Jobless law graduate sues former school

Crazy Monday
By MIke Mswati | 5 years ago
Photo: Courtesy

Despite having graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in the top tier of her class, in 2008, Anna Alaburda still hasn't managed to find work as a lawyer.

New York Times reports that the disgruntled 37-year old is now blaming her alma mater for the unfortunate situation, claiming that the school manipulated the employment statistics of its graduates in a bid to lure students. She's suing them, hoping to recover the $170,000 she still owes in student loans.

In an ideal situation, working as a lawyer would have more than made up for the cost of her law degree.  But since her graduation in 2008, she claims that she has only served in part-time positions and temporary jobs reviewing documents for law firms.

In her lawsuit she mentions that if she had known what was in store for her after graduation, she would have never attended the school.

Anna also pointed out that the average student debt at Thomas Jefferson was about $137,000 in 2008, but the school's bar passage rate has been consistently lower than 50 percent.

As shocking as it sounds, Anna is not the first law-school graduate attempting to sue her own school. Several other graduates who attended law school in the hope of securing a stable, high-paying jobs are yet to find employment in the legal profession.

Many of them have filed cases against their schools, but none of them ever went to trial. In 2012, Justice Melvin L Schweitzer of the New York Supreme Court, dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine students against New York Law School. They were demanding $225 million for being misled by the school's employment figures.

But in Anna's case, which went to trial on March 7 in San Diego, Judge Joel M Pressman ruled against the school's efforts to scrap the suit. He agreed that withholding transparent and accurate information from students can be damaging, making the Thomas Jefferson the first school to go to trial on such charges.

The school, of course, has dismissed her claims as "meritless", adding that it has a "strong track record of producing successful graduates, with 7,000 alumni working nationally and internationally."

But there's one thing even the school can't deny – the drastic drop in enrolment rates at law schools since 2010.

It seems that fewer and fewer students are willing to take the risk of paying off a student debt, when thousands of former law graduates remain unemployed

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