District Court Dismisses Lawsuit Brought By Former Students Against Cooley Law for Misleading Job Stats

The opinion is Macdonald v. Cooley, and it was handed down today by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. An excerpt:

The crux of Plaintiffs’ complaint . . . comes from an “Employment Report and SalarySurvey” (“Employment Report”) that Cooley provides to prospective and current students. Plaintiffs allege that Cooley “blatantly misrepresent[s] and manipulat[es] its employment statistics” in these Employment Reports. . . .

Without question, the Employment Reports are inconsistent, confusing, and inherently untrustworthy. For example, whether Plaintiffs are referring to the median or mean average, there is an ambiguity in the descriptor of salary because the average salary stated in Cooley’s dissemination assumes the existence of a salary in the first place. In other words, a question arises, as it arose in oral argument, does the statistic consider the “salaries” of those Cooley graduates who were not employed or who were sole practitioners who listed a salary of zero? Plaintiffs argued, as stated above, that to have failed to consider a “zero” salary would be misleading. But maybe not. This is the kind of question that a person serious about considering this statistic would ask. Plaintiffs and prospective students should have approached their decision to enter into law school with extreme caution given the size of the investment. Thus, even though Plaintiffs did not know the truth of how many graduates were used to calculate the average salary, at the very least, it is clear that the Employment Report has competing representations of truth. With red flags waiving and cautionary bells ringing, an ordinary prudent person would not have relied on the statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more.

. . .

The bottom line is that the statistics provided by Cooley and other law schools in a format required by the ABA were so vague and incomplete as to be meaningless and could not reasonably be relied upon. But, as put in the phrase we lawyers learn early in law school– caveat emptor.

Thanks to Anonymous at Inside the Law School Scam.