The Corner

Can You Sue Your Old Law School?

The latest evidence that there is a rebellion brewing against the everybody-should-go-to-college mentality is a lawsuit brought against a number of law schools by disgruntled graduates.

Apparently a law degree wasn’t the magic ticket to a corner office the plaintiffs had fantasized about. In many cases, it hasn’t even been a ticket to a salary that will enable them to pay off the $100,000-plus in debt they piled up. They might never have signed up for the three-year slog that is law school, they allege, if the law schools hadn’t “misrepresent[ed] job-placement statistics and violat[ed] state consumer protection laws . . . [by] provid[ing] information designed to mislead, deceive and prompt consumers into attending programs they’d otherwise have avoided” (as the New York Post summarized it).

Some of this sounds like it won’t get very far. Everybody brags about his or her product; it’s called advertising. But if, as the suit alleges, schools did stuff like advertising that the “median” salary for their graduates was $160,000 when the school arrived at the figure with tricky accounting, it would seem to a non-lawyer like me that these disgruntled law-school grads have got themselves a case.

In any event, it will be fun to watch, right? Law schools — academia’s cash cows — are the most egregious of the Big Education racket. All undergraduate colleges do is provide the restaurant industry with people who can recite Camus. It’s sort of a victimless crime, only involving students and probably their parents. Law schools, on the other hand, are set up to send more lawyers out into the world. And that by definition is a Very Bad Thing.

I also like this suit because the people involved aren’t that different from the Occupy Wall Streeters — disgruntled recent grads of higher education — but their tactics are one step up the evolutionary chain. These folks aren’t just spending their days milling around public squares eating free cookies and talking to anybody with a camera phone. The law-school grads are doing something!

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