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Author Topic: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"  (Read 5073 times)

LawDog3

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Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« on: March 21, 2009, 04:34:27 AM »
And, if so, why are we letting them get away with it? Why do we allow law schools to lie to prospective students and enrollees by fudging their statistics? Is this not fraud or false advertising? Isn't a school implicitly promising certain levels, qualities and types of opportunities that will inevitably not come to fruition for some students, even if they do perform well? Shouldn't we sue?

Applicants discovered lying or fudging any aspect of their profiles for the benefit of gaining admission are subject to recision of their school admission(s), scholarships and grants, diplomas and bar admission(s), not to mention the forfeiture of any tendered monies to the schools. However, Schools that lure promising students with fake numbers face NO PENALTIES.

My question is this: if students or graduates discover schools falsifying their stats, should they not be allowed to seek recovery of at least a percentage of their money? After all, the students have been falsely induced to the schools and might have made other choices with more accurate information, and this can diminish the value of a school's diploma. What's good for the goose, should be good for the gander, right?

bl825

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2009, 11:16:25 AM »
No.
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TTom

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2009, 11:55:07 AM »
And, if so, why are we letting them get away with it? Why do we allow law schools to lie to prospective students and enrollees by fudging their statistics? Is this not fraud or false advertising? Isn't a school implicitly promising certain levels, qualities and types of opportunities that will inevitably not come to fruition for some students, even if they do perform well? Shouldn't we sue?

Applicants discovered lying or fudging any aspect of their profiles for the benefit of gaining admission are subject to recision of their school admission(s), scholarships and grants, diplomas and bar admission(s), not to mention the forfeiture of any tendered monies to the schools. However, Schools that lure promising students with fake numbers face NO PENALTIES.

My question is this: if students or graduates discover schools falsifying their stats, should they not be allowed to seek recovery of at least a percentage of their money? After all, the students have been falsely induced to the schools and might have made other choices with more accurate information, and this can diminish the value of a school's diploma. What's good for the goose, should be good for the gander, right?



heartbreaker

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2009, 11:56:50 AM »

Matthies

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2009, 12:19:38 PM »
Buyer be ware, check your facts indpendant of the person selling you the product. And own your own results. Someone from those schools is getting a job paying enough to skew the numbers. Some folks make it work despite the odds against them. That person did something right, if you donít end up doing the same then own your on results. Iím tired of people saying itís the schools fault you canít get a job making 100k out the door with nothing on your rťsumť but starbucks. 

That happens at some schools, but not most schools and not to most law students. The schools job is to educate you, they got 100s of professors, tens of classrooms and 100000s of books, and maybe 3 people in the career services office. Schools goals are education not guaranteeing you pass the bar, finding you a job, or your actually good at lawyering - thatís your responsibility.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

LawDog3

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2009, 02:01:48 AM »
Understand that this is only a devil's advocate question. I think we all completely agree on the common sensical point that students should take control of what they have control over: their education. And, to a lesser degree, they have control over their job prospects...in the long run. But what about in the short term, i.e., the months following graduation?

What I am asking is, can/can't it be argued?

As consumers, we hold corporations accountable for making false claims, why should schools be any different? They're businmesses offering a commodity...and we are consumers of education. Isn't that the same thing? How is a false promise to bring in a certain quality of recruiters to the school on a regular basis any different from a false promise to regrow hair?

Notice that many schools list "some past recruiters", but do not reveal what years those recruiters came to their campuses or how frequently, creating the impression that all of the top firms listed on their sites and in their prospectuses visit in any given year or on a regular basis. Is that not deceptive advertising? And what do we make of their gaming the rankings by publishing misleading or outright false statistics? Students choose schools, in part, based on rankings because recruiters do the same. Hence, there's a nexus between the reliance of both parties' on those statistics and the rankings.

Another angle: Matthies says the buyer should be aware. Fair enough. (keep in mind that many jobs are offered before the bar).

Does that mean, then, that if a student falsifies his profile, gains admission to, say, Harvard, and Harvard does not check the applicant's background thoroughly enough, the student should not suffer any penalties? After all, the buyer should beware.

Given, there always exists a disclaimer/warning applicants that dishonesty may/will be punished up to and including expulsion and revocation of a degree. And it is contractually binding. But, should schools be allowed to hold students to that standard while not being held accountable for their own untruths? After all, students attend graduate and professional schools not only for the quality of the education they will recieve, but for the inherent purpose of getting jobs.

And many students perform well and not only fail to get jobs, they are often not interviewed as frequently as advertized, if at all. Is it fair for schools to falsely create expectations they cannot realistically meet? There are B+ students at lower-ranked schoolos that do not get jobs B- students at top schools get. Yet their schools indicate they will at least be interviewed. Many times, they are not, because the school doesn't get the number and/or types of recruiter visits it claims or infers exist each year.

bl825

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2009, 02:46:25 AM »
If you broaden the definition of fraud to include the behavior that you've identified, then the behavior that you've identified falls within the definition of fraud.  :)
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Scentless Apprentice

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2009, 03:36:11 AM »
I think, for Lawdog's fraud angle, you would have to prove that students have been misrepresented to by law school faculty/campus career centers, etc. There would have to an accurate picture of the situation drawn up and then evaluated. You may have to track students down, with the ultimate goal of getting the class's stats after graduation, not just the self selected bias portion that the school gives. Would the ultimate goal be that the school presented themselves as one thing, but it was actually found be 'x'. Is that fraud? It would matter on the misrepresentation, and any possible negligence. I'm just guessing.I really don't have anything to add. I'll just let you guys figure it out.
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LawDog3

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2009, 05:03:03 AM »
I think, for Lawdog's fraud angle, you would have to prove that students have been misrepresented to by law school faculty/campus career centers, etc. There would have to an accurate picture of the situation drawn up and then evaluated. You may have to track students down, with the ultimate goal of getting the class's stats after graduation, not just the self selected bias portion that the school gives. Would the ultimate goal be that the school presented themselves as one thing, but it was actually found be 'x'. Is that fraud? It would matter on the misrepresentation, and any possible negligence. I'm just guessing.I really don't have anything to add. I'll just let you guys figure it out.

Good points in the first few sentences. But, by the time students even interact with career services, they are already enrolled, even though they have the opportunity to do research. And maybe more students should be calling or visiting. But, there's still the issue of the devalued diploma. Just by enrolling, students experience an "opportunity cost" almost within their first few months, when they learn that Cravath, Skadden, Kirkland & Ellis and other top firms have visited a school's campus once in the past eight years...and in separate years. That opportunity cost is exascerbated when it is discovered (like at Case Western, ranking dropped from high 40's to mid-60's) that numbers have been fudged.

Matthies

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Re: Are Law Schools Committing "Fraud"
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2009, 09:34:38 AM »
Understand that this is only a devil's advocate question. I think we all completely agree on the common sensical point that students should take control of what they have control over: their education. And, to a lesser degree, they have control over their job prospects...in the long run. But what about in the short term, i.e., the months following graduation?

What I am asking is, can/can't it be argued?

As consumers, we hold corporations accountable for making false claims, why should schools be any different? They're businmesses offering a commodity...and we are consumers of education. Isn't that the same thing? How is a false promise to bring in a certain quality of recruiters to the school on a regular basis any different from a false promise to regrow hair?

Notice that many schools list "some past recruiters", but do not reveal what years those recruiters came to their campuses or how frequently, creating the impression that all of the top firms listed on their sites and in their prospectuses visit in any given year or on a regular basis. Is that not deceptive advertising? And what do we make of their gaming the rankings by publishing misleading or outright false statistics? Students choose schools, in part, based on rankings because recruiters do the same. Hence, there's a nexus between the reliance of both parties' on those statistics and the rankings.

And many students perform well and not only fail to get jobs, they are often not interviewed as frequently as advertized, if at all. Is it fair for schools to falsely create expectations they cannot realistically meet? There are B+ students at lower-ranked schoolos that do not get jobs B- students at top schools get. Yet their schools indicate they will at least be interviewed. Many times, they are not, because the school doesn't get the number and/or types of recruiter visits it claims or infers exist each year.


Lawdog, what we have here, our disagreement, stems from a fundamental difference in what we see as the purpose of a law school. Your combining education and job placement, Iím arguing that not the primary purpose of the school. A school's primary purpose is education not job placement.

Students are looking for a legal education, and thatís all the school guarantees them. Students have a right as a consumer to expect if they enroll into a law school it will keep up its end of the bargain: it will provide the required classes, professors and instruction for a student to receive the JD. That is the only contract the school has with you, provide you to the tools necessary to get the JD. Itís a school, not a head hunter.

Now most schools offer career services offices, many offer student health care, or support for student run organizations like clubs and law reviews, but those are not the primary purposes of a school, they make no guarantees you will find a job, not get sick or end up on law review, those are secondary services they provide while keeping their end of the bargain giving you a JD once you complete all the requirements.

You ask if the same thing happens in other businesses, yes it does, but because consumers donít confuse the purpose and results like law students do, we donít notice it. Letís use buying a car for example. I go and look at cars, right on the window is a BIG number telling me what the estimated gas mileage is for that car. Great! But Iím not buying MPG, Iím buying transportation. The car manufacturer will guarantee that the car I buy runs, stops, starts and gets me from point A to point B, or they will fix it if it does not. They do not guarantee Iíll get the gas mileage listed on the window sticker though, thatís a best case estimate.

Because they, and I as a consumer know that MPG is a best case scenario complied by testing the car in optimum conditions with one type of driver. It does not take into account how individuals drive, or the decisions they make. I may be a stop/gun it driver, or a hyper miler and get less or more MPG then advertised, but no consumer thinks thatís the manufactures duty to guarantee me exactly 35 MPG highway - as they say ďyour mileage may vary.Ē

Same thing with schools, the career services office, on campus interviewing are all secondary to the primary purpose of the school: education. They can list the salaries of the students who have done really good, or the people who have interviewed there in the past, but they are not guaranteeing you anything other than a JD. Your mileage may vary. Itís just as unwise for students to go to any school thinking that because in the past people who are not them have different histories and habit than them got jobs paying X, that you should as well, as if I made my decision to buy a car based on the MPG my 60 y.o. mom was getting in the same brand she bought two years ago.

Your individual mileage may vary, we donít hold car makers to these predictions because we know every driver is different, yet we want to hold schools to this when every student is different too. School guarantee you one thing, a JD, everything else is secondary. Buyer beware, do your research, do your due diligence during school, donít rely on the sticker on the window or the job placement data to guarantee you similar results then be disappointed when you donít reach them.

Where people make mistakes, in buying a car or going to a school, is by assuming the data the manufactures lists is its purpose, and not just its results. A news paper lists new stories, advertising, weather and job want adds, getting a job through the paper may be a result, but itís not a news papers primary purpose. Donít confuse the two. The news paper will give me the news, and it might even get me a job, but news is its purpose, job is just a result.

The school advertises what the best students have made $ wise, your responsibility is to do your best individually to achieve that. If you donít that your fault, not the schools fraud, because the school kept up its only side of  the bargin, grant you a JD. Just like some car manufacturers do a better job of creating cars that get as close to the posted MPG with vary types of drives, some school do better at getting interviews for their students, but in the end its up to the individual, not the school, to make or break the interview and get the job. MPG are estimates, job placemnt numbers are estimates, all based on someone who came before you and is not you.

There is no fraud here, there is just consumers making predictions of purpose based on results on the future based on the performance of people in the past who were not them on something the school does not promise will happen in the first place.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.