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Nearly ten years after graduating from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Anna Alaburda, Esq., will have her day in court. The issue? Misleading employment numbers published by the school. This is just the latest in a string of legal attacks that have recently hit Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law is a case that law school across the country will be watching. Although there have been many lawsuits brought by former grads against their law schools, this will be the first that finally makes it to trial.
Cooking the Books, Misleading Numbers
Thomas Jefferson School of Law is one of those school that built up a reputation we'll bet it wishes it could burnish. We've written at least two stories of former graduates who'd brought legal action against TJSL alleging that the law school either intentionally or negligently misrepresented their employment numbers in a bid to lure law students into attendance. So far, Nikki Nguyen's and Clark Moffats' suits are still pending. In the latter case, Moffat drives full time for Uber.
Underemployed Grads v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Ms. Alaburda is just one more of the increasingly disillusioned students who graduated from TJSL. Her records indicate that she graduated near the top of her class and passed the California State Bar, but with $150,000 debt in hand. It's been almost a decade since she graduated and she still cannot find full-time employment as an attorney.
But TJSL is not the only school that has been accused of being less than fully open about posted employment figures: other mentions include Hofstra Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent, DePaul University and Widener. In California, suits that later fizzled out were brought against Golden Gate University School of Law and University of San Francisco School of Law. In the non-California cases, the defendants' attorneys defended successfully on theories that applying students are sophisticated consumers who knowingly assume the risk of an uncertain job market.
One for the Books
Alaburda will be one for the books because it will proceed to court, though not entirely in the way that Ms. Alaburda had intended. TSJL's fourth and final motion for summary judgment was dismissed, but the judge in the case denied class action certification. So, other TJSL students will have to bring suits individually if they wish to proceed.