BLS graduates sue BLS

In a brief news item reported Sunday, February 5, 2012, WNYC radio discussed litigation brought against four law schools in New York State, one of which is Brooklyn Law School.  In dispute is whether the four law schools exaggerated the salaries and employment statistics of their graduates, which enticed people to attend these institutions.  Does this make an important Brooklyn Heights neighborhood institution look bad?

Another factor which makes this case noteworthy is that some of the plaintiffs are represented by attorney Jesse Strauss, former candidate for the Male District Leader of the 52nd Assembly District.  Further intriguing is that Mr. Strauss is also a graduate of Brooklyn Law School.

On a personal note, as a fellow graduate of Brooklyn Law School, there is something unfortunate about this whole scenario.  I am happy with my education and did not expect guaranteed success.  There are too many intangibles to the practice of law to think that these statistics ever actually mean anything.  Who doesn’t know that…?

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  • Matthew Parker

    Guess they need to put those law degrees to some sort of use. Sorry law grads, they never promised you a rose garden. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. Your mileage may vary.

    Since when/why should a law degree shield anyone from the vagaries of the economy? Another reason to love attorneys.

  • Henry

    It appears that the lawyers-to-be did not do thorough diligence or else they would have known the facts which were readily available. They probably are not very competent attorneys and thus not receiving the compensation then think they unjustly deserve.

  • David on Middagh

    “Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.”

    Sure. But if the law schools fudged the past performance records? This country allows a lot of puffery in advertising. But the more quantifiable the advertising claim, the riskier it is to depart from, or cherry-pick, the numbers. Don’t you think the marketing arms of the law schools took a risk, and now the chickens are coming home to roost?

    Still, it’s a distasteful spectacle.

  • T.K. Small

    The Wall Street Journal has also written on this subject a few days ago.

  • kg

    I graduated from Fordham Law School in 2007, and while I find the conduct of the former students unfortunate, I understand the frustration. No amount of due diligence can prepare a prospective student for the realities of law schools because the law schools do significantly play with the numbers. Law schools parade these incredible statistics around future students that have no actual connection to the realty of the situation i.e., law schools claim 90%+ employment rates w/in 7 months of graduation, but what the law schools neglect to inform the students is that many of those who are employed, are not in the legal field, they are instead doing what they have to do, to make ends meet such as waitressing or bartending. The amount of debt that law students take on to attend law school is overwhelming and the decision to take on the loans is usually based on false and misleading data provided by the law schools. Law school students are not any more entitled to jobs than any other professional, but they should be entitled to receive accurate information from the schools before they make a decision that will cost them 20 years of payments whether they are employed or not.

  • WillowtownCop

    I spent $150K on law school.

    It got me a job as a cop …

  • carol

    This is not just the case with law school; think of all the academic PhD programs versus the number of tenure track positions available each year. Educational institutions need increasing numbers of students for support despite the prospects when students finish.

  • resident

    While what Matthew Parker says is true, it does ignore some of the problems with law school statistical reporting. In a way, law schools DO promise a rose garden. They tout 95% employment rates and median salaries well north of $100K. While past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, it’s hard not to look at that and say “wow, the $50K a year in tuition will be paid for in a heartbeat!'”

    Now, this is coming to light primarily due to forces outside of the law schools control. The recession hit the legal industry very hard and has transformed some of the business practices, leading to less of those $160,000 starting salaries for recent graduates. But, instead of accepting this fact, law schools responded by becoming even more manipulative of their employment statistics. Can’t have any of those new student seats going unfilled.

    Law School problems go a lot deeper than this, but I’m in favor of anything that makes the admissions and cost benefit analysis more transparent. We have way to many law school students in this country, mainly due to the fact that law school’s are huge money earners for their universities. As it doesn’t appear that anything is going to control tuition costs, the least that should be done is giving potential law students a better picture of what they face if they choose that route.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    BLS consistently ranks pretty low on most lists. Its graduates should be happy to find any employment given the competition.

  • David on Middagh

    I don’t want my last comment construed as being against the lawsuits. I’m for them. There must be checks against false advertising.

    A class-action suit against sellers of computer monitors once benefited me twelve bucks. This didn’t come close to making up the difference between what I paid for (a mail-order fifteen-inch screen) and what I received (a thirteen inch screen–the other two inches of glass being part of the cathode ray tube hidden behind the plastic housing), but the shenanigans stopped.

  • T.K. Small

    While not exactly on point, in today’s NYTimes there was a column “Dickens v. Lawyers” and I’m sure he would’ve had some interesting comments on this lawsuit.

  • Hicks St Guy

    but WillowtownCop, you’re such an interesting cop!

  • AL

    TK BLS “an important Brooklyn Heights neighborhood institution”? While BLS has many residences in the Heights, the law school is in Boerum Hill. Do you know something I don’t? Your reporting and posts are usually spot on.

  • T.K. Small

    AL: I was taking an expansive view of the neighborhood/area. After all, my campaign slogan was “Think Big, Vote Small”. Perhaps I am hardwired to exaggerate a little.

    But putting aside my expansionist notions, if we only stuck to the exact parameters of the neighborhood, we wouldn’t talk/kvetch about Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO, Grimaldi’s, Shake Shack, Morton’s Steakhouse, Etc. Think of all the pent-up complaining that might occur and end up traumatizing everyone. I’m just not willing to take that chance…

  • T.K. Small

    I believe Vinny went to the Brooklyn Academy of Law, which is in Bensonhurst.

  • Master Of Middagh

    Right. BLS may not be in the neighborhood proper, but it IS in our zip code, at least- and that makes it our business and duty to gripe and bicker about matters concerning it. :)

  • AL

    TK, MoM Talk about what you will as do I. My point was, why say BLS is in the Heights when it is not.

  • Master Of Middagh

    What YOU want to do here, Al, is split hairs. Go back to what you wrote earlier- BLS owns many building that literally ARE in our neighborhood. This makes them a neighborhood institution if it is THAT important to you. If different neighborhoods were different states, a court would say that BLS is “present” in Brooklyn Heights by virtue of those buildings plus their other interactions here (somebody is studying for February’s BAR exam). They exist in BOTH neighborhoods. Satisfied?- or do you want to keep niggling over this?

  • T.K. Small

    Beware of consistency… It can come back to haunt you.

  • Knight

    BLS is an important Brooklyn Heights neighborhood institution. Although the classrooms may technically be in Downtown, they own dormitories all over the Heights. Their residences on Monroe Place off Pierrepont and on Hick Street just north of Pineapple are most definitely within our neighborhood confines.