Dissatisfied law students are now suing their law schools. Such law suits have always existed, usually filed by some desperate unemployed attorney with crushing debt, and such litigation has gotten no place. Now this type of litigation has been taken up quite a few notches:
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 School 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)
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.
Go here to read the rest at Law School Transparency.
A year ago I would not have given such litigation much of a chance. However, now we are seeing examples of deliberate misrepresentation by law schools, including at my alma mater, the University of Illinois College of Law:
On September 19, 2011, the College of Law reported accurate, verified student profile (median LSAT and median GPA) for the class of 2014. Ten years of profiles have been rigorously reviewed, and the inquiry has now determined that student profile data for the classes of 2011, 2012, and 2013 were also inaccurate. Updated numbers are posted here.
A column at the blog Above the Law states the obvious about this scandal:
Here’s the thing. Do you guys really think that the only people who are doing this are Illinois and Villanova? Do you really think that the ABA — an organization that won’t force law schools to be accurate about graduate outcomes — has the stomach to find the truth about incoming classes?
I don’t know, pile on Illinois if you want to. But the ABA is an organization that isn’t committed to making schools tell the truth, so I think the intelligent assumption is that all law schools are lying or inflating their statistics in some way.
The class action law suits are going to allow the Plaintiffs’ law firms to go over such statistics of law schools with the legal equivalent of a fine tooth comb. I will be shocked if they do not find widespread “fudging” of admission statistics and statistics related to job placement and graduate salary. This should all get very interesting very quickly.