It is never a good time to be an unemployed law school grad. Today, it is just a little bit worse.
A lawsuit filed by nine graduates of New York Law School (which, at No. 135 on the U.S. News rankings, is very much not NYU Law School) against their alma mater was dismissed tonight by New York Supreme Court judge Melvin Schweitzer. The graduates, who sued on the grounds that NYLS had misled them about post-grad job prospects, sought a whopping $225 million in damages, which their lawyers say represented the difference between the perceived inflated tuition and the “true value” of their degree. Schweitzer, for whom law school seems to have worked out just fine, wasn’t buying it.
“In this court’s view, the issues posed by this case exemplify the adage that not every ailment afflicting society may be redressed by a lawsuit,” he said.
A recent New York article about the case included the story of one of the plaintiffs, Katherine Cooper. Cooper had borrowed $800,000 by the time she entered her third year of law school, without any job prospects. She did not find a position at a law firm. “I was at the lowest of my lows,” she said, “there’s this whole spiral of shame that sets in when you can’t get the job you want.”
David Anziska, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he planned to appeal the dismissal. The lawyers have brought lawsuits against fourteen law schools across the country, which seem much less likely to be heard after tonight’s ruling.
One of the lawyers for the graduates, Jesse Strauss, may have predicted the outcome of today’s hearing. “I think everyone is cheering for us,” he told New York earlier this month, “but not necessarily betting on us.”