Unemployed Law Grad Sues Thomas Jefferson School of Law

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 02, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In an era where law jobs are scarce, is anyone surprised that unemployed law grads would eventually turn against their law schools?

While this blog typically covers cases in the California Appellate Courts or the California Supreme Court, this case is newsworthy for the California lawyer. A class action suit names the Thomas Jefferson School of Law as the defendant, claiming that the school misled law school applicants into believing that they stood a chance in the tough legal job market.

According to Courthouse News, the class covers approximately 2,300 graduates of Thomas Jefferson School of Law and claims that the school brings in candidates by misrepresenting the employment and salary records for its graduates.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Anna Alaburda, claims that she was lured into attending the school. According to the Wall Street Journal (citing the complaint), Alaburda graduated with honors from TJSL in 2008 and passed the California bar exam, yet was unable to secure a full-time job as an attorney, despite the fact that she sent out over 150 resumes to law firms and received only one job offer that was "less favorable than non-law related jobs that were available to her."

The complaint states in part that "on many occasions, plaintiff was informed by employers that they do not hire graduates of TJSL and that the law school's reputation in the legal industry is well below average. Plaintiff's experience is typical of many graduates of TJSL."

Despite the treatment of TJSL graduates in the legal industry, the school nonetheless reported to U.S. News & World Report, in its annual law school rankings report, that 80 percent of TJSL graduates were employed after nine months.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law's associate dean for student affairs had this to say:

"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."

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