Monday, September 17, 2018

Charlotte SOL Taps its CGL Policy to Pay-Off Students




In an interesting stroke of "justice," it appears that Charlotte School of Law is reaching a settlement with its former students:
 
The school and student plaintiffs on Tuesday asked a federal judge in North Carolina to preliminarily approve the class and the settlement, saying it was the best deal the students could hope to achieve given the dire financial circumstances of the shuttered school and its parent company, InfiLaw Corp. Judge Graham Mullen of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted preliminary approval Wednesday.
 
Should it move forward, the class-action settlement would end four federal suits and 90 state court suits targeting the school.

Charlotte School of Law ran a net $8 million deficit in 2017, the year it closed, according to the settlement motion. InfiLaw lost more than $7 million in 2017 and $6 million through June 2018, the motion said. The settlement consists of the $2.5 million left from the school’s insurance policy, as well as an additional $150,000 directly from InfiLaw.
 
As it should be.  Anyone who honestly thought InfiLaw and its affiliated schools were anything but a cynical cash grab should have their heads and consciences examined.  This is at least a pyrrhic victory for these students, compared to prior suits against schools where the student plaintiffs were essentially told they were "sophisticated consumers" and "should have known" the Law School Cartel was peddling pipe dreams.  Better to settle rather than have "bad law" on the books showing that the student-loan conduits might have an actual case, at least from the Cartel perspective.
 
This from the school that blamed its own students and told them that "It is on with these f***ing morther****ers" to pass the bar, dammit, while the dean continued to obfuscate and misdirect.  These paragons of legal virtue certainly deserve what they have coming.
 
Hopefully these payments, while not making students whole by any means, doesn't interfere with getting a student loan discharge from the DOL given that the school is closing.  Make sure you read the fine print, and run away now.  Go pursue something that is actually worth your time and effort. 
 
 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Just what we need: more Cooley

The boot-licking, apple-polishing, brown-nosing ABA has authorized Cooley to open another campus—this one in Kalamazoo. So-called students will be able to complete as much as two-thirds of a law degree and finish up at one of the Cooley outlets in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, or Lansing, Michigan, or even the one in Tampa, Florida.

The ABA had held up its rubber stamp of approval until it was satisfied that Cooley complied with the "standards" for admission. Lo and behold! the poster child of über-toiletry was found compliant six months ago. At least three-quarters of last year's entering class scored in the bottom 30% on the LSAT, and at least a quarter was in the bottom 11%. Such are the "standards" of the ABA.

The Cooley chain of über-toilets shut a campus down several years ago but now feels emboldened to open another, albeit one that can offer only 2/3 of the credits needed for a degree. Perhaps the opening of another branch is just the desperate act of a dying franchise, but I suspect that it manifests the reinvigoration of the law-school scam. The number of applications to law schools has been increasing even as six law schools have closed or are in the process of closing. Let me repeat what I have said for years: people who apply to law schools today, especially schools of the Cooley variety, get no sympathy from me. I don't want to hear complaints about $350k in student loans for a worthless degree, such as the one brought by a former student of now-defunct the Charlotte School of Law in a suit against the ABA. Literature exposing the law-school scam abounds. Don't come crying to Old Guy if your stupid decision to enroll in La Toilette predictably proves disastrous.

In other news, InfiLaw über-toilet Florida Coastal has lost its appeal from the ABA's finding that it did not comply with certain "standards" respecting admission and instruction. Will the ABA proceed to revoke the accreditation of InfiLaw's last über-toilet, or will it give Florida Coastal the Cooley treatment by affirming compliance with the "standards"?

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Students leave Arizona Summit … for North Dakota

In my previous article, I wondered what would become of the students of Arizona Summit after their über-toilet law school, just days before the expected start of the semester, announced that it would not be offering classes after all. Now we have the unexpected answer: some 25 students from Arizona Summit have transferred to—wait for it—the University of North Dakota.

"One transfer, Morgan Cosgrove, first interacted with UND’s law school earlier last year at a conference in Los Angeles. Cosgrove said thousands of students at the conference were lined up to talk to schools like Georgetown and other big law schools. But she started chatting with Rob Carolin, director of public relations at UND’s law school…" Here's a hint, Ms. Cosgrove: you weren't going to Georgetown, even in your dreams. And there's a reason for which you were able to speak with the head of public relations (!) at the U of North Dakota without waiting behind thousands of other students.

Ryan Rehberg got out a year ago, while the going was good. He is happy with the "helpful and accomodating [sic]" people of his new alma mater: "[t]hey cared about the whole person, making sure I was set up good". (Apparently they haven't taken pains over his grammar.) Mr. Rehberg has returned the favor by promoting the U of North Dakota to his former classmates. Since he seems to have helped to persuade twenty-five of them to quit the scorching desert for the snowy prairies, perhaps he should take over for Mr. Carolin as director of public relations.

At the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, the U of North Dakota and Arizona summit have exactly the same LSAT scores, though the U of North Dakota is ahead by about half a grade point on undergraduate GPAs. Transfer students' numbers don't count for the purposes of the idiotic rankings produced by You Ass News & World Report, however, so the gleaming legal academy of the Peace Garden State could safely admit anyone with the means to pay. As for payment, it's about $27,500 per year for non-residents (presumably these transfer students all fall into that category), which is admittedly a lot less than the $45,300 charged by the Arizona scum pit. Unsurprisingly, moving from Phoenix to Grand Forks will also reduce the cost of living.

This infusion of transfer students increases the student body at the U of North Dakota by more than 10% and adds nearly two-thirds of a million to the coffers. How did the U of North Dakota pull this feat off? First, by being "nice", as Ms. Cosgrove eloquently put it. Second, by accepting all credits from Arizona Summit. Many law schools accept no more than 45 credits, or even only the first year (understandably, since traditionally people transferred after one year at most); but the U of North Dakota was only too happy to take their mon—I mean, their credits. But the established students may not welcome a large cohort of Summitoids who are likely to keep to their group, compare their new environment unfavorably to their old one, and bitch about the weather or the distance to the nearest major city.

By contrast, Arizona Summit has now lost about a quarter of its student body to the U of North Dakota alone. Other students have transferred to Florida Coastal, and a few with only one semester to go are finishing at Arizona State (though their degrees will still say Arizona Summit). And who's to say how many were snapped up by Harvard and Yale? Now that so many have taken to the hills, will anyone be left to turn off the lights?

Some long-standing residents of North Dakota, or maybe of a nearby state, manage to parlay a law degree from the U of North Dakota into a modest, low-paying job in some small firm or government office. Those freshly arrived from Arizona, however, cannot expect local employers to swoon over people who had obviously arrived in North Dakota only out of desperation. And a law degree from the U of North Dakota will be almost useless in Arizona or elsewhere; indeed, the very name of the school will move many people to laughter.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

ABA promotes law-school scam with backhanded warning

What would you say if I told you that the ABA, dominated as it is by law-school scamsters and their cronies, was warning people to think twice about going into law?

"I smell a rat"? "Beware Greeks bearing gifts"?

Nicole Black and Heather Morse, supposedly "two leading voices in the legal industry" (though I had never heard of them), did the law-school scam a service with their obviously staged but less obviously biased dialogue on the wisdom or otherwise of attending law school. They start with some reasons not to attend, and they cover them with reasonable accuracy, albeit with a heavy foot on the soft pedal.

Then they present "GOOD REASONS TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL":

For starters, it’s a great education that will provide foundational skills, such as analytical thinking and persuasion capabilities, that easily translate and provide value to many different career paths, both legal and nonlegal.

No, it isn't. People who don't have those skills probably won't acquire them in law school. And while a legal education may conceivably "provide value" for careers outside the practice of law, it will not open the door to those careers; it is likely to do just the opposite.

For those passionate about social justice, a law degree is a powerful tool. Now more than ever, we need good lawyers out there who can right wrongs, to cut through red tape, to make a difference for their clients. Whether in private practice or public service, being a lawyer is still a noble profession, and we will always need good advocates.

Note the typical equivocation on the word need, and even on the word we. Do "we need good lawyers"? Yes, if that phrase means 'Society will be better off with capable lawyers acting in the public interest'. No, if the phrase means 'Employers and clients demand additional lawyers and are prepared to pay them'.

However "passionate about social justice" you may be, O prospective law student, you must put bread on the table before you can right wrongs, cut through red tape, or make a difference for clients. Don't fall for the noble-sounding appeal to "social justice" or the quixotic starving-artist-in-a-garret fantasy that richly paid scamsters dangle before you: ask the crucial question, Can I make a living as a lawyer?

Access to justice is another important and somewhat related consideration that aligns with social justice. Legal services funding has been drastically cut in recent years, resulting in reduced access. Rural areas in the United States are particularly underserved and in need of dedicated lawyers who are focused on making a difference in the lives of those who need their assistance the most.

There is "reduced access" to the legal profession, too, because there is not enough "funding" for lawyers. Rural areas may be "particularly underserved and in need of dedicated lawyers", but they cannot pay for legal services. Don't believe the hype about allegedly abundant opportunities in Bumblefuck, Nebraska.

To me it comes down to the “why.” Keep asking yourself those why questions to find your motivation. I spoke to a friend recently who is considering going to law school as a second career (he’s in his early 40s). After a series of “why” questions, his motives for law school were sound, and he asked if he could call me once he began his application process.

Having gone to law school in my forties and faced exclusion despite top grades at a top law school and much else to recommend me, I'd love to hear this guy's "sound" motives for going to law school. He'll be in his mid-forties when he finishes, and he'll find that no employer wants to give him the time of day. Again, a good "motivation" doesn't count for much in the absence of opportunities. And there has been a glut of new lawyers for many years.

These two "leading voices" also offer some "FINAL ADVICE", most notably the following suggestions:

Take some time off to travel and explore the world and grow as a person.

That's charming advice for a trust-fund baby. How are ordinary stiffs like Old Guy supposed "to travel and explore the world"?

Intern in a law office to learn what it’s truly like to practice law in order to decide if it’s really what you want to do.

It's hard enough to get an unpaid position in a law office as a law student, never mind as a 0L. Of course, those with the money to travel the world at age 22 are likely to have connections who can arrange an "internship" in some high place.

And I doubt whether many so-called interns "learn what it's truly like to practice law". They stand a better chance of doing makework, or nothing at all, and seeing next to nothing of legal practice.

Consider night school or a lower-tier law school that offers scholarship options so that you can pay for law school as you go and avoid debt.

Stupid advice. It even contradicts the earlier observations about "graduating at the top of your class from a Tier 1 law school" and the trend of "only hiring from a select number of schools". La Toilette may offer a fat discount (incorrectly characterized as a "scholarship"), but it will also leave an indelible stain on your résumé. Take a hint: rich kids don't elect night school or La Toilette (usually the same thing, since the thirteen or fewer law schools that may be worth attending don't have night schools) in order to avoid student loans.

Ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the effects of the changing legal landscape and how they’re affecting the delivery of legal services. That way you can take steps to position yourself to take advantage of the changes once you graduate.

Hell, lawyers don't have a thorough understanding of that. How the fuck is a 0L to acquire one?

Find a great mentor.

For what? Deciding whether to go to law school? That calls for good advice, not mentorship. This suggestion seems to be for those who have already decided to attend law school.

Realize that the decision to attend law school is not a choice between right and wrong: It is a choice between right and right. How you make that decision is a defining moment. (See Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right, by Joseph L. Badaracco.)

I haven't read Badaracco's book and don't intend to: it sounds like mass-market managerial fluff. Perhaps by choosing "between right and right" he means making the most of whatever one decides to do. But a 0L reading the passage above is almost certain to conclude that the decision to attend law school can only be right. For most people considering law school, however, that decision would be wrong.

Should you decide that [sic] practice of law is not the right choice for you, keep in mind that the legal industry provides numerous career pathways, with or without a JD.

Again, this piece of "ADVICE" appears to be directed at people who have already started, or even completed, law school, and who presumably have had a taste of the practice of law. So what place does it have in an article about deciding whether to go to law school?

The legal industry does provide other pathways for people without a JD but not for people with one. Expect to be rejected out of hand if you, with a JD, apply for a job as a paralegal, a receptionist, or a police officer: you'll be viewed as a pointy-headed intellectual (even if you graduated from Cooley with a C average) and as a failed lawyer. And at least the latter part will be on the mark. Why else would you want another job after pursuing professional training as a lawyer? Well, maybe you have your reasons. But few people will believe you, and anyway you may not be able to afford to pursue another line of work—within or without the legal industry—if, like most graduates nowadays, you bear a six-figure burden of non-dischargeable student loans at a high rate of interest.

Perhaps half or more of those who go to law school never get to try the practice of law, because they failed out or otherwise quit, they graduated but did not pass the bar exams, or they could not find work as lawyers despite being admitted to the bar. Obviously the "practice of law [was] not the right choice" for these people, but they don't get the luxury of deciding to leave the profession.

Far from a baleful warning about the risks of law school, this article amounts to an advertisement (paid or unpaid?) for the law-school scam. Not only the Cooley crowd but also many with a shot at Harvard or Yale will fall for the crass "choice between right and right", especially since they're already inclined to go to law school. And "Find a great mentor" really invites the reader to go ahead and enroll. And of course the "lower-tier law school" is heavily promoted, since this puff piece is directed at people who won't get into one of the few decent schools (few who are admitted to Harvard, Penn, or Duke would seriously entertain Colorado, Brooklyn, or Appalachian).

The correct answer to the question "Should I go to law school?" starts with an N and ends very soon thereafter with an o. Well, there are exceptions: 1) consider Harvard or Yale; 2) consider Tiers 2 and 3 (by Old Guy's ranking) at a considerable discount; 3) do as you wish if you're rich, connected, or both. Note that none of the exceptions invokes "motives" or "social justice" or professions other than that of lawyer.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Toilets Я Us, Parts IV and V: Arizona Summit stops teaching; dead Charlotte stuck with lease

Outside the Law School Scam is delighted to present this special two-part report on the woes of InfiLaw. As our friends know, scam-firm InfiLaw as recently as a year ago operated three profit-seeking über-toilet law schools that drew their "students" largely from the bottom quartile of the LSAT pool: Charlotte, which suddenly shut up shop this time last year; Arizona Summit, slated to lose its ABA accreditation unless (fat chance) an appeal succeeds; and Florida Coastal, which has had to move its dwindling student body to cheaper quarters and put its building up for rent.


PART IV: ARIZONA SUMMIT STOPS OFFERING CLASSES

Less than two weeks before the new semester, Arizona Summit told its students that it would "not offer any classes" in the fall of 2018. It advised them to transfer to another school.

How generous of Arizona Summit to give its students a few days' notice of the cessation of classes! Charlotte didn't even announce its closure last year; it simply went tits up.

The article cited above lists three options for those foolish enough to be enrolled at Arizona Summit:

1) Double down on InfiLaw by transferring to Florida Coastal or taking on-line classes there. With only one semester to his credit, lemming Kurt Fernandez plans to do just that: "I have a 2-year-old and my wife is pregnant, so I'm sort of stuck in Arizona." Enrolling in a dying über-toilet with one small child and another on the way, then undertaking an on-line degree from the same scam-chain that has now left the students at two über-toilets high and dry? History repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce…

2) Transfer to another school. In late August, this is more easily said than done. Arizona State will take the eight or so who are within a semester of graduating, but only as "visiting students": they will still get their degrees from Arizona Summit. Arizona State will not accept all Summitoids: in the words of assistant dean Tom Williams, "We don't have the places for them, and honestly there are a lot of students who wouldn't succeed in our program." Perhaps for similar reasons, Harvard and Yale have not offered to salvage the wretched refuse of Arizona's teeming desert.

3) Hope that by January 2019 Arizona Summit will have concluded a "teach-out plan" whereby Arizona State will take the remaining Summitoids in. As I recently explained, the Summitoids would still get their degrees from long-defunct Arizona Summit, not from Arizona State.

Old Guy meekly proposes a fourth option:

4) Quit, damn it! You dolts never belonged in law school. Now you may have the chance to get your student loans discharged on the grounds that your school shut down on you. That will be the best opportunity of your life. Take it! Take it!


PART V: CHARLOTTE STILL LIABLE FOR LEASE

A recent decision of the Superior Court in North Carolina came to Old Guy's attention. Get a bag of popcorn before you read the story.

Charlotte signed, and InfiLaw guaranteed, a thirteen-year lease beginning in August 2013 for a quarter of a million square feet of first-class office space in which to run its law school. In August 2017, with nine years left on the lease, Charlotte lost its license and ceased operations. In October 2017, it failed to pay the rent and vacated the premises.

The landlord sued Charlotte and InfiLaw for breach of the lease and the guaranty, respectively. Since the facts were undisputed and the law was clear, the landlord sought summary judgment. The defendants opposed that motion on the grounds, typical of a Charlotte-an charlatan, that frustration of purpose relieved them of their obligations under the lease.

The judge, of course, would have none of that. He granted summary judgment against both Charlotte and InfiLaw.

The only disappointing part of the decision is the court's refusal (¶ 40) to say whether the loss of Charlotte's license to run a law school was foreseeable. I agree that the court did not have to speak to that question, but I would have appreciated a little obiter kick in the scamsters' asses. Charlotte's demise was not only foreseeable but foreseen: we in the anti-scam movement had been talking about it for years.

Anyway, now the landlord can set about the task of enforcing its judgment against a defunct über-toilet and the parent scam-company. Presumably the asse(t)s of Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal will be available to satisfy the debt. My advice to the landlord: hurry!

Friday, August 17, 2018

NYU Medical School Offers Full Scholarships to All Students

Why would a legal scamblog make reference to a news story concerning NYU Medical School?  Well, leave it to the medical profession to render an accurate diagnosis:
 
The cost of medical school can keep some people from pursuing a career in the field. Addressing the affordability issue could help alleviate physician shortages, said Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admissions and financial aid.
 
"The debt can scare people away. One of those individuals could be the one to find a cure for cancer. For us, it's important to have the best applicant pool possible and society deserves nothing less," Rivera said.
 
All students enrolled in the MD degree program are eligible, regardless of their financial need or academic performance. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, which this year amounts to $55,018.
 
"We want people to pursue those fields because it's their passion," Rivera said.
 
Because scambloggers clearly have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to law school debt and the state of the legal profession, perhaps people will listen to the medical community instead as an analogous study.  Interesting that NYU is also offering real, actual scholarships, not bait-and-switch section-stacking grants that the Law School Cartel is famous for.  Again, open road narratives ain't cheap, y'all, and don't compare to the cost of laboratories and teaching hospitals.
 
What about ongoing concerns such as "public service" and diversity?
 
NYU also says medical school debt is "reshaping the medical profession," as graduates choose more lucrative specialized fields in medicine rather than primary care.
 
A report from the AAMC in April said the U.S. faces a shortage of doctors of all types — perhaps more than 120,000 by 2030. The predictions vary widely, however, to between 42,600 and 121,300. The group says the country will be lacking between 14,800 and 49,300 primary care physicians by 2030, while "non-primary care specialties" will fall short by 33,800 and 72,700 doctors.
 
The school says it hopes the plan will also increase diversity among its students — what it calls "a full retrofitting of the pipeline that trains and finances" future doctors.
 
So, if society needs more family-oriented and/or General Practitioner doctors out there, then...help them with the debt such that they can afford to accept "less" pay to do the work that needs doing!  Brilliant.  While room and board costs still exist, these are also clearly recognized and aid is available for those costs, also.
 
Interestingly, a shortage is what sometimes occurs when an accrediting body actually, y'know, regulates their given profession.  Sounds like a nice problem to have (as opposed to decades of law graduate overproduction, by contrast) and it is easily remedied.  But the tuition waiver also gets exactly at the core of the public service issue.  While the Law School Cartel whines about graduates not "defending liberty" and "pursuing justice" while offering soft-default, not-solutions to student debt (and the Department of Education eviscerates public loan forgiveness in the meantime), NYU is actually putting its money where its mouth is.  Something the scamblogs have long criticized the Cartel for failing to do - if you actually want more public servants and more diversity, then hey, open the pocketbook.  NYU is leading by example.
 
Oh well.  It appears that these solutions will help alleviate the SHORTAGE of medical doctors, and also not burden them with a lifetime of unsustainable debt at the same time while increasing access.  I know I am certainly  looking forward to the Cartel's own solution, perhaps using NYU as a model example.  It should be coming along anytime now...I'm sure Cooley and Infilaw are on it, to say nothing of the T100.
 
 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Cooley's Don LeDuc "Got His," Now Retiring to Spend More Time With Family

In a move that surprises absolutely no one:

Don LeDuc, who oversaw Thomas M. Cooley Law School's explosive growth into the largest law school in the country, is retiring as Cooley's president at the end of August.
 
LeDuc arrived at Cooley as a professor in 1975 and served as dean from 1982 until he was asked to resign in 1987. In 1996, a majority of faculty supported LeDuc's bid to become dean once again. He became Cooley's second president in 2002, succeeding founder Thomas Brennan. 
 
LeDuc was not available to comment on his retirement Tuesday evening, according to a public relations firm working with the law school. 
 
One has to ask why a law school, after forcing a resignation in '87 of a professor-turned-dean, would say ten years later "Hey, remember that guy...?  He wasn't so bad...!  Let's hire him!" 
 
In 1995, the year before LeDuc became dean for the second time, the school's enrollment was about 1,700 students. By 2010, that number had climbed to nearly 4,000, according to data from the American Bar Association. 
 
The same year, Cooley paid just shy of $1.5 million for the naming rights for what is now Cooley Law School Stadium, the minor league baseball park in downtown Lansing. Those rights expire in 2021.
 
Cooley also expanded its reach under LeDuc's leadership, opening campuses in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Tampa Bay, Florida.
 
Oh, right.  Nobody else could ride the scam-wave and drum up the Benjamins quite like that, except maybe the Valvoline Dean.  And to think it might have had to do with academic rigor, mission, or something similar, just like the ABA (snicker).  Every law school needs a minor league baseball park and several satellite campuses, some in entirely different states.  Just ask Yale or Harvard.

Many, many outlets decried Cooley's practices and the consequences thereof, with OTLSS being one of the chorus.  Here are a few select examples, and there are many more out there from various sources:

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/07/breaking-news-cooleys-ann-arbor-campus.html  (declining enrollment)

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2015/04/lies-damned-lies-and-employment.html  (gaming employment statistics)

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/08/cooleys-michigan-campuses-going-to-take.html  (reducing faculty)

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2018/05/cooley-non-profit-or-inflilaw-contender.html  (Least selective law school, Cooley lawsuit in response to ABA enforcement)

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/11/keep-your-kids-off-cooley.html (pipeline program)

https://www.lstreports.com/schools/cooley/  (LST Data)

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-wreck-of-thomas-m-cooley.html (awesome Liberal Arts submission)

Oh well.  At least Cooley has the distinction of being the least-selective law school in the country.  I guess that's something, and Leduc has his golden parachute to show for it.  Scam-on, my friends.