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The Thomas Jefferson School of Law has filed its response to a class action brought in May by a 2008 graduate alleging that the school misrepresented its graduate employment statistics. Essentially, it argued that the graduate hadn’t done enough research before enrolling. Plaintiff Anna Alaburda graduated with honors from the school three years ago, but has been unable to land a steady law job since, according to the initial complaint. It says that she was lured to the school by the U.S. News law school rankings that reported that 80% of students had found jobs within nine months after graduating. That figure included all recent graduates who were in part-time or non-legal jobs, which is how law schools calculate their “employed after nine months” figures for the American Bar Association and U.S. News, the complaint said. Thomas Jefferson filed a demurrer and a motion to strike, essentially arguing that its job statistics were not falsified and that the school has no control over U.S. News. The school also argued that large portions of the complaint relating to the wider practice of how law schools report employment data are irrelevant to the charge that Thomas Jefferson lied about its jobs track record. “Plaintiff does not plead any specifics to [Thomas Jefferson's] factual data being false — because it wasn’t,” according to the demurrer filed on July 18 in Dan Diego County, Calif., Superior Court. “Instead, she pleads that she relied exclusively or primarily on the data in a summary chart in a popular magazine, misunderstood it, made no further inquiries, and then spent tens of thousands of dollars on her legal education.” Alaburda’s complaint estimated that there are more than 2,300 potential members of the class, based on the number of students who attended the school during the statutory period. It alleged fraud and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Act. It originally included a charge of violating the state Consumer Legal Remedies Act, but the complaint has since been amended to drop that claim. The suit seeks compensatory damages for the class of more than $50 million. Karen Sloan can be contacted at [email protected].

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