LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Is Cooley Law School padding the numbers of graduates who find jobs? WWJ’s Rob Sanford reports a New York law firm is saying yes.
Last month the Lansing based Thomas M. Cooley Law school sued the New York law firm of Kurzon Strauss, claiming it was defaming the school in online ads seeking potential plaintiffs who attended Cooley. The New York lawyers claimed the school was making false claims about their graduates employment numbers.
Now, four graduates of the school have sued their alma mater, claiming the school misrepresented its post-graduation employment statistics to attract students.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan by Kurzon Straus, seeks class-action status and $250 million in damages. It claims Cooley counts part-time jobs or employment outside of the legal industry in its numbers.
Kurzon Strauss claims Cooley said about 75 percent to 80 percent of students got jobs within nine months of graduation. The number with a full-time permanent job requiring a law degree is lower, said David Anziska, a lawyer with the firm.
“There are many, many recent grads out there who have not secured gainful employment and are staring down the barrel of tens and tens of thousands of dollars in bone-crushing and soul-crushing debt that they really have no realistic option of ever paying off,” Anziska told the Lansing State Journal.
James Thelen, Cooley’s associate dean for legal affairs and general counsel, says the school stands by its post-graduation employment and salary statistics. He says any claims that students or graduates have been misled or legally harmed are “baseless.”
Cooley Law School about 1,000 graduates a year and about 4,000 students enrolled, with campuses in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills and Grand Rapids.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.