No job? Just sue your school

August 10, 2009
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Can’t find a job? Sue your school! That’s what one graduate in New York City has decided to do. She thinks it’s her school’s fault she can’t find a job because its office of career advancement hasn’t provided her with leads and the career advice it promised.

The Monroe College IT graduate wants her $70,000 in tuition back. The college claims it helps graduates in their careers and argues the lawsuit is without merit.

When I first heard this story and before I knew what her degree was in, I thought this story had to be about a law student. But perhaps a law student would know this kind of action may end up being deemed frivolous or quickly tossed out.

It took me more than 6-months to find a full-time job after graduating, and it wasn’t even in my major. When my bank account was running low and my student loans were coming due, it would have been nice to have the university reimburse me for the money I paid. After all, I went there to become skilled in a specific field with the goal of working in said field. It took me longer than I thought it would to score a full-time journalism job.

But I want to know how a graduate who hasn’t found “gainful employment” since graduating has the money to hire an attorney. If she’s not working, who’s paying the attorney? I doubt an attorney would take on this case pro bono, but maybe one has. Perhaps the grad is proceeding pro se in order to save money.

I know you can’t be guaranteed a job after graduating because jobs are dependent on so many factors (qualifications, economy, competition, etc.). It’s not the school’s fault she can’t find a job. Perhaps it could be more helpful in trying to find leads, but it’s up to each individual to score employment. For those of us who struggled for months or years to find a job in our field, wouldn’t it be great if you could sue your school and get back that tuition if you couldn’t find a job in your major within a certain time period?

I know that would in essence give some a free education and reward them for being jobless, while graduates who found jobs would still have to pay for their education. But when you’re broke, sitting at home all day (possibly at your parents’ house), or working at the same job you did in high school, getting back your tuition, even through a lawsuit, would be a nice dream, wouldn’t it?
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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