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Cooley, New York law schools sued by former students: a final test?

Thomas Jefferson's law books. (Jim Higgins and Reid Baker, Library of Congress/AP)

Thomas M. Cooley Law School and New York Law School are both being sued by students who claim the schools misled them on job prospects.

The plaintiffs seek $250 million from Cooley and $200 million from NYLS, the Wall Street Journal reports. The claim asserts that both schools distorted job security, by counting any student employed after school, regardless of whether or not they found work in the legal profession.

Law schools had a pretty good run for the past decade, with the numbers of students steadily increasing. Slate writes, “Law schools tend to be moneymakers: They're cheap to set up, and tuition runs high, even at poorly rated programs.” There were 44,004 law degrees awarded in 2010.

However, applications have been dropping in 2011 and Slate believes it’s because of a cultural backlash: people are starting to write regularly about how law school is a not the best idea. In 2010, Slate’s Annie Lowrey wrote that “students are saying—or screaming—that they made a mistake. They went to law school, they say, and now they're underemployed or jobless, in debt, and three years older.”

Now those students are putting the lessons to use, with or without a job.

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