The major story on the New York Times' business page today (March 7) reports that a long-standing lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson School of Law goes to trial today in Superior Court.
Anna Alaburda, a Jefferson grad who passed the bar but can't find a full-time job as a lawyer, claims that Jefferson inflated its employment data to hoodwink students into enrolling.
She originally filed a class action suit, but the judge only permitted her to file on her own behalf. She is asking for $125,000 in damages — less than the $170,000 in student debt she has rolled up.
According to the Times, Dean Thomas F. Guernsey asserts that the school has "a strong track record of producing successful graduates, with 7000 alumni working nationally and internationally."
This is a questionable statement. In recent years, the school's grads have had a low rate passing the bar, and, as City Journal noted in 2014, "the actual placement rate for Thomas Jefferson graduates in full-time legal positions within nine months of graduation is [close] to 25 percent."
In 2014, City Journal and JDJournal questioned if Jefferson can survive. The school built a new building in 2011, and in December of 2013 Standard & Poor's gave it a junk bond rating. In January of this year, the U.S. Department of Education put Jefferson on the "heightened cash monitoring list" because of its high debt.