A decision released Tuesday by the 6th Circuit ends the lawsuit brought by several Cooley Law School grads alleging pre-enrollment misrepresentation about their employment prospects. The 6th Circuit affirmed a federal district court opinion dismissing the suit but raising reservations about the value of a law school education. The plaintiffs' attorney was undaunted by the dismissal, declaring a victory of sorts, as reported by Reuters:
Jesse Strauss of Strauss Law had two goals when he filed a fraud suit on behalf of 12 graduates of Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The first was to win compensation for the Cooley grads, who had paid tens of thousands of dollars of tuition in the misguided expectation that a Cooley law degree would lead to a full-time legal career. The second, he told me, was to dispel similar misguided expectations by anyone else considering enrollment at Cooley. A ruling Tuesday by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will probably spell the end of the hope that Cooley graduates can get any of their money back from the school, but it should also expose the law school as a highly questionable investment for prospective lawyers.
“Based on my clients’ reactions, everyone is proud of their involvement in this suit,” Strauss said. “We’ve done real justice.”
James Thelen, Cooley's General Counsel, countered Strauss, telling Reuters that Cooley's mission is to make law school accessible to people who want to become lawyers but might not meet the standards of more selective institutions. He called the 6th Circuit’s description of the “dismal” prospects of Cooley graduates not a legal finding but a statement based on the unproven allegations from the plaintiffs’ complaint. Thelen also said that the problem of law school debt load is one that all law schools must confront, and suggested that one solution might be for the ABA to create a tiered system of accreditation.