law School, which reports rates of between 91% and 97%;
2) Brooklyn Law School, which reports rates of between 91% and 98%;
3) Hofstra Law School, which reports rates of between 94% and 97%;
4) Pace University School of Law, which reports rates of between 90% and 95%;
5) St. John’s University School of Law, which reports rates of between 88% and 96%;
6) Villanova University School of Law, which reports rates of between 93% and 98%;
7) Widener University School of Law, which reports rates of between 90% and 96%;
8) University of Baltimore School of Law, which reports rates of between 93% and 95%;
9) Florida Coastal School of Law, which reports rates of between 80% and 95%;
10) Chicago-Kent College of Law, which reports rates of between 90% and 97%
11) DePaul University School of Law, which reports rates of between 93% and 98%
12) John Marshall School of Law (Chicago), which reports rates of between 90% and 100%
13) California Western School of Law, which reports rates of between 90% and 93%;
14) Southwestern Law School, which reports rates of between 97% and 98%;
15) University of San Francisco School of Law, which reports rates of between 90% and 95% percent

The average debt load for 2009 graduates of these fifteen schools is $108,829.4. “The lawsuits against New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School are prompting many recent law school graduates with high debt loads and disappointing job prospects to question the employment rates reported by their schools” stated David Anziska. “The numbers reported by the schools just don’t comport with the reality of the legal job market. We hope that litigation, combined with pressure from regulators, applicants, students and alumni changes the way legal education is marketed and provides compensation to those who may have been mislead in the past.” he added.

Law Offices of David Anziska and Strauss Law PLLC are advising graduates of the above schools that they may have certain legal rights and should contact David Anziska at david@anziskalaw.com or visit www.anziskalaw.com to learn more.

Law Offices of David Anziska and Strauss Law PLLC will be hosting a media call to explain the current status of litigation regarding law schools’ post-graduate employment data and to address the nation-wide problem of high debt burden and low employment rates among recent graduates. Joining the firms on the call will be Kyle P. McEntee and Patrick J. Lynch from Law School Transparency, a Tennessee-based non-profit whose mission is to improve the quality and presentation of post-graduate employment data.

50 thoughts on “Breaking: 15 more ABA-approved law schools to be sued”

  1. THANK YOU!

    If only Loyola Law School were on there. They have been manipulating their job placement data for years by counting anyone with a pulse as employed, and only disclosing salary information for a small fraction of their graduates.

  2. I have a great idea. Why doesn’t every lawyer pirate in the world sue every other lawyer pirate in the world, like a snake swallowing its own tail, until you all go bankrupt and the rest of us are free of the lawyer plague?

  3. Have any of these lawsuits been certified as a class action?

    Won’t it be hard to argue that each plaitiff’s post graduation employment experience (i.e., loss, damages) is rooted in the exact same cause, misrepresented post-graduate employment statistics, independent of their own effort, aptitude and achievement?

  4. Why is Kurzonn Strauss doing the job of the Department of Justice?

    When a law school dean conspires with his staff, or conspires with other law school deans to commit fraud (as was the case with the recent ABA meeting where they agreed to stop distinguishing between lawyer & non-lawyer jobs and to stop distinguishing between full and part time jobs) — when they conspire to commit fraud for the purpose of diverting federal student loan money into their program, that is a crime against the country that should be prosecuted.

    Every year, students pay billions of dollars of federal student loan to law schools on the basis of these fraudulent career placement numbers. If not for these numbers, the students would have enrolled in other programs. This causes serious and tangible damage:

    1. The student is robbed of his or her chance to choose the most suitable program because they were not able to make a proper choice when presented with fraudulent numbers.

    2. The competitor educational programs, who are honest, are robbed of enrollees because their honest career placement numbers can’t compete with law schools’ fraudulent numbers.

    3. The nation’s economy is robbed because these talented students learned a skill that – by virtue of the fact that there are no jobs – is worthless to the country.

    4. And most important, the taxpayers are robbed because it is highly unlikely that your average law graduate is going to pay back the $200,000 he or she borrowed to attend one of these schools.

    That’s where it gets serious. The Department of Justice is supposed to be protecting the Federal coffers from crime. Recently Solyndra got raided by the FBI because they fraudulently squandered a mere $450 million. Heck, a woman on welfare could go to jail if she uses food stamp fraud to steal $50 from the government. Meanwhile, law school Deans are using fraud to steal billions! Why isn’t the FBI and a US Attorney investigating and indicting these law school Deans for criminal fraud and/or criminal conspiracy to commit fraud?

    Thank you Mr. Aniszka because your lawsuits may not only save your clients a few hundred thousands of dollars, but they may save the poor taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars in the long term.

  5. Why are they issuing a press release before the actual lawsuit? Are they just trolling for plaintiffs?

  6. @3: I don’t think it will be difficult, given the allegations. While each student confronted the job market with varying degrees of effort and past achievement, the jobs that [insert school] talked about simply are not available. Employment regarding a JD is simply out of the question even for many students with impeccable credentials.

    This wouldn’t be a problem if law schools weren’t telling people the exact opposite in order to make obscene amounts of money.

  7. BU School of Law – go get them too.

    Let’s face it, all the law schools have pulled this crap. How is it even possible to claim that, in this economy (2007 onwards) that attorneys are being employed at 50%+ following graduation? After all, at this time, the real unemployment rate for Americans is 22% (not relying on BLS propaganda stats, of course), the ABA approved the mass outsourcing of attorney jobs to India (ABA – the whores of Big Law, outsourcing companies, and law schools), and numerous other reasons that the real employment picture for attorneys and recent law grads is DISMAL!

  8. “Overqualified” (“too much” education and experience according to the dimwits who refuse to hire many Americans and love selling out their own country for profit, profit, and MORE PROFIT), unemployed, and aggressive = priceless.

    We are the 99%, we are legion, and we do not forget.

  9. The only language certain folks (e.g., the ABA, law profs, law administrators, Big Law tools, and others) understand is prison and forfeiture (civil forfeiture is better – it’s much quicker – just ask a law school prof – assuming he practiced law in the real world). RICO, conspiracy, fraud, wire and mail fraud, money laundering, etc., etc. sink them all. Of course nothing without evidence of course, must be fair and just, even though they were far from it.

    Given the “extensive” and “most impressive superduper experience ever” these clowns had thinking highly of themselves, administering one test per semester, and arbitrarily grading those tests (aka destroying kids’ lives), I say – have fun defending yourselves.

  10. I would look at Ava Maria. I was trying to help a young man with absolutely no jobs prospects. Misrepresentation is probably true in every law school with an entering class of about 150.

  11. Please include University of New Hampshire (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center). Their employment info is completely false.

  12. Consider this hypothetical: Let’s say this firm does file these suits, against all the defendant-law schools mentioned in the press release, save one. Does that one have a prima facie case of defamation? In the cases of the law schools which this firm does sue, the press release in ancillary to the suit itself; it just lists the causes of action stated in the legal complaints themselves, which are privileged. But no such privilege would apply to a law school mentioned in the press release, which this firm does NOT sue. (But maybe a defamation might cause the firm to change its mind and sue, just to try to resurrect the privilege!)

  13. Regarding your “University of Albany” tag on this post, there are two problems. First, there is no “University of Albany” – I think you meant “University at Albany.” Second, the University at Albany (www.albany.edu) is a distinct entity from Albany Law School (http://www.albanylaw.edu/). Please update your tags accordingly.

  14. Sure wish someone had bothered to inform me that at Chicago-Kent, transfer students can’t grade on to law review.

  15. Are public law schools liable or just private law schools? All law schools, except for the “gifted” few, must be included or else some practitioners will receive a “bailout” while the rest receive nothing.

  16. Of course the attorneys are trolling for plaintiffs. Their press release all but says that.

    What is the basis for these claims? Do the attorneys have actual evidence of fraud or are they attempting to roll the schools for dough via settlement by threating the schols with the possibility (however remote it may be) of humongous class action damages?

  17. I hope these lawsuits, if certified, go farther back than just 2009 if statute of limitations allows for it.

  18. I’m with 21. It is hard to see this as anything other than a ploy for attorneys’ fees in the absence of evidence to support these allegations. A disappointing waste of resources.

  19. A “disappointing waste of resources” is when college graduates spend $100,000 at ridiculous interest rates, based on the absolute published lies the ABA, US News, law school administrators, professors, and career planning personnel propagate in order to secure the loan money (and non-loan money) students take out to attend these law schools; the information related to those stats is not publicly available and cannot be verified.

    Those same people claiming the students should not sue will of course claim that students should have realized the truth (which is impossible because the law schools never reveal the truth until they are forced to under oath). Case in point, even into 2010 many schools still claimed 95% employment and a MEDIAN SALARY post-grad at $160,000. Really?! Median post-grad salary $160,000?! That’s not even possible at the top five schools because so many students take jobs in public service, so it’s a flat out lie.

    Fraud, just because it’s “practiced” by those in schools and professional organizations, does not make it any less criminal, nor any less morally bankrupt. Especially when those same people breaking the law and lying to students’ faces (and, of course, to those making the loans based on false assurance of job prospects and salaries – which taxpayers will have to deal with at some point as defaults become rampant), claim to be “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice.” Given the facts law schools, law grads, and others have increasingly known over the years (and because many keep the lies coming and the ill-gotten wealth flowing), everyone and every group that engaged in these lies at the expense of anyone else deserves what they get, because, well, no one holds a monopoly on “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice.”

  20. This article is terrifying. I am currently enrolled in a school on this list and am near the top of my class. However, after my first year I had difficulty securing summer employment for little or no compensation. The one comfort I have is that I am receiving a significant scholarship award, so my debt won’t be quite $100,000, but it will be close.

    I am already starting over in my career, mid-life, and pursued this degree to INCREASE my job prospects. Now I read that the employment numbers from my institution are allegedly fraudulent, and that I could end up graduating in a worse position than I was to begin with? You better believe I am saving that attorney’s information just in case.

  21. “I am already starting over in my career, mid-life, and pursued this degree to INCREASE my job prospects. Now I read that the employment numbers from my institution are allegedly fraudulent, and that I could end up graduating in a worse position than I was to begin with? You better believe I am saving that attorney’s information just in case.”

    How could you have such a warped view of law school job prospects, given all the press coverage of fraudulent placement numbers?

  22. @27 – “How could you have such a warped view of law school job prospects, given all the press coverage of fraudulent placement numbers?” Better yet, why not ask the ABA, US News, law school profs, administrators, and career planning personnel how they can continue their rampant lies, propaganda, and well-organized fraud when blogs and other sources have increasinly revealed the truth. Don’t blame the victims. That’s what the fraudsters want – heads they win and steal more if people believe their lies; tails they win if students and mid-career folks are blamed for not doing enough research to learn about the lies. Nah, we choose to blame those who victimize others – those who perpetrate the fraud and take money, money, and more oodles of money based on false hope based on lies. It’s a new day in America, it’s what 99% of us are out there for. Blame and punish the guilty, leave the victims who bought the hype about “retraining,” “more education,” “educations will guarantee success” to join the 99% who are on to the lies and are done swallowing them. People thought law administrators, profs, and administrators wouldn’t lie to them – they trusted people who didn’t deserve their trust (it’s common in America today – look around).

    @26 – the lies began decades ago, unfortunately back then the truth was much more difficult to obtain. You’re in good company, though, and many experienced attorneys and others with extensive experience in the law, military, business, etc. have had their fill of 1% of the population getting rich through lies and exploitation.

    We are the 99%.

  23. Absolutely fantastic! After my first year of law school, the truth became apparent to me. At that point, in one year, I had doubled my student loan debt from 5 years of undergrad!! So I decided to stick it out, but the job market now for lawyers is absolutely not as advertised or promised. Not to mention the scholarship I was offered was a scam in and of itself. I hope this makes it to court and at some point we, the victims, will be able to recoup tuition costs and punitive damages. Plus, what about the time lost and opportunities passed up on? I think this goes further than just a simple: You chose to goto to law school. I made the decision based on fraudulent information.

  24. Someone should really look into Steson University College of Law. There is number inflation (counting those continuing in LLM programs as “employed” for example) and faulty reporting happening there. I am not sure who these schools think they are fooling, all you have to do is look at your fellow classmates or watch the news to know there is no way their employment numbers can be as advertised.

  25. Read ALL the disclaimers provided by each of these law schools along with their employment statistics information… No case. Suck it up and find a job.

  26. Notre Dame needs to be added to the list — counting as “employed” graduated students that THEY employ as research assistants for a few months during the time the count is taken skews the employment data.

  27. The inflated numbers and salaries are unfortunate because they not only lead to disillusioned new lawyers, they also lead to new lawyers who think they know something and are worth more than they are to an employer.

    If I had one piece of advice to prospective law students and new lawyers, it would be to get industry experience. Before law school, go work at a bank, at an insurance company, for a law firm as a runner or secretary, for a court system as any judge’s bailiff, as a police officer, for any form of government, or for any big company you can find, so that you can use that non-legal experience as an entry into an industry. Don’t go to law school simply because you can’t find a job you think is worthy of you after college. Education is great, but it doesn’t substitute for experience. After practicing for 21 years, it has all become clear to me.

  28. @31 – Are you telling the grossly overpaid/lying/barely working administrators, professors, ABA shills, and others to “suck it up” or just the people struggling with unemployment and terrible prospects who trusted people they never should have trusted (those same law school administrators, etc.)?
    The point is all the folks lying to secure students’ applications and enrollment (and profiting from the lies), and the people and organizations that publish the lies know full well THERE ARE VERY FEW JOBS but repeatedly lie about it. No matter how much one “sucks it up,” the fact is that the US employment picture is dismal and getting worse, and the market for attorneys (much like manufacturing, pharmacy, and other areas), even more so. With 400,000+ people being laid off every week, labor participation at near all-time lows, telling someone to “suck it up and find a job” is aburdly divorced from reality. Many tudents have $100,000+ in debt, and anyone with any degrees (like JDs, MBAs, PhDs, MAs, MSs) is deemed overqualified for the jobs that it seems are being created in the U.S. – the ones that pay less than $10/hr. (which don’t support living on one’s own, let alone insurance, food, rent, AND paying off one’s debts).

    Good insight though, go bring it to the unemployment line nearest to you; I’m sure the unemployed there (including vets from Iraq + Afghanistan who have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country), PhDs, MBAs, nurses, teachers, police, engineers, construction workers, factory workers, and attorneys would love to hear your comments and support for fellow Americans. Let us know if you spot any law school administrators or profs there – because despite the terrible recession and no job prospects for their students, they still get richer with every passing day and never lose their jobs or are punished for lying.

  29. BU is an absolute lie!

    Statistically, it’s impossible to have the median and 75% salaries at the same level = $160,000. That’s Stats 101. Also, at no time ever, even at some imaginary A#1 law school in Fantasyland, were schools graduating students at $160,000 in any number. Yes, a few schools I’m sure had some miniscule percentage earning $160,000, but that was always a miniscule percent of a graduating class of a miniscule number of schools in only one or two years. At no time did that salary ever represent a large number of a graduating class, let alone a large number of schools or a median (which would be impossible). But to claim that’s actually the MEDIAN would require that there are a large number of students graduating at higher salaries, what, $180,000? $200,000? $250,000?! That never happened, even in the highest paying years, in any schools. To claim that is happening now (when the economy and reality of facts should stop it) is a SICK JOKE. People should ask for the names and firms where people are earning that money to prove the law schools lie. And even if the numbers weren’t completely FAKE, some clients are getting royally screwed because with 20% unemployment in the US and the DOJ advertising positions for attorneys to work for free for one year (really, this is happening), some law clients must be overpaying by $100,000 or so. Rock on law school liars, rock on.

  30. Finally, the truth will come out. The plaintiffs get discovery and I bet they will discover a lot. Every disgruntled former employee will come out of the wood work. The fired registrar or the faculty member who didn’t get tenure but heard everything in faculty meetings.

  31. I think this firm’s lawsuits are counterproductive to your cause. Here is how the plaintiff’s attorney describes the lead plaintiff’s employment situation in the NYLS case:

    “Alexandra Gomez-Jimenez is a practicing attorney in Manhattan who is currently a member in good standing of the New York Bar…. Immediately following her graduation from law school [in May 2007], Mrs. Gomez-Jimenez could not find a permanent position in the legal industry, despite sending out tens of resumes, and was forced to take a series of temporary positions. Mrs. Gomez-Jimenez finally secured full-time, permanent employment in April 2008. In 2009, she opened up her own firm, and now enjoys a thriving practice as an immigration attorney.”

    So she got a permanent job 10 months after graduation and now has a thriving practice. And had to send out “tens of resumes?” OK, 10 months is longer than 9 months but it is only a couple of months after the New York bar admits people, and of course that year the global economic collapse happened. Is this really so far from what she could have expected?

    You may have a valid cause, but these cases make your cause look silly.

  32. @39. The outcomes are not relevant to the plaintiff’s claim that the law schools misrepresented the employment information. That wrong was completed when the plaintiff enrolled in school.

  33. @40 — It is like a lawsuit complaining that a lottery had misrepresented the odds of winning. I think a court would find it very relevant that the plaintiff had won such lottery.

  34. @41 — For damages, sure. Not for determining whether the school’s reporting of past outcomes was deceptive.

  35. So some people got tricked. Lawsuits seem to make sense if the statistics can be verified to be inaccurate…

    My real question is why so many people are STILL enrolling in law school with the facts about employment prospects and debt now well known? At what point are these people not victims but instead making a non-intelligent decision? Choosing law school is no different than choosing to get a degree from a for profit university. Ya it works for some people, but you’ll be fed half truths about future success which probably won’t come, and you’ll be in debt.

    Just get a degree in a field where the market isn’t already over saturated and in one where you will actually have a chance to increase your net worth despite the debt of college. Because if your degree can’t get you that, there was no point in getting it.

  36. @45 “Just get a degree in a field where the market isn’t already over saturated and in one where you will actually have a chance to increase your net worth despite the debt of college” – there are no such fields anymore.

    Engineers, computer science majors, nurses, lab workers, scientists, MBAs, mid-level managers, etc. have all been replaced, thanks to “American” CEOs and corporate “leaders,” by H-1B visa recipients. Even with 22% real unemployment, these corporate traitors are still running to Congress and getting Congress to allow even more foreigners into the US to replace American workers. Look it up, or watch Fox News or CNBS to see propaganda in full gear, all these corporate clowns constantly demand more foreigners to undercut American workers and wages, all the while complaining about the imaginary “skills gap.” Apparently the American schools are good enough for foreigners to want to attend and then take our jobs, but they aren’t good enough for Americans to graduate from and work in the US? That makes no sense, but then corporate greed corruption never had to, it was always about profit. And Congressmen, being the corporate whores they are, go along with their corporate pimps.
    Any job they cannot replace an American with here they will simply outsource overseas.

    NO FIELD IS IMMUNE! Hershey’s and their contractors even got foreigners to replace American teens for summer work in Pennsylvania! It’s despicable. American construction workers have been replaced by foreigners for a long time, and now the US is allowing Mexican truck drivers to drive throughout the US (replacing American drivers). America, welcome to the American nightmare – we have been sold out by our government (both D +R), their shills (e.g., ABA, FoxNews, ALEC, CNBS, etc.) and they couldn’t care less because they name the price and reap the riches!

    Read IT Grunt, Google visa fraud, H-1B visa fraud, Koch brothers, Chamber of Commerce and visa abuses, “skills gap,” and everything else. We have been betrayed and no American job or field is safe.

  37. UCLA plays games with the employment data by temporarily paying new graduates to do intern work for a 10 weeks, or in other words, enough time to report the student as “employed” to U.S. News. It’s hard to convey how depressing it is to have your life dismantled and financially destroyed before you’re 30.

  38. @46 that’s awfully doomsday…and the point I was making wasn’t that it’s not tough for everyone. It is, but law school is for many a poor investment.

    Law IS becoming more difficult and saturated of a field than others…and it’s an extra 3 years of school (and loss of income of 120 to 200k) with the expected debt of 60 to 100k. That’s potentially a 300k swing in 3 years!!!

    The point is that if you get an engineering degree instead of a history degree then go to law school you will be better off (statistically speaking). People should be responsible for their choices, and I feel like this comment board has become a group not wanting to take any responsibility in their choices (when these warning signs were known). Make smart choices.

  39. 48, I understand your point, but it’s a poor one. The issue is that people made these choices based upon misinformation provided by the law schools. I for one was taken by Widener when I saw the 95% employment rate and 60,000 mean salary when in reality employment is well below 50% and mean salaries closer to 40k.

    It’s difficult to make a smart choice when you’re making decisions based upon lies. Thus the suit.

  40. Widener should be at the top of this list!!! Anybody who has spent five minutes in the Career Development office at Widener should know that the chances of them getting a job are slim to none!! Especially with the 3 people they bring in for OCI. What a joke

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