A 2008 graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law is suing the institution for luring students to enroll by using false post-graduation data. Anna Alaburda's claim is one of 15 similar suits, although all but two have been dropped or dismissed.
Alaburda has $170,000 worth of student debt and has not found a full-time job in law since her graduation. Students' claims are that law schools include jobs such as part-time waitressing in their employment stats, inflating their placement rates. According to an article in The New York Times,
"Law schools labor to keep their employment data at the highest percentage level because it is a major factor in national law school rankings, which in turn give schools the credibility to charge six figures for a three-year legal education."
Since the charges, the American Bar Association has required law schools to give more information. On its website, you can download detailed statistics from all schools.
Overall, according to the National Association for Law Placement, rates have increased, but class size is shrinking, so it's tough to draw conclusions.
- What is a law school's responsibility to share placement rates with prospective students? How does it balance honesty with recruiting targets?
- How would you make a decision about whether to attend law school—or a particular school? What data would be important for you to consider?