:: Law schools have gone through an immense crisis. 

As surprising as it is, the class action law suit against New York Law School seems to fit right in with the recent trend of criticizing law schools for misrepresenting (1) scholarships, (2) grads’ employment rates, (3) average grads’ salaries, and (4) any number of things.

The complaint is nicely written. I’m going to provide it to my legal writing students as an example of an elegant document.

In particular, the preliminary statement appealed to my literature sensibilities.


“Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant” – Justice Louis Brandeis.

This action seeks to remedy a systemic, ongoing fraud that is ubiquitous in the
legal education industry and threatens to leave a generation of law students in dire financial straits. Essentially, Plaintiffs want to bring an element of “sunlight” or transparency to the way law schools report post-graduate employment data and salary information, by requiring that they make critical, material disclosures that will give both prospective and current students a more accurate picture of their post-graduate financial situation, as opposed to the status quo where law schools are incentivized to engage in all sorts of legerdemain when tabulating employment statistics.

[Download the Full Complaint]

I love the use of Brandeis’s metaphor.

I would quibble with some vocabulary choices, however.

(1) ubiquitous: I think “widespread” would have been more useful here. “Widespread fraud” sounds really bad, indeed worse than does “ubiquitous fraud.”
(2) incentivized: I hate this word. This is a post-industrial Dilbert make-work word. Cut “are incentivized to” altogether from this sentence and you get this: “where law schools engage in all sorts of legerdemain…”. In fact, “are incentivized to” actually removes some liability from the defendant and places it upon some unnamed institutional force that isn’t liable here.
(3) legerdemain: I love it. But I speak French. Anyone else? Any illusionists out there? Would “sleight of hand” be better?

Subscribe to my email letter, Life of the Mind Interrupted...

... on mental health, inspiration, and making the world a better place.

Sign up here: pryalnews.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!