Schools must report accurate statistics
Graduates of two law schools, Thomas M. Cooley Law School and New York Law School (NYLS), are suing their respective alma maters. Graduates of Cooley are looking for $250 million and graduates of NYLS are pushing for a slightly smaller $200 million, but it is not so much the money that matters to these students. What they really want is for the schools to rework the ways in which they present statistics regarding employment rates for their graduates. In both cases, the plaintiffs argue that these schools unfairly include every type of job their graduates obtain in the numbers they present to students. The schools do not differentiate between, say, a graduate who gets snapped up by a prestigious law firm and a graduate who ends up serving coffee at the local Starbucks. In doing so, the schools present higher employment percentages than they would if they only included students who went into law-related careers. This practice is certainly misleading, and it needs to be addressed. However, resorting to a lawsuit seems like an ill-advised move.
Students at any school — whether it’s Cooley, NYLS or even the University — deserve to have all the information. Schools should not present employment rates in lump sums, because such a presentation can establish a false hope in students. Schools should break these statistics down. Rather than offering lump sums, they could offer numbers according to what job sectors graduates enter, or what companies they are employed by. This would prevent students from getting the wrong idea about their job prospects, and it would give them the truth they deserve to have.
However, it is unfair for these graduates to mount a lawsuit against their schools. Of course, they have the right to be upset, and it is good to see them agitating for more truthfulness. The fact remains that even though the statistics were a little misleading, it is not as if these statistics themselves were responsible for the graduates’ difficulties in the job market. The schools did not prevent them from finding stable, well-paying jobs by offering misleading numbers. As such, there’s no reason for these students to receive damages.