New York Law School Sued by Students Over Claims About Graduates’ Success

New York Law School was sued by former students who accused the school of inflating statistics on graduates’ jobs and pay.

The lawsuit, filed today in New York, and a second suit filed in Michigan against Thomas M. Cooley Law School, claim the schools knowingly inflated employment and salary statistics to recruit and retain students. The complaints were filed by three New York law graduates and four Cooley graduates seeking to represent all current and former students at both schools.

“We believe the practice of inflating employment statistics and salary information is endemic among law schools,” David Anziska, an attorney for the students with New York-based Kurzon Strauss LLP, said today in a statement. “We hope these suits bring systematic change in the way legal education is marketed by making transparency and accuracy the rule, not the exception.”

Cooley sued Kurzon Strauss and four anonymous bloggers in separate complaints last month claiming they defamed the school through Web postings. Cooley, based in Lansing, Michigan, accused the law firm of false statements on websites to “incite” the readers and to “troll” for plaintiffs for a purported class-action lawsuit.

Misclassifying Graduates

Cooley said in a July 14 statement that its job placement rates are reported annually to the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement nine months after graduations based on the results of surveys and are consistent with all 201 ABA accredited law schools.

Today’s complaints, which seek unspecified damages, claim that law schools, including New York Law and Cooley, misrepresent their graduates’ employment prospects by misclassifying graduates who have only secured part-time or temporary jobs as “fully” employed, according to Kurzon’s statement.

“It is time for the legal academy to own up to this problem,” Jesse Strauss, an attorney for the students, said in a statement.

James Thelen, Cooley’s associate dean for legal affairs and general counsel, wasn’t immediately available for comment on the complaint. A spokesperson at New York Law School wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Founded in 1972, Cooley has four campuses in Michigan, according to its website. New York Law School, founded in 1891, is one of the oldest independent law schools in the U.S. with roughly 1,500 students, according to its website.

The cases are Gomez-Jimenez v. New York Law School, Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York; MacDonald Jr. v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 11-00831, U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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