The FTC should begin an investigation into U.S. law schools

That’s the conclusion reached by Joel Murray in his paper “Professional Dishonesty: Do U.S. Law Schools That Report False or Misleading Employment Statistics Violate Consumer Protection Laws?.”

From the conclusion:

The FTC should begin an investigation into U.S. law schools. Many law schools are violating the FTC Act by reporting false and misleading employment statistics. The FTC has jurisdiction over law schools because they are professional schools oriented towards preparing students for legal careers and therefore, provide pecuniary benefits to students. If a law school reports false or misleading employment statistics in marketing materials or to U.S. News and World Report, the law school engages in deception and false advertising in violation of the FTC Act. Reporting false employment statistics is deceptive as prospective law students have limited, or no, resources to determine a school’s actual employment statistics. These employment statistics play a material role in a prospective law student’s choice to attend a law school. . . .

And here’s the paper’s abstract:

This paper examines the potential legal application of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) to American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools. In recent years, evidence has emerged indicating that many law schools are misreporting or falsifying employment statistics in marketing materials and to the U.S. News Rankings and World Report law school rankings, the preeminent rankings for United States (U.S.) law schools. The reporting of false or misleading employment statistics to prospective students may violate provisions of the FTC Act that prohibit deceptive practices and false advertising. This paper reviews evidence that U.S. law schools are misreporting employment statistics, examines how the FTC Act applies to U.S. law schools, and argues that U.S. law schools that misreport or falsify employment statistics violate multiple provisions of the FTC Act.

And here’s the complete cite:

Murray, Joel, Professional Dishonesty: Do U.S. Law Schools That Report False or Misleading Employment Statistics Violate Consumer Protection Laws? (May 27, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1854709

 

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