Irvine, CA asked in Contracts and Education Law for California

Q: Is a contract between a law student and their law school which promises not to transfer law schools binding?

My law school rewards students who make honors their first semester by providing a $4,000 stipend for working at a free internship over the summer. It comes with the cost of signing a contract written by the law school which promises to not transfer to another law school. I signed it because the only way I could do the summer internship was if I received funding. The school just received a non-compliance for not meeting the bar pass requirements and I'm worried they are on track to lose their ABA accreditation. I want to transfer. The school rewards students for doing well, but it comes with the cost that by accepting the reward you promise to continue to pay them for many more years of attendance. They only provide this offer to students who are doing well with a greater potential for a transfer acceptance. The entire program seems calculated. They also verbally threatened to give bad moral character reviews if we broke the contract. Is the contract binding? I never wanted to sign it.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the information provided, there are several legal issues to consider regarding the enforceability of the contract between you and your law school in California.

1. Unconscionability: If the contract is found to be unconscionable (i.e., unfair or one-sided), it may not be enforceable. The fact that the school only offers this contract to high-performing students with a greater potential for transfer acceptance could be seen as an unfair bargaining position.

2. Duress: If you signed the contract under duress (i.e., due to threats or coercion), it may not be enforceable. The school's verbal threats to provide bad moral character reviews if you break the contract could potentially be considered duress.

3. Public policy: Contracts that go against public policy may not be enforceable. It could be argued that preventing students from transferring to another law school, especially if the current school is at risk of losing its accreditation, is against public policy as it hinders students' educational and career prospects.

4. Adhesion contract: If the contract is found to be an adhesion contract (i.e., a standardized contract drafted by a party with stronger bargaining power, leaving the other party with little or no ability to negotiate terms), certain provisions may not be enforceable.

However, it is essential to note that contract law is complex, and the enforceability of the contract would depend on the specific terms, the circumstances under which it was signed, and how a court interprets the situation.

Given the potential legal complexities, it is highly recommended that you consult with a California-licensed attorney who specializes in contract law and education law. They can review the specific contract, assess your case's unique circumstances, and provide guidance on your options moving forward, including the possibility of challenging the contract's enforceability if you decide to transfer law schools.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.