Student sues school after career disappointment
Career prospects examined
Getting a good education costs a pretty penny these days, with many students having to scrimp and save if they want to obtain degrees from the best universities. So it’s not surprising to discover that some end up being mightily disappointed with their post-study employment options. While, no educational institution can guarantee a glittering career, if it publicises attractive, yet misleading, information about graduate prospects, it may very well open up the case for damages.
This particular theory is about to be tested in the courts as a former law student who graduated at the top of her class but hasn’t been able to secure full-time employment in her chosen field, has been given leave to sue her school.
How do the figures stack up?
In a recent article in The New York Times, it was claimed that Anna Alaburda graduated from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law ten years ago, passing the state bar exam before setting out to find employment armed with the law degree that cost her around $150,000 to earn.
Yet, after sending her resume to more than 150 law firms, Alaburda hasn’t managed to land a full-time job as a lawyer and has issued a $125,000 lawsuit against her former college, accusing them of inflating graduate employment data to tempt students to enrol. As it happens, Alaburda is the first former law student whose case will go to trial, after San Diego Judge Joel M. Pressman gave her the green light to proceed.
Alaburda’s lawyer, Brian Procel, told The New York Times that it’s the first time a ‘law school will be on trial to defend its public employment figures’.
A career on hold
Alaburda has worked in a series of part-time and temporary positions, and claims she would not have enrolled at Thomas Jefferson if the law school had been more honest about graduate prospects.
According to the Times, Thomas Jefferson’s Dean Thomas F. Guernsey responded that the school has ‘a strong track record of producing successful graduates, with 7,000 alumni working nationally and internationally’.
Employment data plays a critical part in national law school rankings, and allows the best schools to charge top dollar for a legal education. For students, though, it’s a gamble as they may not know how well their money has been spent till they start job-hunting. With many fees amounting to six-figure totals, value for money may be harder and harder to come by.
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