Law Schools, Plaintiffs Firms

It’s Time for the New York Court of Appeals to Drop the Hammer on the Law School Lawsuits

Back in December 2012, we broke the news that the dismissal of the Gomez-Jimenez case, a class action lawsuit over New York Law School’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data, had been affirmed by New York’s Appellate Division, First Department. Although the opinion carried with it a wrist slap for NYLS and its business practices, Jesse Strauss, one of the lawyers for the nine plaintiffs, was unsatisfied, and vowed to appeal the case to the state’s highest court.

Well, it seems that the day of reckoning has finally arrived, because the members of Team Strauss/Anziska have filed a motion with the New York Court of Appeals to reinstate their clients’ claims….

Given that the NYLS employment disclosures were found to be “unquestionably less than candid and incomplete” by the New York Appellate Division, it seems that it’s about time for the state Court of Appeals to have a say in this fracas. We imagine that Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman will have some interesting thoughts about the case, especially given the fact that he’s leading the pack in terms of judicial recognition that the third year of law school is a complete waste of time and money.

And let’s not forget the fact that New York courts have been fairly damning in their assessment of the various law school lawsuits that have been filed throughout the state, whereas in California, three similar cases — Thomas Jefferson, Golden Gate, and San Francisco — have already been allowed to proceed to discovery.

Here’s some info about NYLS that you should know before passing judgment on the Gomez-Jimenez case:

  • The total cost of attending NYLS on a full-time basis for the 2012-2013 school year, including tuition and fees, is $49,225.
  • Nine months after graduation from NYLS, only 35.5% of the class of 2011 obtained full-time, long-term employment in positions that required law degrees.
  • According to Team Strauss/Anziska, when several of the plaintiffs in the Gomez-Jimenez suit were applying to NYLS, the school allegedly reported that 92% of graduates of its class of 2007 were employed within nine months of graduation.
  • NYLS posted the lowest bar exam passage rate in New York for the July 2012 exam, and posted the fourth lowest passage rate for the July 2011 exam.

David Anziska, Jesse Strauss, and Frank Raimond filed a motion to appeal today with the Court of Appeals on the Gomez-Jimenez case. Here’s what Strauss had to say in a recent press release on the matter:

Jesse Strauss

“The prior appellate court found that my clients alleged a wrong, alleged they incurred crippling debt because of the wrong, but then stifled their remedy by improperly dismissing the complaint without allowing my clients to develop a factual record,” said Jesse Strauss, one of the lead lawyers representing law students nationwide. “It is impossible to reconcile that result with the current pleading standards and the broad protections offered under New York State law,” Mr. Strauss continued. “The Court of Appeals needs to exercise leadership to restore confidence that plaintiffs who state a cause of action will be permitted to prove their claims, no matter how uncomfortable the alleged malfeasance makes the court.”

Do you think this case will have any traction at the Court of Appeals, or will the court continue to give the supposed “sophisticated consumers” who attended NYLS the finger? Either way, we wish them the best of luck — as our resident underemployed columnist can tell you, it’s hard out there for a recent law graduate.

(If you’re interested, you can read the Gomez-Jimenez Motion for Leave to Appeal on the next page.)

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