A former student of San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) whose wife is dying of cancer is suing the school for misrepresenting its postgraduation employment figures, leaving him driving an Uber to support his family.
Clark Moffatt, 35, graduated from the law school in 2006, but failed the bar twice–once in California and once in Texas, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He states that he’s never worked in the legal profession or made more than $25,000 a year, forcing him to live in a rented mobile home surviving on food stamps along with his wife and two children.
Seven other students also filed suit against the school in 2014 for inflating its postgraduation employment figures and salaries; four others filed suit in 2011. The Associated Press reported that the school is accused of reporting postgraduation employment figures that exceeded 70 percent and topped 90 percent in 2010, but failing to explain that some of the jobs were part-time work.
TJSL’s response, in its court filing asserted, “At all times, TJSL calculated its employment statistics in full compliance with the [American Bar Association’s] reporting guidelines for law schools and the requirements of US News.”
TJSL, originally known as Western State University College of Law, was owned by Education Management Corporation (EDMC), but went out on its own in 1995.
Moffatt graduated from the University of North Texas in 2003 with a 4.0 GPA and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He allegedly selected TJSL over North Texas and Baylor University for its supposed high graduation rates and postgraduation employment statistics, as well as TJSL’s prompt response to his inquiry and the sun of Southern California.
Moffat argues that his failures at the bar exams stemmed from the school’s poor in-house bar-preparation service. Although Moffat had no student debt after graduating from North Texas, as he received a scholarship, he obtained $120,000 in student loans to finance his TJSL degree, which ballooned to more than $170,000 after interest kept accruing.
The Wall Street Journal reported that graduates of law schools filed over a dozen class-action lawsuits in 2011 and 2012, although most of the suits were rejected by courts.