A marketing pitch sent to prospective students by Rutgers University School of Law at Camden touted a 90 percent employment rate in the legal field for its employed graduates and top private-practice salaries in excess of $130,000 for “many top students.”
Dean Rayman Solomon is defending the pitch to prospective students despite reports that no more than five recent graduates reported a salary of $130,000.
Solomon is quoted as responding to question with “I don’t know how to respond. If you have a hundred people, would four of them be misled? Would one be misled? Would 98 be misled? [It was] a piece that was designed to get people to think about something they hadn’t thought about. This wasn’t the only information they could get about it.” I am not sure that that is the best approach since any claimed misrepresentation or false advertising case could be denied on the grounds that some people might not be misled or that other information is available.
Associate Dean Camille Andrews sent prospective students information and is the focused of the criticisms. Her bio says that she is married to Congressman Rob Andrews. She teaches professional responsibility.
In my view, the advertising pitch is at best misleading — particularly at a time of depressed employment figures. The fact that this representation is made at a time of falling law school admissions raises additional concerns. The controversy will increase pressure for further disclosures and transparency from the law school.
Source: Higher Education as first seen on ABA Journal.
16 thoughts on “Rutgers School of Law Accused False Advertising of Salaries In Excess of $130,000 For Top Students”
Former student of Turley wanted to make it known a misleaing e-mailed is being sent to practitioners from lawnet citing this article and turley by name, lawnet is some time of legal research subscription service.
Wow, what a read (the comments I mean). I have practiced law for 36 years and now see the end of this mindlessness. When I retire (soon), I’ll be glad to make room for at least one of the glut of unemployed baby lawyers. For such an elite group, I’m surprised that more due diligence was not done before incurring $200K+ in debt to get a job for $74-130K right out of school. Bad economic analysis. The legal market place has been overcrowded for quite some time, and the job situation is no secrete. Law schools need to figure out that when there are few jobs, stop pumping out baby lawyers as if society is suffering from a deficit of legal talent and access to same.
Oh well, I’m glad to be on this side of the career curve. There is life after the law.
I’ve been practicing law for 30 years. If I received this I would consider it misleading given the information now made known.
I’ll also tell you there isn’t enough work out there for everyone and that which is there will not justify an expenditure of $200,000, but the education itself might be worth it to you. Business is way down for everyone and that which is there is a different quality and type from the past. This will not be changing soon. Law schools have been pulling this for the last 40 years. The field has been crowded that long and now it is only worse. (In 1963 my law school, the best known in the state, graduated 19 people. In each of the last 30 years they have graduated around 250 each year.)
Even so, it is hard to find people who have put the time into being well educated in the law when they come out who are also willing to work hard. Let’s face it, if they do that they won’t be paid what they expect or deserve for it anyway. The message has always been ‘become a lawyer and you will become wealthy.’ I’m here to tell you that is a lottery ticket that doesn’t pay off for the vast majority. It has only been fed by the law schools around the country who all do this, and the quality of graduate we see today is far, far less than even a decade ago.
My firm pays for that misrepresentation when the disillusioned find that not only have they not been taught well enough to do even basic work, but they can’t make any money unless they work extremely hard for several years and it still may not pan out. (Over 20 years out of about 40 failed associates, all but about 10 work for the government. That should tell you a lot since we have hired regularly from 4 different law schools in the region.)
I graduated at the height of the last ‘Great Recession.’ I was lucky to find part time work though well qualified. That eventually turned into full time work after about 6 months when another associate left, so there is an idea for you if you’re unemployed. But the most offensive thing was receiving a congratulatory letter from the dean of my law school on getting the part time job I had, which barely paid the rent and was less than I could have been earning had I just used my bachelor’s degree out of college.
Law school is too expensive, there are too many of them and too many admitted, they aren’t–on average– the cream of the crop, and the work available doesn’t justify it. That is the bottom line. Get the education if you want it. Being trained to think has its benefits, but don’t expect to be a high earning lawyer; and if you don’t work extremely hard don’t expect to know anything when you’re done, and don’t pretend that you do.
You would have more credibility if you proofed your work. “Associate Dean Camille Andrews sent prospective students information and is the focused of the criticisms.” Really? “. . .was the focused . . .”
I agree with the interpretation that this was untrue, not just misleading. However, I wondered why you mentioned her husband. Just generally because he is in congress? Because he sits on an ethics committee? Isn’t it enough that she teaches professional responsibility and is responsible for herself?
I’m a 1980 graduate of Rutgers-Camden School of Law. The letter is so qualified and carefully worded as to be accurate as far as it goes, but conveys a false impression. What %age of recent graduates are unemployed? How is “top student” defined? Law Review? Without this information the letter does not convey a true picture for prospective students. The elite in any law school will be ok. The rest?
Law schools continue to be profit centers for universities, despite the dismal effect that the on-going recession and structural changes in the world economy have on the demand for law graduates. Formerly it might have made sense for recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees to wait out previously normal cyclical recessions in law or MBA schools before entering the job market. Probably not this time. As such Boalt Hall’s decision to cut back enrollment has more integrity, even if more likely motivated by California’s budget crisis than “doing the right thing” by its prospective students.
BTW, the uninformed comment that Rutgers-Camden School of Law is on its way out is false. The proposal, still far from certain to go forward, is for all of Rutgers-Camden schools and programs to be merged into another state university – Rowan University, formerly known as Glassboro State College. That Rutgers-Newark School of Law ranks 40th of the top 50 law schools with graduates hired by New Jersey’s top 250 law firms is no great bragging right either. Top 250 law firms? By size? What does that mean? Rutgers-Camden School of Law is well-regarded nationally and will continue to be so if it is rebranded as Rowan University School of Law.
You’re saying that people aren’t idiots? False advertising is illegal primarily because people are idiots and will swallow anything, especially if they are desperate to go to law/graduate school. The 90% figure seems impressive. however the jobs these people take are known colloquially as ShitLaw. They work for personal injury farms, do doc review (go on craigslist and look under jobs, legal.) 15$ an hour baby! If you’re lucky! I make more than that and have never stepped foot in law school yet.
Also note that THIS PERSON DID NOT TAKE THE LSAT EXAMS. THIS LAW SCHOOL IS SO DESPERATE FOR STUDENTS IT IS POACHING GMAT STUDENTS.
GMAT students may not know of the hierarchy of law schools, and that the chance of a good job from Rutgers of any variety except Rutgers- Newark where it is is 7% is tiny. I’d say the top 5 students in the Camden school get really good jobs. The rest get ShitLaw.
The NLJ posts the top 50 “go to” schools each year. I remember in 2007 Columbia and UPenn being at 75% sent to the very top firms. Now Penn is highest in the country with 56%. UVA was 60% in 2007, now it is 40%. The drops are staggering. Here is the NLJ list:
The 90% get ShitLaw, the dregs of the barrel.
For me, the choice was UVA/UChicago at 210k worth of debt, or a lower ranked school for free. I chose lower and free.
The ad qualifies that top salary goes to many “top students.” Top students is, by definitiuon, a smaller subset than the total graduating student body and is an inherently imprecise term. So if 5 students with high GPAs got the highest salaries, the ad is not misleading, in that respect, at all.
Much more interesting, i.e., quantifiable, is the assertion that 90% of the graduating class obtained jobs. In the present recession, I find the 90% figure hard to believe. If true, it should be touted loud & clear at every chance. But if false, the lawsuit has legs and will be the make or break issue in the lawsuit.
The full letter does not seem misleading at all. I went to law school 10 years ago knowing that to get a good job, I would have to do well…and I did, and I did. As someone else pointed out, “many” out of the “top” students might very well be 5. The recipients of this letter are going to law school, for goodness sake…they’re not idiots and shouldn’t be allowed to operate as such if they can’t get a job after graduation by claiming they were “misled” by this letter. Give me a break. Are their moms calling the potential employers to complain for them when they don’t get a second interview, too? Just another example of our “not my fault, someone else’s responsibility” society.
You know what’s also weird – the “90 percent employment rate in the legal field for its employed graduates.” But it doesn’t tell you what percent of its graduates are employed. If you don’t read it carefully, you might think it means that 90% of graduates get jobs.
Date: May 17, 2012 5:40:21 PM CDT
Subject: Rutgers School of Law – Camden
Rutgers School of Law
In the ever-volatile job market, you may be considering graduate school. Consider this – Rutgers School of Law – Camden is giving high-achieving students, such as you, the opportunity to enroll in the Fall 2012 class. The traditional law school program is a three-year program, which is extremely attractive to most graduate students given the difficult economy. The program is open to all students who have completed their undergraduate education with a 3.3 GPA or higher and scored in the 70th percentile or higher on any one core section of the GMAT. If accepted at Rutgers law School at Camden, you will join other bright, talented students who are pursuing their legal education at our law school. To encourage you to participate in the program, the Law School is waiving the application fee, and if accepted, the $300 deposit fee. Joint JD/MBA degrees with the Graduate School of Business are also possible. Scholarship awards and in-state tuition are available.
The School is proud to carry on the tradition of excellence at Rutgers University, which is one of the oldest and largest public institutions of higher learning in the nation. As a direct result of the quality of legal education at Rutgers, of those employed nine months after graduation, 90% were employed in the legal field and 90% were in full time positions. Our average starting salary for a 2011 graduate who enters private practice is in excess of $74,000, with many top students accepting positions with firms paying in excess of $130,000. In a recent Forbes publication, Rutgers School of Law-Camden was ranked 18th nationally as one of the “Best Law Schools for Getting Rich”. Rutgers is also ranked high in the nation at placing its students in prestigious federal and state clerkships.
I hope that you will consider this opportunity and join this class. Please apply on-line at our web site at http://camlaw.rutgers.edu. We are a direct student loan institution so financial aid is easily processed. We also have newly constructed on-campus law school apartments available, adjacent to the Law School and the Federal Courthouse, and guaranteed for our law students.
Associate Dean of Enrollment
What a crock of sh*t. This was to a taker of the GMAT too not the LSAT.
Actually it says “many top students”. They do not tell us what the class size is, but a reasonable definition of “top student” might be the summa cum laude students, or even the 4.0 GPA students, and what is “many” out of that small subset? Five might seems pretty reasonable.
Rutgers Law @ Camden (not to be confused w/ Rutgers Law – Newark) is on the verge of being phased out anyway:
That being said, the ad was totally misleading and particularly unwise in this environment where many former law students are opting to sue their law schools over what they feel are fraudulent claims of overinflated employment prospects.
It’s a tough time for all of us in this economy, but it’s especially hard for the thousands of law school grads who just spent the last 3 years of their lives racking up $200,000 in student loan debt (not including undergrad) only to find that they have no shot at a job. And for the multitudes who do find jobs out of law school, its not exactly the type of job that justifies going $200k in debt. Many are better off just sticking with the Bachelor’s degree.
To be fair, some law studens (like the 5 mentioned in the article) absolutely do come out making the big bucks but they are the exception to the rule, not the rule. Did a post on this a while back:
Hey! 5 would actually be ‘most’ if the grad class was less than 10! See, its not misleading if someone could understand it was misleading.
“no more than five recent graduates reported a salary of $130,000.”
It is a well known fact that some human societies count 1,2,3, many. Obviously 5 would have to count as many. The suggestion that 5 is not a legitimate example of many has to be an example of cultural chauvinism in the extreme.
I think we all ought to have a little more respect for the culture of law school administrators. They may be challenged by modern concepts of science and math but they have other strengths to contribute – optimism being a prime example.
It kinda feels like law schools are engaged in the five stages of grief:
1. Denial–“hey, no, things are great, you’ll have no problem getting a great job!”
2. Anger–“what are you blaming us for? It’s your own fault if you didn’t realize the job market was so bad!”(see also the comments of the current president of the ABA)
3. Depression–(shrug)”hey, what can we do about it? That’s just the way it is.”
4. Bargaining–“Tell you what, we’ll pay you 10 bucks an hour to work at this fellowship we just created, and then we can put you down as employed, okay?”
5. Acceptance–(so far as I know, no school has reached this stage yet)
By the way, the proper response to a crowded job market and decreased applications is to REDUCE the number of admittees, not keep it the same.
On the plus side, finding potential partners for a new startup firm was never so easy as it is now.
What were they thinking? The facts are so easy to obtain that they had to understand that their stretch of the truth would be uncovered. They deserve all of the negative fallout that will come of this.
Comments are closed.