False advertising about job-placement rates may have duped people into taking out massive student loans.
Anyone who still believes that law school is a golden ticket to a high-powered job with a mid-six-figure salary evidently lives in some parallel world with no news coverage. Over the past four years of recession and glacial recovery, dozens of articles have reported on the trend of newly minted lawyers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and no job prospects. And though media coverage of the problem has felt over-the-top at times—it can be awfully hard to pity people who elected to take out massive loans to go into an overcrowded profession—it seems to be having some effect: applications to law school were down 11.5 percent nationwide this spring.
Declining applications are a frightening trend for law schools that want to continue existing, so it's not surprising that many of them are working feverishly to find ways of distinguishing themselves from competing institutions. And, of course, one key way of doing that is advertising high job-placement rates and starting salaries for new graduates. Every law school in the country has a web page boasting impressive-sounding statistics about alumni employment. The only problem, according to two new law suits? Those numbers are completely fictional.