A story was brought to my attention this week by the lovely and talented Alison J. Rich, Esq., partner at the esteemed firm of Evans & Fox LLP.

It appears that some alumni of the Albany Law School of Union University are suing the school alleging that they were misled about the prospects for lucrative employment following graduation.  It further appears that Albany is not the only school facing such a lawsuit.  A Bloomberg article from earlier in the week indicated that similar lawsuits have been filed against Brooklyn Law School, DePaul University and others.   The American Bar Association also posted an article calling these series of lawsuits a “gathering storm.”

I had conversations back when I was still at the DA’s Office with some of the younger prosecutors who described their student loan debt as overwhelming, almost to the point where they were struggling to meet their obligations on the salary they were making.  This stood in stark contrast to lawyers that I started with, of whom I cannot recall one ever saying they were worried about paying back their loans from law school.  My point is that at least anecdotally speaking, it would appear that the cost of a law school education has skyrocketed to outrageous levels. 

That’s where the lawsuits come in; graduates are claiming that they were lured to a particular law school (and into thousands and thousands of dollars of student loan debt) based on the school’s claim of a high placement rate after graduation and school-provided figures about average salaries.  And they are further claiming that post-graduation the job opportunities are not out there as the law school had promised.

The situation certainly bears watching.  On the one hand, one could argue that it’s a “buyer beware” scenario, in that it is not the law school’s place to provide employment upon graduation.  However, the schools, including the one I attended, did advertise very prominently statistics such as their bar passage rates, employment rates, and average salaries.  Undoubtedly this was done to try to convince prospective students to attend that law school instead of another one.

We shall see.