With thousands of college-educated Californians out of work, those unemployed may very well feel like suing the schools that promised them job stability.
One law school graduate from San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law is doing just that.
Anna Alaburda, the plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit against TJSL, graduated with honors in 2008, passed the bar exam, and has since been unemployed. The situation was not what she had in mind when she decided to attend the school, reading in the U.S. News and World Report that 80.1 percent of the school’s graduates had a job nine months after graduation.
She now finds herself in the minority, having applied to 150 jobs, and struggling to pay back $150,000 in debt from her student loans.
“For more than 15 years, TJSL has churned out law school graduates, many of whom have little or no hope of working as attorneys at any point in their careers," she says in the complaint.
She alleges that the 80.1 percent of employed students the school advertises is a fraudulent claim. Included in this statistic are part-time jobs and non-legal jobs – not attorney positions, as she was led to believe.
"The foregoing statistics were false, misleading, and intentionally designed to deceive all who read them," the complaint reads.
She filed the class action lawsuit in the California state court on May 26. The class includes 2,300 potential members with damages exceeding $50 million.
In response, Beth Kransberger, associate dean for student affairs, told the National Law Journal that the lawsuit is more an indicator of the rising US unemployment rate than the school’s statistics themselves.
"The school has always followed the guidelines established by the ABA. We've always been accurate in what we report, and we've always followed the system given to us by the ABA," Kransberger said. "This lawsuit is very much about a larger debate. This is part of the debate about whether it's practical to pursue a graduate degree in these difficult economic times."
Though May’s unemployment figures have not yet been released, Bloomberg News states that companies in the US reported fewer workers than forecasted in May. Figures from ADP Employer Services found that although employment increased slightly last month, May’s increase was the smallest increase since September.