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Thomas Jefferson School of Law has had a rough few years. Not the least of its worries was a lawsuit from a former student. But the future is looking just a little brighter for the school, as a jury just reached a 9-3 verdict in favor of Thomas Jefferson Law School.
This case is a major sigh of relief for third-tier law schools everywhere.
Plaintiff Anna Alaburda attended TJSL, graduated at the top of her class, and eventually sued her school for inveigling her into attendance with allegedly misleading employment numbers.
So far, at least 15 different similar cases in which students have brought suit against their law schools for intentionally misleading numbers -- and all have failed pre-trial. Alaburda's is the first to be heard at all on the merits.
Alaburda went into the court, however, not exactly as the most sympathetic witness as she had apparently turned down work at a firm that would have paid her approximately $65,000 annually. Upon graduation, she had amassed approximately $150,000 in debt; and after she turned down that job, she claims to have been unable to find any full time work as an attorney.
But the jury apparently seemed to think that that was her own problem. In court, she cited the U.S. News and World Report statistics for TJSL, which claimed that 80 percent of grads were employed within nine months after graduation. Yes, that might include working at Victoria's Secret, but the jury probably kept in mind the fact that Alaburda did turn down a job offer as an attorney.
Setting the Tone
This is not an auspicious beginning for those who would campaign against law schools for misleading employment figures. Students who were initially hopeful that Ms. Alaburda would get a big payout and set the tone for future plaintiffs have been served a bite of reality sandwich. We encourage all underemployed grads to keep their fingers crossed -- and typing -- during their job searches. It's time better spent getting better jobs than trying to launch a suit against these schools. It's been tried and done.