Jury Rejects Fraud Claim Against Law School | Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Jury Rejects Fraud Claim Against Law School

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A San Diego Superior Court jury on Thursday rejected a former law student's claim that the Thomas Jefferson School of Law willfully misrepresented the employment figures of its graduates in order to mislead prospective students.

Former student Anna Alaburda sued the law school in 2011, saying that after graduating with honors in 2008 and passing the California Bar Exam, she was $150,000 in debt and unable to find a full-time job as an attorney.

But after a three week trial, the jury hearing the case in the courtroom of Judge Joel Pressman concluded, 9-3, that the law school had not intentionally skewed the employment figures of recent graduates, and also did not violate the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Prior to reading the verdict, Judge Pressman thanked the jurors for their service and told them they were allowed to speak to the media, though none chose to do so.

"I know that this has been a difficult and taxing time in your lives. You stepped up and were good citizens," Pressman said.

The judge also gave kudos to the attorneys for both sides noting, "I've watched the attorneys represent their clients and I think you've done an outstanding job."

Alaburda stormed out of the courtroom, ahead of her attorney, Brian Procel, as soon as the jurors were excused.

Michael Sullivan, the attorney for the law school, told reporters he believed the evidence pointed to clerical errors made by the law school's employees, not intentional misrepresentation of the employment figures of its graduates.

"There was not false reporting. The school is comprised of really good people," Sullivan said.

He went on to say the Thomas Jefferson School of Law is nothing like Trump University, a school created by Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, which is currently the subject of two class action lawsuits.

In those cases former students claims they were duped into paying tens of thousands of dollar to learn the secrets of the billionaire real estate developer's success.

Sullivan also called out the media for the attention the case has garnered, calling the hype surrounding it "chatter."

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dean Thomas Guernsey echoed Sullivan's sentiments, saying he hopes now the case is over the school can "get the real story of Thomas Jefferson out."

"There has been a lot of negative press and social media that has resulted from this lawsuit. There's a general negative narrative of legal education now. I'm hoping we can get beyond this lawsuit to show what a fine institution it is," Guernsey told reporters.

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