Three recent graduates of New York Law School claim they were duped by the school's marketing campaign. According to a $200 million lawsuit, the law school reported fraudulent employment statistics intended to deceive prospective students.
Alexandra Gomez-Jimenez, a plaintiff in the suit, says she spent more than a year after graduating in 2007 looking for full-time legal work.
“Within my graduation class, the minority had jobs,” Gomez-Jimenez said.
Official employment stats published by New York Law School claim more than 90 percent of 2010 graduates have jobs, even though many law firms are cutting back. The lawsuit claims those figures amount to false advertising because many of the former students -- though classified as employed -- are not working in the legal field.
“We believe that is misleading,” said Jesse Strauss, an attorney representing the former NYLS students.
“They say employed is employed. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a legal job or a job that doesn’t require a Juris Doctorate. It doesn’t matter if you’re working full time or part time. As long as you say you’re employed you’re counted.”
Strauss has filed a similar suit claiming Michigan’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School is also distorting employment statistics.
“This is going on at almost every law school around the country,” Strauss said.
New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar declined to be interviewed by NBC New York. He issued a one-line statement insisting “these claims are without merit and we will vigorously defend against them in court.”
In late 2009, Gomez-Jimenez quit her fruitless job search and opened her own immigration law practice. Despite now being self-employed in the legal field, she gives no thanks to New York Law School.
“There was a certain representation made to me when applying,” Gomez-Jimenez said.
“The main reason why I did go out on my own was more because I couldn’t find a job doing legal work for someone else.”