At a time of dim employment prospects for lawyers, with reduced entry-level positions available because of the Internet and other technologies, 20 lawsuits have been filed nationally against schools to combat what one litigant, Michael D. Lieberman, called in his complaint a "systematic, ongoing fraud prevalent in the legal education industry."
Lieberman enrolled in Los Angeles' Southwestern Law School after learning 97 percent of its graduates were employed within nine months of graduation. He graduated in 2009 and passed the bar examination but could not find work. He now works as a field representative for an elected official, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
A list of 20 California law schools, compiled by the American Bar Association and indicating the percentage of graduates who found full-time, long-term positions as lawyers within nine months of graduation, shows Whittier College at 17.1 percent and Golden Gate University at 22.0 percent. The list ranges from those percentages to 91.1 percent for Stanford University.
Alumni of Golden Gate, the University of San Diego, Thomas Jefferson and California Western have joined Southwestern's in suing their schools. Each school charges tuition of about $40,000 per year, the newspaper said.
J.R. Parker, a lawyer in four of the cases against the schools, said schools gather data showing graduates end up in non-legal jobs, like "literally folding shirts at Macy's," but omit that information from what they disclose to the public.
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