Graduates should not sue schools for career failures

On October 17, 2011

Law schools train students to be well versed in every aspect of the law, and many recent graduates, facing a tough job market, have used that education to turn on their alma maters by filing lawsuits.

In May, graduates filed a class-action lawsuit against the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. The trend spread to other schools, and this month a group of lawyers suing New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, in Michigan, announced plans to sue 15 more schools in seven states, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The lawyers predicted every law school in the country will face a suit over the next few years, according to the Chronicle. The chief complaint is that law schools misrepresented how truly hard it was to get a job in the legal field, even to the point of manipulating placement rate statistics.

Law schools may be feeling similar to Dr. Frankenstein as their fledgling graduates turn on them, and it may not be long before graduates in other fields turn on their respective universities.

This is yet another symptom of the undue sense of entitlement many Americans have. Rather than work harder, they would rather lay the blame on someone else.

Florida graduates face a hard job climate, while Gov. Rick Scott and his supporters have stressed lately that schools aren't giving out the right degrees students need to get jobs. State Sen. Don Gaetz wants universities to shift funds away from liberal arts degrees rather than increase government spending.

"When the No. 1 degree granted is psychology and the No. 2 degree is political science, maybe before we ask $100 million more of taxpayers we should redeploy what we have," he told the St. Petersburg Times. "That way, we make sure we're not sending graduates out with degrees that don't mean much."

If social sciences and liberal arts majors are failing to find jobs, they may be inspired to sue USF and other state schools, even if they don't have the legal expertise of law school students. Robert B. Smith, a higher-education lawyer who was consulted by some of the laws schools being threatened, said to the Chronicle that if the lawsuits have "even a little success, others may be motivated to file copycat lawsuits against other targets."

David Anziska, one of the lawyers involved in the law school litigations, posted on his website plans to use the same tactic to hold "other graduate and trade schools accountable for inflating placement rates," according to the Chronicle.

While USF may not be manipulating the numbers, as these schools are accused of doing, any number of other reasons could be found, and these lawsuits only open the door for more frivolous attacks on institutes of higher education.

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