Back in August, we reported that Kurzon Strauss had filed class action lawsuits against Thomas M. Cooley Law School and New York Law School for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices. And earlier this week, we started to wonder how those cases would be moving forward, because Kurzon Strauss is apparently no more.
That’s right, the law firm that brought us some of the most prolific class action lawsuits of the year has broken up. Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you’ve got major cases like Gomez-Jimenez v. NYLS and MacDonald v. Cooley Law to deal with.
So, what’s a lawyer to do? Apparently the solution is to file fifteen more class action lawsuits against law schools with questionable post-graduate employment data.
Is your law school or alma mater a defendant? Let’s find out….
News travels fast! Yes, I left Kurzon Strauss LLP to form my new firm, Strauss Law PLLC on Friday. Kurzon Strauss LLP changed its name to Kurzon LLP. I, along with Dave Anziska, will be handling, and expanding, the law school cases. Jeff has a transactional practice and will working on the law school cases in an adjunct capacity.
When we asked Strauss to elaborate on what he meant by “expanding the law school cases,” he said that we’d have to wait until today for more information. Well, patience is a virtue, because today’s news was monumental.
The schools facing lawsuits (including Strauss’s own alma mater, Brooklyn Law School), and their reported post-graduate employment rates, are as follows:
- Albany Law School (reports rates of between 91% and 97%);
- Brooklyn Law School (reports rates of between 91% and 98%);
- California Western School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 93%);
- Chicago-Kent College of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 97%);
- DePaul University College of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 98%);
- Florida Coastal School of Law (reports rates of between 80% and 95%);
- Hofstra Law School (reports rates of between 94% and 97%);
- John Marshall School of Law (Chicago) (reports rates of between 90% and 100%);
- Pace University School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 95%);
- Southwestern Law School (reports rates of between 97% and 98%);
- St. John’s University School of Law (reports rates of between 88% and 96%);
- University of Baltimore School of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 95%);
- University of San Francisco School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 95%);
- Villanova University School of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 98%); and
- Widener University School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 96%).
Here is some more information from today’s press release:
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.
Strauss and Anziska held a media conference call this afternoon, with Strauss stating that he believed “almost every law school in the country will be sued by the end of 2012” because the “problem isn’t going away, and the legal academy isn’t owning up to it.” Strauss and Anziska noted multiple times that they would not sue a school unless they had three plaintiffs.
Anziska noted that prior to the Alaburda v. TJSL suit, law schools reported inaccurate employment data with “Madoff-like consistency.” Strauss and Anziska are challenging the post-graduate employment data of these 15 additional law schools because they are in “markets that are saturated with lawyers, making the statistics implausible.”
During a question and answer session, we asked Strauss and Anziska what they were doing in response to concerns that their only goal was a potentially huge settlement, given that they were suing schools all over the country, instead of just tackling one. Strauss and Anziska took turns responding:
STRAUSS: Our goal is to litigate the cases to a positive end. If it turns out that our clients are offered a settlement that they can accept, then great. How the cases are settled is up to the class members. I think some representatives are interested in declarative or injunctive relief so that future law students don’t run into same problems. Some may be interested in monetary compensation because of their high debt loads.
ANZISKA: In our Cooley lawsuit, we asked for injunctive relief, because all law schools must have their employment data audited. There can be no more self-reporting of unaudited employment data released to the public. Over my dead body, this has to happen, because the incentive to cheat is too great. All law schools must be forced to have their employment data independently verified. I will not sign off on an agreement that does not have that in it. Period. It will not happen.
Wow, it’s great to have such passionate lawyers behind these important cases. If Strauss and Anziska find enough plaintiffs for these suits, it will bring the grand total of lawsuits against law schools over deceptive post-graduate employment data to a whopping EIGHTEEN (including Alaburda v. TJSL).
According to Law School Transparency, with these new lawsuits, about ten percent of all ABA-accredited law schools across eight states stand accused of tortiously misrepresenting job placement statistics. Looks like the ABA is getting something out of this mess after all — someone else is doing their job for them.
Breaking: 15 more ABA-approved law schools to be sued [Law School Transparency]
Another 15 law schools targeted over jobs data [National Law Journal]
Law Firms Announce Plans to Sue 15 More Law Schools over Job Stats [ABA Journal]
Earlier: Cooley Law and NYLS Hit With Class Action Lawsuits
Thomas Cooley Sues A Law Firm And Four ‘John Does’ On the Internet
Suing Law Schools Potpourri: Tidings From Law Schools Named After A ‘Thomas’
Class Action Filed Against Thomas Jefferson School of Law