Going to trial

Law graduate sues law school for misleading her about employment prospects

Anna Alaburda. (Coley brown/The New York Times)

Anna Alaburda, a young lawyer from California, has become the first former law school student to see her case against a law school — for artificially boosting its employment data — go to court. The now 37-year old lawyer graduated from  the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2008 in the top of her class, but now finds herself unable to land a full-time position as a lawyer, a situation similar to that of many of her fellow law graduates. While several other students have tried suing their law school for misrepresenting its alumni employment data (by counting part-time waitressing or similar work as full-time employment, for example), their lawsuits have so far not made it to trial, as judges generally concluded they had chosen to get their degree at their own risk.

Alaburda filed her lawsuit originally in 2011, after she found herself unable to land a stable well-paying job while seeing her student debt rise (she now owes $170,000, with an interest rate around 8 percent). Thomas Jefferson says its employment data are accurate and Mrs. Alaburda’s claims are “meritless” and asked for the suit to be tossed out. A San Diego judge decided to let the trial go forward, however, arguing that it could be harmful to deny students accurate and transparent information about their education options. “It has taken five years,” said her lawyer, Brian A. Procel of Los Angeles. “But this will be the first time a law school will be on trial to defend its public employment figures.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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