Bench Memos

Fighting the Law-School Tuition Scam?

Over a year ago, I highlighted an interesting and provocative post by law professor Brian Tamanaha that decried the huge recent increases in law-school tuition and the associated “lack of candor on the part of law schools” about the realistic earning prospects that their graduates will have as they try to pay off the massive debts that they’ve incurred.

The Wall Street Journal and the National Law Journal report on two class actions filed yesterday against Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan and New York Law School (not to be confused with NYU’s law school) alleging, in the words of NLJ, that the schools “fraudulently inflated post-employment graduation and salary statistics to lure prospective students.” The suits seek massive damages awards. A similar suit was filed against Thomas Jefferson School of Law (in San Diego) in May.

I don’t know anything about the merits of the particular allegations, and if the schools are innocent of the alleged behavior, I certainly hope that they prevail quickly. That said, I have no reason to doubt (and plenty of reason to credit) Tamanaha’s impression that the law-school scam is widespread, and I therefore generally welcome the prospect of more such suits. Further, insofar as any of the suits are unwarranted or abusive or exploit ill-advised laws and legal doctrine, perhaps law school administrators and professors will gain a keener understanding of the unfairness of what so many of them eagerly teach their students to inflict on American businesses.

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