Wednesday, August 22, 2012
National Law Journal: Judge Skeptical About Graduates' Claim that Brooklyn Law School Committed Fraud:
The fraud class action brought by graduates of Brooklyn Law School against their alma mater appears to be turning into an uphill battle.
Attorneys for both sides spent three hours before Kings County, N.Y., Supreme Court Justice David Schmidt on August 21 debating the law school's motion to dismiss. Schmidt asked pointed questions both of plaintiffs attorney Frank Raimond and defense attorney Russell Jackson regarding allegations that the school misrepresented graduate employment and salary data to lure students.
But Schmidt seemed deeply skeptical about the claims that the manner in which the law school reported its jobs data constituted fraud — or that the plaintiffs have shown enough evidence of manipulated job numbers to survive the motion to dismiss. "Where is the basis for a fraud argument?" Schmidt asked Raimond. "You have generalized industry statistics. Where do you see that they have deceived the public?" A similar complaint could be leveled against any law school in the country, Schmidt said. ...
Most of the hearing centered on Brooklyn Law School's claim that 91.3% of the class of 2009 was employed nine months after graduation. The plaintiffs allege that this figure was deceptive because it included students in any type of job, not just those in legal jobs, plus graduates in temporary or volunteer positions. The school knew how many graduates were in fulltime jobs that require or prefer a J.D., but chose not to report those figures — committing fraud by omission, Raimond said.
Jackson countered that Brooklyn Law School was simply following the reporting standards set forth by the ABA and NALP. That has been a common defense among the targeted law schools.