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更新时间:2016-3-26 10:14:52 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Law Graduate Who Sued Her School Loses at Trial

A jury in San Diego on Thursday rejected claims by a law graduate, Anna Alaburda, that the Thomas Jefferson School of Law enticed her to enroll by using misleading graduate employment figures.

周四——圣迭戈的一个陪审团驳回了法学毕业生安娜·阿拉布尔达(Anna Alaburda)的申诉。她此前宣称,托马斯·杰斐逊法学院(Thomas Jefferson School of Law)虚报毕业生就业数据,以此诱骗她入学。

In the first — and perhaps last — such case to reach the courtroom, Ms. Alaburda, 37, argued that the school reported a higher percentage of its graduates landed jobs after graduation than was actually the case, and that she relied on the bogus data to choose to attend the school.


After amassing more than $150,000 in debt to graduate in 2008, she has been unable to find a full-time, salaried job as a lawyer, she says.


A jury voted nine to three to reject her claims.


Still, unlike more than a dozen other disgruntled lawyers who have tried but failed to bring their former law schools to trial for counting their graduates’ post-degree jobs such as waitresses and bartenders as full-time legal employment, Ms. Alaburda survived attempts over the past five years to sink her case.


Thomas Jefferson stood by its employment figures. Its lawyer, Michael Sullivan, argued that earning a law degree was not a guarantee of a well-paying job.

托马斯·杰斐逊法学院坚称自己提供的就业数据无误。学校的代理律师迈克尔·沙利文(Michael Sullivan)提出,得到法学学位并不能保证找到薪资优厚的工作。

“I’m not here to tell you a law degree is a guarantee of career success, is a guarantee of riches,” Mr. Sullivan told the jury. “It’s not. No degree is.”


At trial in San Diego Superior Court this month, Ms. Alaburda said she chose Thomas Jefferson after consulting popular law school guides, including the 2004 edition of best graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report. The San Diego school’s listing said that just over 80 percent of its graduates were employed nine months after they graduated.

在圣迭戈高等法院本月进行的庭审中,阿拉布尔达表示,她之所以选择托马斯·杰斐逊法学院,首先是查看了一些出名的法学院指南,比如《美国新闻与世界报道》(U.S. News & World Report)的2004年度最佳研究生院排行榜。位于圣迭戈的托马斯·杰斐逊法学院宣称,其毕业生在离校九个月后的就业率略高于80%。

“I knew it wasn’t as competitive as first- or second-tier law schools, but it still had pretty decent statistics and was A.B.A. accredited,” she told the jury.


“So I thought it was a pretty decent school to apply to.”


Other law school graduates, citing six-figure debt and misleading employment data, have tried to hold law schools around the country accountable. About 15 such lawsuits were derailed before they reached a jury.


Ms. Alaburda, who invoked California state fraud protections, was the first to get her case before a jury even though a judge earlier rejected her effort to certify her claim as a class-action lawsuit, with potentially high-dollar damage awards. Ms. Alaburda, who has worked in a series of part-time legal support jobs, asked for $125,000 for lost wages and reimbursement of tuition and fees.


Entry-level legal jobs began shrinking after the 2008 economic slowdown, and law graduates were left saddled with six-figure debt loads and limited job prospects. Since then, the American Bar Association has been taking steps to require law schools to be more open about postgraduate job placement.


While the 200-plus accredited law schools must now publish a more detailed breakdown of their employment data, including whether jobs are full time or part time, critics said the jury’s decision lets schools off the hook.


“This verdict ratifies the systematic deception by law schools, blessed by the American Bar Association,” said Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit that campaigns for law schools to disclose more accurate data.

“这次的判决给法学院的系统性欺骗发了通行证,还有美国律师协会的背书,”法学院透明度组织(Law School Transparency)的执行总监凯尔·麦肯蒂(Kyle McEntee)说。这是一家非营利组织,倡导法学院发布更精确的数据。