Does It Matter if Law Schools Are Honest or Not?

Several lawyers are working on a gigantic class-action lawsuit against American law schools. They argue that law schools are really, really deceptive when reporting graduates salaries and employment to prospective students. The lawsuit suffered a huge setback today when the New York Supreme Court dismissed it.

As Judge Melvin Schweitzer explained:

It is also difficult for the court to conceive that somehow lost on these plaintiffs is a fact that a goodly number of law school graduates toil (perhaps part-time) in drudgery or have less than hugely successful careers. NYLS applicants, as reasonable consumers of a legal education, would have to be wearing blinders not to be aware of these well-established facts of life in the world of legal employment.

This is astoundingly stupid.

Obviously the students understand that “a goodly number of law school graduates toil (perhaps part-time) in drudgery or have less than hugely successful careers.”

What they need to have, in order to make an informed decision about law school attendance, is some idea what that “goodly” number is, and which law schools that applies to. It’s the availability of that sort of information, honestly presented and comparable across the sector, that makes someone a reasonable consumer. One can’t be a reasonably consumer without good information.

What the decision seems to indicate, moreover, is not that the law schools were actually presenting accurate statistics about employment, but that there’s not much reason that they should bother to do so.

Facts, who needs facts? This is the law.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer