A former employee at Thomas Jefferson School of Law admitted that she fabricated graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2006.
Thomas Jefferson was the first law school sued over misleading employment numbers last year. Karen Grant, who was assistant director of career services at the school from 2006 to 2007, said in a sworn affidavit that she was told to mark graduates as employed, even if they no longer had jobs when completing data for the National Association for Law Placement. The afidavit was filed as part of the ongoing litigation and was made public by Law School Transparency.
Grant alleges her fraud was part of a deliberate scheme by the law school’s administration to inflate employment statistics. Thomas Jefferson denies the allegation.
“TJSL policy has always been to report accurate employment data, and the declaration is the first time the declarant, or anyone else, has made such an assertion,” it states on its website. “By way of background, the declarant worked at TJSL only briefly in 2006 and 2007, without ever raising this issue to the Dean or senior staff. Moreover, we have also found no other document or witness who corroborates the declarant’s new contention.”
Grant, a licensed California attorney, said she was tasked with tracking and recording employment outcomes of recent graduates while at Thomas Jefferson. She admits that she “routinely recorded currently unemployed students as ‘employed’ if they had been employed at any time since graduation.” That is a violation of both ABA and NALP reporting guidelines. Graduates should only be recorded as employed if they are employed as of February 15 following graduation.
Grant claims her supervisor, Laura Weseley, former Director of Career Services, said “everybody does it” thus “it is no big deal.” The affidavit includes handwritten notes from a meeting in October 2006 when Grant alleges her supervisor instructed her to make the false reports.
From the affidavit:
“ Ms. Weseley later reiterated that, when talking to students, I was to first ask if they were currently employed. If the graduate indicated he or she was not currently employed, I would then inquire whether he or she was employed at any time after graduation. If the graduate indicated he or she was employed at any time after graduation (even though currently unemployed), I was instructed to record the graduate as “employed” in TJSL’s Excel software.
I again expressed my concern and told Ms. Weseley that it not seem right to report currently unemployed students as “employed” merely because they had been employed at some point after graduation. Ms. Weseley responded by saying “it is no big deal, everybody does it.”
I followed Ms. Weseley’s instructions. I routinely recorded currently unemployed students as “employed” if they had been employed at any time since graduation. As a result, the employment data that I entered into the Excel files included currently unemployed students who were inaccurately categorized as “employed.””