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Why Graduates Suing Their Law Schools Isn’t Going to Fly

Lately there have been a number of unsuccessful lawsuits involving law students suing their alma maters (such as Cooley Law School and New York Law School).

The story goes something like this: Law Student A looks at Law School Z’s post-graduation employment statistics and decides that graduation from Law School Z virtually guarantees a job. Law Student A graduates. Law Student A can’t find a job and Law School Z gets sued. Yay!


What Law Student A failed to realize was that the reporting requirements for those figures are very, very loose and can include part-time and sole practitioner work. What the court told Law Student A was that he/she should have acted like an aspiring lawyer when choosing a law school and actually investigated what was behind those employment figures. And such thinking is one reason why these lawsuits have failed and will continue to fail.

Liability lawsuits are based on “reasonable person” standards. Courts seem to have concluded that a “reasonable person” would investigate the employment figures further when making a $120,000 decision. Simply looking at the figures isn’t enough to shift liability to the schools. And I can’t say that I disagree.

Further, these law schools are only reporting the figures as they are required. It makes perfect sense that they’d do so in the most favorable light possible. They want students so that they can collect tuition for those students. You get students by making your law school look attractive. It’s merely a form of advertising and ought to be viewed as such.

Nobody is being sold a bill of goods. Law school is not a promise of a glistening, lucrative new legal career. Law school is a promise of a legal education and the ability to spend money on a barbri course in order to take the Bar exam once you graduate. Anybody who disagrees wasn’t willing to put in the effort. They simply convinced themselves that a six-figure income would be sitting there waiting for them upon graduation, even though they were in the bottom half of their class at a mediocre law school.

The legal world, for the most part, is a meritocracy. If you put in the work to go to a top school and you get good grades at said law school, you will have an easier time landing a job than someone who didn’t. If you end up pleasing your clients once you get that job and you make your bosses money, then you advance. So on and so forth, ad infinitem. Don’t expect your law school to provide you with a job. Expect your law school to equip you with the tools necessary to succeed in your job, should you choose to avail yourself of those tools. /rant

And now, watch this 90 year-old pole vaulter blow your mind.