Paul L. Caron

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thomas Jefferson Law School To Stand Trial For Allegedly Inflating Employment Statistics

Thomas Jefferson Logo (2015)Following up on my recent posts:

Above the Law, Thomas Jefferson School Of Law To Stand Trial For Allegedly Inflating Employment Statistics:

While many other law schools have been taken to court over issues similar to the ones presented in the Alaburda case, never before has a law school been forced to actually stand trial for allegedly inflating its employment statistics. This is historic.

The operative complaint contains counts for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and violations of various California statutes (including laws against unfair and deceptive business practices and false advertising). In considering each cause of action, Judge Joel M. Pressman found for the plaintiffs time and again, overruling each of Thomas Jefferson Law’s arguments. ...

[I]n Judge Pressman’s minute order in the Alaburda case, he said that the plaintiffs’ reliance on employment statistics presented by TJSL in U.S. News & World Report — employment statistics they believed “reflected the status of graduates who either worked in a professional capacity, worked as attorneys or worked in law-related jobs” — was not unreasonable. Judge Pressman continued, bolstering their argument:

A reasonable consumer would not believe employment figures included any and all employment, which would render the figure meaningless in the context of a legal education. A reasonable consumer expects the employment figure to include graduates who work in law-related jobs.

In a statement given to Above the Law, attorneys Brian Procel and Vinay Kohli of Miller Barondess explained what makes the plaintiffs’ case against Thomas Jefferson School of Law so persuasive. Kohli went on to say, “We appreciate the Court’s thoughtful and well-reasoned ruling, and we look forward to our day in court.” Procel and Kohli noted:

We have discovered very compelling evidence of wrongdoing, including evidence that TJSL reported different numbers to US News and NALP in the same year (knowing that the NALP data is not publicly available); we conducted a survey indicating that TJSL’s figures were inflated by 20 and 28 percent in two successive years; and TJSL had a practice of reporting graduates as employed as long as they had a job any time since graduation (i.e., the graduates were actually unemployed at the time of reporting).

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I think the plaintiffs' affidavits do not sound sufficient. They said that the plaintiffs would not have attended if they knew the employment stats were inflated. That is not the same thing as saying they ever looked at the inflated statistics in the first place, or relied on them. I think the judge either missed that or they did not supply a complete copy of the affidavit.

Posted by: Ketch | Jan 7, 2016 10:45:27 AM