Are US law schools cooking the books?

January 13, 2011 The New York Times has published an article that describes the financial hell faced by US students who have taken on huge student loans to pay for legal education, only to find that there is no reasonable way to pay the money back in a depressed job market.

The reality faced by these graduates – and proven by the fact that 15,000 attorney and legal staff jobs have vanished since 2008 – is not reflected in the figures published by the universities themselves. Schools are publishing data that suggests that rate of employment and starting salary have never been higher – a claim that defies all logic.

“Enron-type accounting standards have become the norm,” says William Henderson of Indiana University, one of many exasperated law professors who are asking the American Bar Association to overhaul the way law schools assess themselves. “Every time I look at this data, I feel dirty.”

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