The Law School "Game": Win One, Lose One

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The "Games" Used to Enroll Students

The 200-plus accredited U.S. law schools have faced plenty of criticism concerning the process as well as the statistics they use to "game" the process of enticing students to enroll. Basically the game is to tout how high the schools rank in ratings compiled by publications like US News & World Report, and how many graduates use their JDs to enter a prosperous career after they graduate. Of two recent stories about this gaming, carried in the ABA Journal online, one gave the schools a victory of sorts on one count - but neither constituted a ringing endorsement of law school ethics.

Buyer Beware Decision -

In the victory, a Michigan federal judge dismissed a suit by 12 Cooley Law School graduates claiming they were misled about their job prospects. The judge held that statistics about percent of graduates employed and their average starting salaries reported by the school were "literally true" even though they represented incomplete survey responses. But the judge also stated that the statistics, supplied in an ABA-required format, were "... so vague and incomplete as to be meaningless and could not reasonably be relied upon." Bottom line, the judge told the Cooley grads, "An ordinary prudent person would not have relied on the statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more" on a J.D. degree - lumping law schools in the same "buyer beware" category as used car salesmen.

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