Suing for a better education

The old joke goes something like this: If you go to law school, graduate, sue the school for providing a poor education, represent yourself and then win the case … did you really deserve to win?

The cases detailed here may not be quite as clear cut.

A group of students filed a $120 million class action against the American Justice School of Law in Paducah, Ky., on Nov. 17, citing allegations that include tax fraud, false representation to the American Bar Association, racketeering, scheming to defraud students and obstruction of justice. Rust v. American Justice School of Law, No. 5:07CV-191-R (W.D. Ky.).

Late last month, Adam Key, a second-year law student, sued Regent University School of Law, a private Christian school in Virginia Beach, Va., claiming violations of his right to free speech and religion after getting expelled for posting a critique in an online university forum. Key v. Regent University, No. 4:07-CV-04060 (S.D. Texas).

On Nov. 14, John Valente, a second-year student at University of Dayton School of Law in Ohio, filed a complaint against his school, citing negligence in dealing with exam software. Valente v. University of Dayton Law School of Law, No. 07-9593 (Montgomery Co., Ohio, Ct. C.P.).

It’s far from being a trend (yet!), but shouldn’t we expect a more costly legal education to generate demands from those students who slog it out to be chosen from an ever-increasing pool of applicants?

Law school tuition has been increasing at a considerable clip. And if you don’t graduate, it doesn’t matter to you if the value of the degree has risen twice as fast. You’re not a lawyer. (“Don’t Like Your Grade? Sue Your Law School,” The National Law Journal, Dec. 18, 2007.)

Update: I’m not a lawyer, either.

(crossposted at


  • I’ve read recently in the WSJ about students admitted to law schools under affirmative action policies who don’t graduate and/or don’t pass the bar. Could they sue as well for being admitted beyond their capabilities — and maybe for the school not recognizing this and giving them a great deal of remedial education (if that’s even possible as a solution)?

  • This actually happened to my law school, Brooklyn Law. Fellow claimed RICO conspiracy. Was upset that he didn’t the high-paying job promised, I think.

  • Wouldn’t going pro se against a law firm be proof in itself that your legal education was deficient?

    Of course, to win you’d also have to convince the court that the school had a contractual duty to see that each student learned, even though the student has more control over that than the school.

  • Did you not get my comment on this entry, or is there some other reason it’s not posted?

  • Well, isn’t the point of going to law school to learn how to wring huge amounts of money out of some defendant (any defendant)? Why would these “blossoming” lawyers wait? I know my classmates and I aren’t planning to wait till after graduation to try to help people…

    Haven’t we all read this site enough to know that the only necessary justification for most cases is the depth of the defendants pockets? The irony of successfully sueing for not being trained successfully to sue… seems like par for the course from where I am sitting.

  • Sadly, as kids get dumber and more entitled, they can’t handle the fact that they’re not making the most of their opportunities. So their response is to shut down the schools and tutors. Maybe this means that we will stop training lawyers…