I Want to Sue My Law School

Q I’m a 3L at a lower tier law school, not a Cooley or NYLS, but not a whole lot different. I’ve racked up $90,000 in student loans, am doing well in school but got absolutely no on-campus interviews, either last year or this year. It’s not that I didn’t try. But the big firms, the ones that actually have money to spend on salaries, bypassed my school. And there’s not much out there anywhere else, even locally.

I came to school thinking I had a pretty good chance of a job after three years, especially when the placement office had impressive stats on how many grads actually got jobs. Now it seems those numbers were baked. Should I sue my law school for fraud?

A Sure, go ahead and sue, it’s the new way to complain. But don’t expect to get any of the following out of the lawsuit: a full-time job, a part-time job, or a job at KFC. What will you get? Five more years of sitting there, stewing, and hoping for justice, which you also won’t get. Oh, and, if successful, you’ll get a nice warm plaintiff-like feeling and a voucher for fifty percent off the latest professional responsibility treatise in the law school bookstore.

I’ll admit I went to law school in a different era, but placement stats back then were still a joke and we knew it. I also would wager that your reason for picking your law school, or even going to law school in the first place, had little to do with the specific placement rate of new grads. Or, more accurately for the purpose of suing your school, you wouldn’t have cared one fucking whit whether that rate was 85.3 percent or 81.6 percent. You and 150,000 other folks went to law school in the last three years, and willingly spent more than $100,000 of your own money, taking a gamble that you weren’t going to be the sad sacks within that 19 percent margin of unemployed. But, hey, who knew the economy would tank as you signed your name each year to promissory notes in excess of $30,000? You didn’t. We didn’t.

One more word of bitter wisdom before I get off my soapbox. You think it’s bad now? Go ahead and sue. Believe me, a legion of douchebag first-tier T14 lawyers are currently out there waiting, actually salivating, about taking your deposition and asking in excruciating detail about each and every step you took to go to law school and what exactly you expected from it. Do you really want to give them one more opportunity to feel so smug and righteous?

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

7 Comments

  1. MagicCircleJerk

    September 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Fuck it. Go ahead and sue. What do you have to lose?

    • Michelle Beth

      September 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      And GTFO on FRCP 12(b)(6).

  2. Guano Dubango

    September 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I would not sue. You have a law degree, and this is what is needed to impress people, even if you do not have the ideal job.

    When I graduated from the University of Ghana, I could have had my pick of legal jobs in Ghana, but it was not good enough to impress US women. So I came here, got an LLM degree from a reputable US school, and am now gainfully employed in the US.

    I hope to return to my home country with a suitable US law woman who will bear me issue, so it is not all bad.

    • Michelle Beth

      September 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Guano – That is a lofty goal. But as far as we could tell, you have nothing to show for other than being the most abject and craven supplicant in your relationship with your Aunt Ooona.

  3. Larry Bodine

    October 1, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I went to law school at night and paid my tuition out of my earnings from my full-time day job. Life sucked for 4 years, but I graduated without any debts or guarantees from my law school. It was clear that it was totally stupid to borrow money for tuition and graduate with a decade worth of debt. It was also clear that the law school wouldn’t do squat to help me get a job.

    The graduates who are suing have only themselves to blame for failing to recognize a foreseeable risk: you will graduate with $100,000 in debt and have no way to pay it off.

    Your choices are (a) don’t pay the money back and force the law school sue you because you can discharge the judgment in bankruptcy or (b) spend 10 years working at a public service law firm and the debt will be forgiven.

  4. Alexandra

    March 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    You think they care if you get a job or not? Not that directly. They care about fame and money. So whether they do care about you is a matter of fact depending on the circumstances. Bah…

  5. IPMisha

    July 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    If I were you I would: a) look for a government job (may not pay as well as a big law firm but you get repayment benefits and other wonderful loan bonuses i.e. forgiveness) or b) expand your job search to places not like New York or Boston but to the Midwest — go anywhere and do what you need to do to get the experience. Then after you’ve done your time in East Bumble F*ck, USA — go ahead an apply for that job in NYC at Evil, Greedy, & Miserable.

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