Monday, April 21, 2014

A Former LawProf at Charlotte SOL Speaks Out

It's getting ugly, folks.

There are plenty of examples of disingenuous, tone-deaf ScamDeans and LawProfs out there. Scamblogs have highlighted them for some time now, and the examples keep rolling in. As the law school brand continues to crumble, more and more members of the establishment are increasingly concerned about their standing and their futures. Outside of a handful of outspoken LawProfs who actively advocate for students and for change within the law school cartel, it would be easy to assume that most LawProfs just simply Don't Care and are too busy cashing their paychecks while the majority of their students are consigned to the Doc Review gulag. Students who are bearing a mountain of non-dischargeable debt levels heretofore unseen, even when adjusting for inflation.

However, at the same time we believe that there are those LawProfs who actually do care, but are afraid to speak out due to the very same social and economic pressures that keep many scambloggers anonymous. Case in point: one recent correspondent, a LawProf (!), gave us the inside scoop of one of our favorite targets, the Infilaw Consortium of Schools - specifically Charlotte School of Law:

 

"It is appalling that CSL's enrollment has soared to at least 1,140 full-time students, despite the school's sub-par bar pass rate and poor law-degree-required placement rate. The tuition is over $42k per year, despite CSL's abysmal reputation and horrid outcomes. Many CSL faculty fear a Florida Coastal type purge of even supposedly tenured professors when the enrollment bubble bursts, as surely it must.

CSL has also had tremendous problems with its dean, president, and numerous associate- and assistant-dean positions. Aborted dean searches, failure to abide by ABA standards of faculty governance, failure to encourage or even tolerate scholarly productivity by professors...the list goes on and on.

[...] I taught full-time at CSL for a few years, and I deeply regret it."

 

Appalling? Sub-par? Poor placement? Deep regret? From someone else other than a Campos or Tamanaha? This is a sea-change, folks. Long have the scamblogs been accused of not knowing anything, being blind to the so-called truth, and being meanie party-poopers. One would think with all the "million dollar law degrees" out there, and the likes of Professor Illig gracing their students with their presence, there could be no possible discord whatsoever. But here it is.

 

"The problems...began with the mid-academic-year removal of founding dean Eugene Clark and his replacement with InfiLaw insider and never-publishing Law Librarian Dennis Stone...all without any faculty involvement or faculty governance vote whatsoever.

Then the InflLaw people aborted the so-called dean search when their boy Dennis Stone failed to make the first cut. It became clear that they would make him permanent dean as long as he was among the several candidates approved by the dean search committee, and when he didn't make that cut, they scrapped the whole process. For a long time he stayed on as a permanent "interim" dean and then became "President" when InfiLaw insider Denise Spriggs became the nominal dean.

The enormous expansion of Charlotte School of Law enrollment was presented to the faculty a few years ago as a done deal, with no opportunity for faculty governance. No dissent was tolerated. This has only worsened since my departure, with the school becoming one of the very largest at a time when almost all other law schools are accepting smaller classes and trying to hold the line on standards."

 

What? All is not spectacular student outcomes and champagne dinners at CSL? Say it ain't so. The websites and glossy brochures all seem so...positive.

 

"There are numerous other issues. Among them:

People being hired as assistant dean who never would qualify even for an entry level faculty position at any decent law school.

Active discouragement of scholarly research and publication by the faculty, to the extent that at least 7 of the most productive and scholarly professors have left, including for other new schools like Elon.

Forcing the faculty to approve the hiring of an unqualified InfiLaw insider as a professor.

Forcing the Promotion and Tenure Committee to approve tenure for a former dean who has never published a single word during her entire career.

Concealing bait-and-switch tactics involving "scholarships" contingent on maintaining a GPA that the law school's mandatory grading policies make very difficult to achieve.

Claiming, in numerous public places, to be "Student Centered" while aggressively pursuing ever-higher enrollments of poorly qualified applicants, knowing that many will not graduate, or will not pass the bar, or will never find work as a lawyer.

Among the most respected, well-qualified, and actively publishing professors who have fled Charlotte School of Law during just the past few years are Eugene Clark, James Bolin, John Kunich, David Levine, Katharine Van Tassel, David Batty, and others. The entire IT Department and most of the Law Library have left as well."

 

Wait, who are the scambloggers, again?  I thought they were all lazy, entitled, disaffected graduates who allegedly couldn't hack it in the "real world."  Apparently, some new Law Professors are joining the ranks in calling out the scam that law school has become - at least at some institutions. 

In any event, it appears some Boomer Equity Shareholders aren't getting their guaranteed profits over there at Sterling Partners, so the thumbscrews have been tightened. Coffee is for closers, you know. Time to get more lemmings into seats! Damn the LSAT scores, full speed ahead! Don't these stupid kids know that now is a great time to be going to law school? What the hell is wrong with them!!!?!?!?!?!?!111eleven111!!

I can't say that the scamblog community is exactly shedding a tear for Infilaw, or for several so-called "non-profit" law schools around the country for that matter. Neither are we wringing our hands for those who continue to perpetrate the scam on the next set of 0Ls in the pipe line, so they can enjoy six-figure salaries, sabbaticals, tenure, and freedom of "research" among other pursuits.

But for the LawProfs like our correspondent who "got out" of a bad situation and are willing to tell the truth, we do salute you. There are those who do share some common-cause with the scamblogs, and we alike shake our heads at the burning of Rome. It's didn't have to be this way, but it came just the same.

To the vast majority of those considering law school: THIS is your law school administration. THIS is the environment you will be walking into. THESE are the people who will be "advising" you, taking your money and throwing your carcass out into the street, all in the name of "defending liberty," "pursuing justice," and saving the dolphins. That will be $200k, thanks. Best of luck at OCI. "Network."

Friends, run for your lives. NOW. Don't take OTLSS' word for it, take a concerned LawProf's. And if you meet one someday, after all the dust settles, thank them for their honesty.

45 comments:

  1. This is an excellent development. As we get closer to a law school toilet closure, I suspect we will see a few more former "professors" speak out against the scam that they participated in, for years.

    It is great to see the effect of our research and concerted efforts. Thank you for helping to spread the truth about the law school scam.

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    1. I've been active in the scam blogging movement for 6 years now and it's nice to finally see the pigeons come home to roost.

      The scam profe$$ors and deans might realize we're a bigger problem than they thought and they are publishing articles defending the scam, but they have no idea what they're really in for.

      Guys like me are not going to stop coming after them. I am not going to cease my efforts until every last possible law school is shuttered and every profe$$or is on the street with a cardboard sign. In war, the battle does not necessarily go to the one with the biggest army, but with the strongest will.

      In a broader context, what we're doing is destroying the myth of the rich lawyer. We will win only if we do that. I want the public to associate the idea of being a lawyer with a $35K/year job + 60 hour work weeks + substance abuse problems + masses of non-dischargeable debt. Most of us know that as the sordid truth, but the law school industry has done a very effecitve job of hiding it.

      Yes, It's fun to watch a few law schools close here and there and to mock the obvious snake oil salesmanship of scam dean Chermerinsky, but that's just an appetizer. True justice will take a long time.

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    2. And true justice is often served cold. It's delicious that way.

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    3. Amen to that brother.

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  2. "Charlotte SOL"—as in "shit out of luck".

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  3. I'm hopeful that more law professors and other insiders (and surely there's plenty of admins, secretaries, IT department staff, etc. who know what the deal is, know where the bodies are buried) will start to speak up too.

    The Titanic hit the iceberg a while ago. The deck chairs have been rearranged. Now it's time to push to the front of the line for the lifeboats and save yourselves.

    What would you rather be? There's no glory in going down with this particular ship, one sunk by foolishness and greed. Grab that briefcase of important documents and leave now while there's seats left on the lifeboats. Find that new job before the years you spent working at the law school turn from an asset into an albatross around your neck.

    Look, the general public still doesn't know that you've been working for a scam for the past few years. Your new employer doesn't know. Get your foot in the door before law schools start to fail and stories hit the news, before you're tagged as having worked for a generation-ruining fraud.

    It really is time for employees (and especially former employees) to start speaking out. Start blowing those whistles.

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    1. Where exactly is a professor of law supposed to go? Moving to another law skule is unrealistic these days, and the vast majority of profe$$ors can forget about working as lawyers. Perhaps the best option for today's law-skule hack is to keep collecting those bloated paychecks until the axe falls.

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    2. That's it, 6:42. They are going to ride the frothy crest of the scam until it goes down the toilet. The smarter ones will bank every cent that they can, because they will know what a cold, cruel, kill-what-you-eat world awaits them.

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    3. OTLSS should get Secure Dropbox.

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    4. 6:42, you're right. For the average prof - no, for even the great ones too - riding this out until unemployment (or retirement) is the only option. The academic lawyers of this world have fewer marketable skills than a high school graduate.

      But for the IT staff, the librarians, administrative assistants, all those non-lawyer employees who can transfer their skills to a more secure employer, they would be nuts to stay put. Go work for SunTrust or the state government or any other employer, and take the evidence with you when you leave. Countless people have access to the filing cabinets and servers where the good stuff resides.

      I believe the email address at the top of every page is a great place to deposit anonymously-sent documents, emails, and other incriminating information. I think I speak for all the bloggers here when I say that requests for anonymity will be honored without question.

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    5. (Don't do anything illegal though.)

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  4. Of course the Charlotte School of Law should not be allowed to operate. But what sort of person would even consider attending this stinking toilet? The median LSAT score of last year's entering class was 144, which is at the 23rd percentile. Come on, people. If you do that poorly, neither law school nor the legal "profession" is for you. Don't feed me your crap about how "standardized tests do not reflect my ability"; the fact is that you suck at the skills needed for even minimal competence as a lawyer.

    Tuition and fees exceed $40k per year, and not one of last year's 1392 students received a full "scholarship". With living expenses, this venture would cost more than $200k. How can people in the bottom quartile of prospective law students expect to find a job paying enough to cover the payments on that debt, to say nothing of offsetting the opportunity cost of three years of law skule?

    With 40% of its students being racialized, the Charlotte $kule of Law is a contemptible minstrel show that uses racialized people to enrich its investors.

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    1. As a practicing attorney that attended CSL who has gained respect among his peers for his diligence to his clients' interests and achieving the results they seek, I take exception to this comment. Just because many of the people that attended CSL will never see a courtroom doesn't mean that some people that went there aren't good, competent, and trustworthy attorneys. To say otherwise is misinformed at best and disingenuous at worst.

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    2. I went to CSL too. Worst mistake of my life. Many of the students are victims of a corrupt corporation hiding behind the guise of a law school. The school targets students with blemishes on their records, such as DUIs or misdemeanors. CSL practicing attorney,think about how many people you knew at the school with these issues. One of the school's pillars is serving the underserved. It should be 'exploiting the underserved.' The school started accepting students with LSAT scores in the mid to low 130s. Now, tell me how that's not exploitation. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. The faculty and staff were some of the most caring people I've met, however, they were mostly shackled by the corporate machine and forced to go along with whatever was best for the Infilaw shareholders, even if it wasn't in the best interest of the students. I'm not completely bitter because I did receive a law degree which allowed me to take the bar and become a licensed attorney (and leave with over 200k in debt). My main problem with the school is that it exists solely as a business, not looking to improve its ranking or the students' career options, but to exploit them for money. Long story short, don't send your kids here and I hope the school burns to the fucking ground (while no one's in the building, of course).

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  5. The fact that they have so many students illustrates an important point. There are some lemmings who are so stupid that they will never get it. Vermont Law School is teetering on the brink because it is far from any population center that could provide a sufficient supply of those types. If you are already at the bottom of the USNWR dung heap you have little to lose by practicing open admissions. There will always be a supply of dumb people who think they'll make it big as a lawyer. Look for some of these TTTs in metropolitan areas to go on for quite some time.

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    1. The DOE is finalizing a rule that will remove certain school's ability to take federal student loan funds. It does not appear to include law schools.

      The rule uses debt:income ratio of graduates to determine whether schools that purport to be professional training programs for a specific profession actually result in "gainful employment."

      Essentially, if the debt:income ratio is too abysmal for gradates, the school could loose the ability to take further student loans.

      So far, the government acts like the problem is for-profit undergraduate institutions, and for-profit lenders. But, outcomes at "not-for-profit" law schools are far worse than the metrics that get other institutions penalized. The DOE lending program is for-profit; approx. 42 billion in profit every year.

      The government is corrupt and in bed with law schools and private lenders. The DOE is the public side of a fascist public-private alliance to enslave citizens.

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    2. There's much burgeious petite mind-set when it comes to education in this country, and since our elite is, at most, as educated as an upper middle class dude, they share a reverence for college education/certificates.

      This precludes their ability to view a storied profession, like law, to a clear-cut scam on impovershied single moms, such as Kaplan and Devry...

      Another point the cow tipper, free market, academic mercenaries in this country don't recognize, is the right to employment after completing an education program. (Even other Anglo states, like Canada and Australia, have federal government bodies that adjust college seat numbers based on levels of graduate unemployment, etc.)

      Don't look for any action by the federal government to reign in the mass unemployment graduate school centers unless defaults sky rocket.

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  6. Imagining The Open ToadApril 21, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Not sure what there is to complain about here. CSL gets not quite nearly a third of its students full-time, long-term, JD-required jobs.

    Where else are a bunch of kids with a 141* LSAT and 2.59* UGPA going to get odds like that?

    * CSL's 25th percentile student body as of 2013 entering class.

    That's right. CSL's admits at the 25th percentile are scoring at just the 16th percentile of LSAT takers nationally. Wowza.

    Even CSL's 75th percentile student (149 LSAT) is only at the 40th percentile of national LSAT takers.

    So if you're an average student with an average LSAT, you'll probably shine like a magnesium flare at CSL.

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    1. You are correct but you omit one variable. How many of the nearly one-third of this toilet's graduates who got "real" jobs are making enough to service the average debt load of those graduates?

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    2. Imagining The Open ToadApril 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      We have no clue how many of the not quite nearly a third of its students who got full-time, long-term, JD-required jobs actually received a job making enough to service their average debt load because (if I am reading LST correctly), CSL has not published salary data since 2010.

      At that time, if the numbers could have been believed, of the twenty-six grads who reported a salary, the median was $53K and the 50th percentile was $50K.

      Therefore, based on the information I've been able to find with respect to its 2013 grads, my hazarded guess is:

      - none of them can afford the average indebtedness level.

      But that's just a guess. It could be many times higher than my guess.

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    3. Everyone knows that the numbers law schools put out cannot be believed. Obviously, that applies to "lousy" numbers as well.

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  7. Law school has always been expensive, regardless of where students choose to attend school. However, a law degree, which provides numerous options for success is worth it.

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    1. Imagining The Open ToadApril 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Yuh, yuh, yuh - its verseetyle.

      Gaaawwwllly!

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    2. Law school wasn't always expensive. Obviously, today it is. It's outrageous. And as far as the numerous options for success, please name them...nobody here has explored any.

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    3. "please name them"

      Ooooh, I'll start!

      1). Go on a "hunger strike" as a thinly veiled attempt to promote an e-book holding oneself out as an expert on the legal job market, even though you have never obtained a job in law or even spent five minutes in practice. Retire a millionaire by age 25.

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  8. All students should be able to attend law school, regardless of their LSAT scores. Schools that focus on student-centered outcomes are those that can allow all students, regardless of their starting point to be successful.

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    1. It reads like a spam comment. All that's missing is a link to a website peddling knock-off Ray Bans.

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    2. Already all students are able to attend law school, regardless of LSAT score. So 9:03 is merely describing the status quo.

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    3. Sounds like the Charlotte School of Law exploitation propaganda machine to me.

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  9. Everyone should be made to attend law school, even if they are illiterate. And stay the full 3 years even if they score a Zero on every exam.

    It is unfair that only literate students with a college GPA and an LSAT score that are high enough to get them into law school should have their lives destroyed by enormous amounts of non-dischargable debt. This generational destruction should be both mandatory and universal.

    And every scam dean should drive a Maserati and a Rolls Royce and have both a summer house and a yacht.

    /s

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  10. Thank you, anonymous professor.

    Talk to a professor, undergrad or grad, who cares about his students, and he'll tell you what happens if you try to advocate internally for sound fiscal policy or students...it ain't pretty.

    These schools are for-profit, and they are only nominally private, given that 90%+ of their revenue from the taxpayer in the form of federal student loans.

    The internal functioning of these trash piles should be subject to public scrutiny.

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    1. I'm sure it's brutal, but what speficially happens when a dean/professor advocates for students? I feel I knew some that cared but were scared to act.

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  11. "All students should be able to attend law school, regardless of their LSAT scores". Is this a joke? A facetious statement, or are there for profit schools who really believe this? Every non-profit school of which I am aware, at the University Level or above, has some sort of standards about who they admit to their schools. Obviously the for profits are in a different category. They will admit anybody who can come up with the cash.

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  12. Going to one of these for profit schools is bad for reasons beyond debt. Some day down the line, the graduates of these make believe schools are going to be very embarrassed to tell people where they went to school. Since prestige is so important to most lawyers . . this is something that they are gong to have to live with . . about as non-prestigious a law school as can be imagined. So they will be facing joblessness, huge amounts of debt, hopelessness, and a lack of self worth . . . all because of the decision to attend these gutter schools. This can be translated into a large amount of Depression which will eventually find its way to the majority of the graduates I would be willing to bet. Life is tough enough. If you can't get into a school worth more than a pitcher of warm spit . . . just don't go.

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  13. A friend of mine graduated from Florida CoasTTTTal School of Law, also owned by InfiLaw. 2 years later he is still without a job. He does not put the name of the school in his resume any longer. He did pay over 40K a year for the diploma.

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  14. I'm not sure if this single minded obsession on scholarship as the main metric for assessing faculty ability is appropriate for most law schools. Surely in most schools most faculty should be focused on teaching and administration?

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    1. I thought the same thing. Surely this school is an absolute trash pit, but it's not because it doesn't produce enough "scholarship." Using student loan money to fund esoteric articles by law profs (which almost all schools do) provides almost no benefit to students and drives costs up.

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    2. I had a friend that graudated Barry Law in 2012. He did get a job; however, it was because he knocked-up an older lawyer, one that was at the end of her bio-clock, so he got a law career and a family.

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  15. Damn, that is a great scoop! Hopefully he/she dishes some more.

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  16. I may be out of the loop, but I just learned of UNT-Dallas. Really? This is unbelievable to me. I hope it suffers the same fate as Indiana Tech. Who is enrolling in these places?

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    1. A hell of a lot fewer people than Indiana Tech wanted!

      Indiana Tech Law Skule will look like goods passed over. I predict that its second class will be even smaller than its first: people who otherwise might have been interested (just fancy!) will turn away when they find out that three seats out of four are vacant. For pity's sake, there are more employees than students!

      Then again, how can anyone pass up the opportunity to learn from such worthies as mr four lower-case names (world-renowned scholar of law and hip-hop) and that greasy-haired fuck who gloats in his autobiography about a lifetime of depravity?

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  17. I think that celebrations here are premature. I will not celebrate until we actually see the first law school closure.

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  18. Imagining The Open ToadApril 22, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Above at 1:48 a.m. mentioned UNT-Dallas College of Law. I hadn't heard of this new LS either. Checked their website.

    Guess what, folks? This law school is offering a "new" kind of legal education. It's "innovative". (smirking)

    Here's what they say about admissions:
    "We make a legal education more open to qualified students. We believe a community's lawyers should be as diverse as the communities they serve. We are committed to serving a wide range of qualified students who have the potential to be successful lawyers."

    Hmmm... sounds like some kind of code speech there.

    Now, lest you suspect they'll have what amounts to an open enrollment, don't worry, they do a full review:
    "To evaluate these qualities, we will review and consider all components of the applicant’s file: academic record, LSAT score, personal statement, resume, letter(s) of recommendation, evaluations, and an optional interview. The review takes into account factors such as the applicant’s background, honors and achievements, service to others, communication skills, talents relevant to the practice of law, hardships overcome, advanced degrees, work experience, leadership, and diversity. (Diversity includes racial and ethnic diversity as well as other differences, such as age, socio-economic background, educational and professional backgrounds, and military service or law enforcement experience.)"

    But on the other hand:
    "As to the LSAT, the College of Law does not have a minimum LSAT requirement....”

    So it sounds like we might be back to the idea of open enrollment.

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    1. Actually, what I have noticed is that the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel law schools have the graduates with the highest average student loan balances. Since underrepresented minorities tend to come from more strained economic circumstances this says to me that they are preying on URMs, and all this diversity talk is a cynical effort to lure them into signing on the line that is dotted.

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