Do Law Schools Cook Their Employment Numbers?

It's often assumed that even in tough times, lawyers can find good jobs. But that proposition is being overturned by a tight legal market, and by a glut of graduates.

The nation's law schools are facing growing pressure to be more upfront about their graduates' job prospects. Many students say they were lured in by juicy job numbers, but when they got out, all they ended up with is massive debt.

Chloe Gilgan enrolled at New York Law School in 2005, with one thing in mind: getting a good paying job. She says the school gave her every assurance that she was in the right place, and that she was told "a high majority of their graduates would find employment at least within 9 months of graduating, and that they tended to have three-figure salaries."

Three years after graduation, Gilgan says, the only three-figure number she's staring at is her student debt. The only job she found was doing work that did not require a law degree. Gilgan is convinced New York Law twisted its job numbers.

"Nobody can guarantee you'll have a job for sure," she says, "but what they can do is give you honest prospects."

So Gilgan has joined a proposed class action suit against New York Law School, charging that it has deceived students. Attorney David Anziska is lining up plaintiffs who attended primarily lower-tier law schools, paid more than $40,000 a year and feel they got little in return.

New York Law School says it provides all the information required by the American Bar Association and more. Interim Dean Carol Buckler says the school tries hard to counsel students about their employment prospects.

"We also break down the information based on the type of employer and the salaries that graduates might expect," Buckler says.

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NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

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