Class Action Suit Filed Against Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Class Action Suit Filed Against Thomas Jefferson School of Law


According to the Courthouse News Service, a 2008 graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, has filed a class action suit against the school. Anna Alaburda, the named plaintiff, claims that “for more than 15 years, TJSL has churned out law school graduates, many of whom have little or no hope of working as attorneys at any point in their careers,” and that the school lures in new meat by misrepresenting the employment and salary records of its graduates.
“TJSL’s average student indebtedness, more than $135,000, is among the highest in the nation. And its Bar passage is consistently lower than 50 percent, well below the average in California,” Alaburda states. Alaburda is seeking more than $50 million in punitive and compensatory damages for members of the class. If the class is certified, it could contain approximately 2,300 graduates of TJSL.

For a more detailed discussion of the Alaburda v. TJSL case, check out David Lat’s article at Above The Law (it has lots of links to other articles on the case, too).

Neophyte Lawyer: I’m more than a little staggered by the thought of $135,000 in student loan debt coming out of law school. I must admit to being somewhat torn on this issue. On the one hand, I’m willing to bet that most law school applicants don’t have a strong understanding of the job market that they will face when they graduate. They are thus forced to rely on the information that the law schools provide concerning job placement, salary ranges, etc. If the law schools are “cooking the books,” as it were, law school grads have every right to be annoyed, to say the least.

On the other hand, it shouldn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to figure out that six-figure student loans are a bad thing, especially if the school where you are incurring those debts doesn’t rank very high in the U.S. News & World Report ratings. If you don’t already have that high-paying law firm gig lined up, racking up the massive debts is going to be a pretty high hurdle to overcome.

Admittedly, my situation was a little different, and I’m not sure I can fully relate to Ms. Alaburda’s plight. I pretty much knew where I was going to land after law school. I also went to a public school (Go, Utes!), so the tuition was more reasonable. And, miracle of miracles, I managed to get through it all without amassing any more student loan debt (I still have a loan from my time at U.S.C. that I’m working on). So for me, law school, while expensive, was still a very good investment.

As I mentioned on Monday, there has been a lot of discussion lately about law school transparency. Perhaps this case will prod either the ABA or Congress to action. Whether that is a good idea remains to be seen.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Is it worth it (financially) to go to law school? Or graduate school in general, for that matter? What about college? Is a Bachelor’s Degree worth it, in this economic climate?

(Hat Tip to Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento at Clannco: Art & Law)


About W. Lewis Black

W. Lewis Black is an associate attorney at Dunn & Dunn, P.C., located in Salt Lake City, Utah. His practice focuses on personal injury, employment law, workers compensation, and Social Security Disability claims. He is a past member of the Ensemble at Pinnacle Acting Company in Midvale, Utah. He can be contacted at
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