Law Students

Law Schools Still Fighting off Graduate’s Charges of Fraud over Employment Statistics
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Were law schools deceitful back in 2009 and around then when they advertised that 97 percent of their graduates were employed within nine months of graduating? Southwestern advertised such and says they followed procedures put out by the ABA to determine what to say and how to represent their statistics. The ABA has since changed their criterion, and this because of a series of suits, such as one Michael Lieberman is part of, and 20 other suits. Lieberman graduated from Southwestern Law School, passing his bar in 2009 the first time, as the Los Angeles Times reported, but since then could find work perhaps as a software tester or technical writer, but not as a lawyer. Turns out that generous 97 percent of employed JDs include graduates working part time folding clothes at Macy’s, among other less than appropriate jobs.

With averaging of $100,000 in loans after their education, folding clothes is no way to repay tuition, let alone justify studying at law school; these 20 suits have inspired the ABA to change their criterion so that law schools must break down how many students have obtained full-time, permanent work that specifically calls for a law degree. For instance, Lieberman’s Southwestern reported as of 2011 that only 52 percent of its previous year’s graduating class had such employment, and that salary figures previously reported were based on only 19 percent of the class, as this suit charges.

Lieberman feels his degree may be a “useful tool,” but is interested in opposing “systemic, ongoing fraud prevalent in the legal education industry,” that leaves “a generation of law students in dire financial straits,” as their suit explains.


And the 52 percent success rate isn’t a Southwestern anomaly. A national study in 2011 found that about 55 percent of students had law-related jobs nine months after graduation. That basically means that almost one in two JDs aren’t even working in law, making the whole program seem less viable and less interesting for anybody who hopes to pay back school loans and perhaps even make a living.

With schools such as Stanford and Berkeley, the generous statistics are literally true; but for most of the rest of them, from UCDavis through all the rest, you have more chances in not working in law after graduating their program, With Southwestern at 34.6 percent, and with Whittier Law School, only 17.1 percent chance you will be a working in law after attending their program. So yes, what program you get into matters; if you want to get the most out of your JD, what program you attend makes a significant difference.

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