When I first heard about the class action lawsuits alleging fraud based on inflated post-grad career placement statistics filed against 14 law schools, I wasn’t shocked in the least by the allegations contained in the complaints.
Instead, my reaction was more like, “Yep, that sounds about right.”
So I guess it isn’t surprising that, last week, the plaintiffs’ firm released the names of 20 more law schools—including my alma mater—against which it will probably file similar class actions.
Lest anyone get their panties in an uproar, allow me to make myself clear: I’m not necessarily in favor of these class actions, nor would I characterize myself as feeling particularly defrauded by my law school’s marketing materials. The blame lies squarely with me for most of the foolish miscalculations that lured me into law school.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t misled by my law school. But I believe that the onus was on me to dig deeper and verify whether there was any specific factual basis for the bland, uniformly perfect-looking statistics on my school’s website before I submitted my application. It doesn’t take a lawyer (pun entirely intended) to realize that the statement “97% of last year’s graduating class was employed within six months of graduation” is practically begging for cross-examination, e.g., “Now, when you say ‘employed,’ what exactly does that mean? Full-time or part-time? At a law firm? Or at Denny’s?”
But instead of asking these ridiculously obvious questions (bearing in mind that one of the reasons I decided to apply to law school in the first place was my sharp-as-razor-wire ability to question everything, often to the point of near absurdity), I decided instead to allow myself to be lulled into seductively simple submission. I didn’t want to ask any hard questions because I had already invested time and effort into taking the LSAT (twice) and compiling the tedious application materials for the schools on my short list. In other words, the ring was on my finger and I already bought the dress and veil, so why not just walk down the aisle and hope that the barely-concealed red flags would somehow magically disappear?
In other words, I tripped over a dollar to pick up a penny (or rather, I tripped over three years and $100,000 to pick up three weeks and the marginal cost of an LSAT course). And now, if this class action is ultimately successful, it appears that I might be able to pick back up a nominal amount of what I lost. The problem is—at this point—I could care less about the money because the more precious thing I wasted was time.