Law student can't find job after graduating - sues

A law graduate is suing her former law school for $125,000 after she couldn't find a job.

Anna Alaburda finished top of her class at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law over 10 years ago. Since then she hasn't been able to land a full-time paid job as a lawyer.

So, with true lawyer instinct, she is now suing her former university for $125,000 in damages, for misleading her with claims that her degree could one day lead to a job.

150 job applications - 1 $65,000 job turned down

After she graduated, Anna went on to pass the bar and began applying for jobs. In fact, she told the New York Times, she applied for over 150 jobs at law firms, but only received one job offer for her efforts. And the one job she was offered she had to turn down because it was worse than the non-law jobs out there, paying "only" $65,000.

Anna is now arguing that she was misled by her university, who her case says emphasised the employment figures for their graduates, as a way to attract students to their courses.

This is the first case of her kind that will go to trial, despite many many law students who are in the same boat. If she's successful, it could open up other colleges in the US for further similar lawsuits.


Similar UK cases

This is by no means the first time someone has tried to sue their university. Similar cases have been seen in the UK.

In 2002, Mature student Mike Austin, was given £30,000 by the University of Wolverhampton in an out-of-court settlement. His grievances included "crowded lecture halls, poorly drafted exams papers and inflated promises" by the University,

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland Andrew Croskery sued Queen's University Belfast when they refused to reclassify his 2:2 degree to a 2:1, even though he only missed out on the grade by a percentage point.


$150,000 in the red

Anna has racked up $150,000 in debt from her degree, and a total debt of $170,000 after only being able to find part-time work, mainly temp jobs reviewing documents for law firms.

Despite efforts by the law school to get her case thrown out, Judge Joel M. Pressman ruled against the law school.

Her lawyer, Brian Procel, said that this will be the first time a "law school will be on trial to defend its public employment figures". He will argue in court that the law schools fudged the numbers, inflating them in order to get more students to enrol. He will claim that the inflated numbers entice "students to choose an education that can result in lifelong debt that cannot be easily discharged even in bankruptcy", according to The Times.

The school claims they have "a strong track record of producing successful graduates, with 7,000 alumni working nationally and internationally".

The court case has not yet taken place, but will no doubt be reassuring for unemployed recent graduates everywhere - there is a safety net after all.


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