Four Albany Law School graduates who claim they were duped by misleading marketing data and spent tens of thousands of dollars on a legal education that did not provide the expected employment opportunities have lost their case against the school. Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin (See Profile), a 1993 Albany Law graduate, dismissed the case in its entirety last week. The suit was among several against law schools accusing them of posting inflated or misleading post-graduate employment statistics.
In Austin v. Albany Law School, 2013 NY Slip Op 2300, the plaintiffs contended they were induced to enroll in and remain at the school because it had posted an employment rate of about 95 percent, not realizing the statistic included graduates in temporary and part-time positions and jobs for which a law degree is not required. Platkin said the "plaintiffs do not (and cannot) seriously contend that ALS's published employment rates are literally false" and rejected a General Business Law claim that the school's advertising would mislead a reasonable consumer.
"The Court is mindful that it is dealing with a reasonably well-educated (although not necessarily sophisticated) group of consumers who are called upon to make major life decisions," Platkin wrote. "Reasonable college graduates grappling with major life decisions concerning a career and the pursuit of a professional degree would not read a host of assumptions about legal employment into the unembellished 'employment rate' published by ALS without confirming that this summary statistic fit their specific needs."