Thursday, January 21, 2016

White Flight and Charlotte Law

Calling out an Infilaw school is easy.  Heck, even the New York Times recently got in on the fun.  For example, let's take Charlotte Law and look at how terrible the numbers are from a general perspective.

We could point that the LSAT spreads have dropped from 148 and 152 in the 25th and 75th percentile in 2010 to 138 and 146 in 2014 and 140/145 in 2015.  We could observe that the incoming GPAs at the median are now at 2.82, which in non-STEM undergrad is the equivalent of showing up a few times and drooling on the right bubbles on the final exam.

Charlotte's bar pass rates dropped from a pathetic 55% or so on the North Carolina exam for first-time takers in 2014 to a jaw-droppingly pathetic 47.1% in the summer of 2015.  On top of that shit pile, the upstanding dean, Jay Connison, chose to blame the school's recent alumni for choosing to use Themis and just not studying.

We could talk further about the ridiculous price tag for this place, or the school's anemic employment record.

But Charlotte Law has so much more to offer in terms of revulsion:  its somewhat perverted racial dynamics after the admissions bubble turned south.

I'm not one who easily lays down the race card, but Infilaw has opened this can of worms.  Here's Scott DeVito, Florida Coastal dean, in response to the New York Times:
Sometimes it takes a for-profit entity to right a wrong — in this case the lack of diversity in law schools. At Florida Coastal 44.8 percent of the student body are members of minority groups.
And we've previously criticized Connison's (public) views are that LSAT and such shouldn't matter if a law school has other ends, like those that "position themselves to provide opportunity," which is basically an academic euphemism for the exploitation of poor minorities while telling oneself that the shit sandwich being served is part of a balanced, nutritious diet.

Because it's clear if you look at the numbers from Charlotte Law that their decision to enroll minorities is more one of circumstance than of actual organizational purpose.  To wit:


1L CLASS 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
BLACK 117 193 201 204 174
WHITE 369 366 252 175 128
ALL OTHER 74 100 82 76 52
TOTAL 560 659 535 455 354

JD ALUMS 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
BLACK 1 27 47 77 122
WHITE 87 190 278 285 266
ALL OTHER 10 17 29 53 62
TOTAL 98 234 354 415 450

Concurrently with law school taking a massive nosedive nationwide and schools moving closer to open admissions, Charlotte Law increased black 1L enrollment dramatically at the same time white enrollment decreased dramatically; proportionately, Charlotte has gone from 66% white/21% black to 49% black/36% white with other being almost a constant.  As a percentage of JDs awarded, blacks went from a little over 1% of the class to over 27% of the class, a number that is likely to increase dramatically as the 2013-2015 1Ls graduate unless the grading curve disproportionately affects black students (but why would it, he asks rhetorically?).

Bar pass rates and incoming LSATs by race and school are not available, but it's really hard not to see a correlation here.  The school dramatically increased black enrollment the same time its admissions doors flung open and its palatable admissions scores started dropping. Much is unknown about why it worked out this way, but it raises some intriguing questions, such as asking if the school is purposely targeting borderline minorities so it can claim it's the school that offers "opportunity."

Taken solely by itself, diversity and racial inclusion are positive goals.  But combined with desperation and predatory admissions policies, the cynicism meter moves off the damned chart.

For example, one could observe that if these individuals - applicants in general with 145 LSATs - are truly fit for legal education and likely to graduate, pass the bar, and enjoy high-income lifestyles, one has to wonder why Charlotte admitted so few minorities back in the halcyon days of 2007-2009 compared to the present, such that the expansion now is noteworthy.

Indeed, one might ask whether Charlotte was being racist then, or if it is instead being racist now?  It's a law school version of "white flight." The rise of so-called "opportunities" prompts the question of why, exactly, those opportunities exist now.  Charlotte Law isn't so much a beneficent source of opportunity newly opened as a post-graduate version of Detroit.

Surely, Charlotte knows that the risk of career catastrophe is very high for its graduates, and no reasonable person could believe otherwise with a straight face.  Charlotte may view itself as a crusader of post-recession racial opportunity, but a simple look at the numbers suggests that this is delusional and completely backwards, an Emperor with no clothes convinced that it's wearing the mantle of diversity.  Charlotte admits these students in exchange for federal loan proceeds knowing full well that the odds of law school completion, bar passage, gainful long-term employment, and loan repayment - not to mention the intangible of career satisfaction - are extremely low (again, if they are not, why did they not admit these same students 5-10 years ago?). 

Absolutely, the prestigious side of the bell curve has a race problem.  The solution is clearly not, however, to cynically admit minorities into a likely dead end so that a corporate enterprise can claim to be seeking justice when someone calls out its avarice and declining standards.

It's one thing to disgustingly exploit 143 LSATs to keep your shitty for-profit operation floating.  Specifically targeting minority 143 LSATs - which it appears Charlotte may be doing as a contemplated strategy in the admissions department; either that, or whites just don't apply, which should, I suppose, also be a red flag - is a brand new level of reprehensibility.  This is particularly so where North Carolina already has a functioning law school, established in the 1930s, directly affiliated with an HBCU that charges lower tuition with similarly weak employment prospects (though, one would assume, a better reputation in the region, particularly for African-Americans).

I would concede that the profession would benefit from having more black practitioners on a relative basis (obviously, on an absolute basis, the profession needs more no one).  However, this isn't the answer.  Disproportionately saddling risky, marginal minority candidates with massive debts unlikely to be repaid to benefit a for-profit enterprise does not advance racial progress in the United States or in the legal profession; quite the opposite.  This isn't paternalism or far-flung speculation.  It's common fucking sense, it's exploitative (intentional or not), and it's wrong.

Of course, as big of a rip off as Charlotte is, be you black, white, or whatever, there are others who manage to be ripped off for far greater sums.

32 comments:

  1. Looks like a case of a predatory institution targeting the lowest-information people they can find. To their credit, I'm sure they don't actually *care* what the color of their students' skin is--student loan forms are all the same hue--but as abominable as it is that Infilaw is doing its level best to reproduce an exploitative system of racial inequality, the idea that they try to cloak it with pro-diversity language is altogether obscene. They're the scholastic equivalent of pay day loans--except you can discharge those in bankruptcy.

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    1. They don't care about the color of the students' skin, as long as the money from the student loans is green.

      How many of the Infilaw scamsters are Black? Damn few, I'm willing to bet.

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  2. When these minority loan conduits graduate and can’t pass the bar, you can bet your ass that the same deans who lowered admission standards to the point of nonexistence will start crying that the bar exam is “inherently racist.” Also, as far as Villanova goes, what a joke. I graduated from Nova Law (nearly a quarter century ago). It seems to me that it’s trying to buy its (modest) reputation back after all the scandals. But whenever I check LST, it keeps falling further and further behind Temple in terms of median LSAT scores.

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  3. SJW Law Profs to the rescue in 3...2...1..., decrying the "racist" scambloggers.

    One does have to ask the hard questions, especially why there apparently were few minority "opportunities" before but many "opportunities" now in the face of declining enrollment. Those questions do not come from inside the bubble, so it takes someone with no skin in the game to ask them. Bravo, despite the spittle of the SJW Admissions staff to the contrary.

    Ultimately, the scambloggers don't want anyone, minority or otherwise, to be a victim of the scam. That is what it is all about, and the reason why the cynical ScamDeans do their best to obfuscate and decry.

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  4. Jay "Con"nison ran Valpo into the ground. For an encore, he is currently running Charlotte into the ground.

    Sterling Partners and Infilaw must be proud.

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  5. Interesting post. Any idea what the enrollment figures would be without the GradPLUS goldmine? Or if the government started holding the schools accountable by conditioning the loan money on some level of student success?

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  6. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 21, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    It is about SALES! They will point to cheap cover to maintain market share. In the jurisdiction I practice, the bench and bar are very diverse. Judges and lawyers of all stripes are accepted into the profession. It is a positive. I know where everybody attended law school. None came from these Unranked Diploma Mills. ZERO. I consider them to be top notch practitioners. Even if a law school like Charlotte targets "insular minorities" for SALES, it does them no service if there is no work, jobs, and clients for them. There is not enough PIE to go around in the legal profession for everybody, even if you came here on the Mayflower or whatever.

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    1. Yup! What the diploma mills are doing is called "SALES" -- of a bill of goods -- to the unwary.

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  7. Louisville is doing the same thing with their "compassion" program. "http://www.courier-journal.com/story/opinion/2016/01/16/uofl-law-professor-veered-partisan-agenda/78903362/

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    1. Here is a quote from the above.

      "There is ample evidence that the law school has veered to a partisan agenda. In a prior commentary, I discussed the diversity training conducted by the law school in collaboration with the Vice President for Diversity. At those events, faculty, staff and students were instructed to identify their religious beliefs, sexual orientation and disabilities, and attendees were ordered to clap enthusiastically (it was made quite clear that silence or even polite clapping was simply not acceptable)."

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    2. These compelled disclosures not only violate privacy (what if a person doesn't want to disclose a disability?) but also privilege mainstream categories. "I'm a Methodist" or "I'm a Sikh" is much easier to articulate and accept than a lengthy, and almost certainly unwanted, presentation of one's syncretic, idiosyncratic, or otherwise unconventional religion. Likewise, "I'm gay" or "I'm straight" is easier, less intrusive, and more palatable than a frank discussion of the various things that one does or would like to do with whom, and when, and how, and why.

      That said, the complaint cited above also betrays a partisan agenda—one that perpetuates privilege by confining or marginalizing stigmatized groups.

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    3. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 24, 2016 at 8:05 AM

      Comrades, I am Communist. The Mother Land during the Great War and her resurrection for all of the Workers to share in it's fruits can not be denied by the imperialist colonial powers and the CIA..... That would be a Hoot if somebody stood up and recited that. Maybe mention fluoride too!

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    4. Disabilities? Just antisocial personality disorder and chronic colitis. Sometimes I also start screaming for no apparent reason, particularly in the middle of class. But I usually calm down in a few minutes.

      My religious beliefs are rather eclectic. Like the Rastafarians, I believe in the divinity of Haile Selassie. But I maintain that He is the terrestrial vicar of the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Who will call the faithful away to Their heavenly paradise and condemn to eternal damnation all adherents of mainstream religions. Human sacrifice and cannibalism are also central to my faith.

      As for my sexual orientation, I'm straight with a single partner but totally gay in threesomes. I also fantasize about S&M with small children of whatsoever gender.

      Let me tell you how glad I am to have found a safe space where my disabilities, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated every bit as much as those of others.

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    5. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 24, 2016 at 4:18 PM

      Along with my antisocial personality disorder, I would like to show you all my concealed carry permit. I am ok. As long as my Medical Card pays for my 50 minute therapy session once a week and my Klonopin, they say I am well adjusted. I love sharing...

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    6. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 24, 2016 at 9:13 PM

      Old Guy,

      What Axis II diagnosis should we give your straw man new law student for his compassionate curriculum?

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    7. so we have a Haile Selassie worshipper on the board?

      I would much rather bow at the altar of Halle Berry.

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  8. Charlotte Law's 2015 ABA 509 shows a staggering 45% attrition rate for their most recent 1L class, 60% of which is listed as "academic" attrition.

    This is a brilliant little sub-scam - admit a huge class of unqualified students, then fail out a big chunk of them after 1L year. That leaves the school one year of tuition richer, and doesn't harm those pesky bar passage and employment statistics like actual graduates do.

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    1. That is, or was, I don't know if it's still true, the Cooley approach. From what I understand, they failed out about 15% of their 1L's after they of course paid in a year's tuition.

      The only color these schools care about is: Green.

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    2. And, of course, they can claim that the dropouts are all stupid, lazy, entitled, etc.

      ...Actually, no, a more brilliant scam would be to lead those kids along holding them by the hand for all 3 years of law school, making it as easy as possible, and then flunking them all out in the final exam so they don't graduate and get their J.D. degrees. Squeeze them for every last dollar, then push them out without the degree.

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    3. I'm surprised they don't do that X-RWU. Then again, an essential part of this scam is that graduates blame themselves, not the school. Especially in this age of Internet comment boards. Grads (or ex-students) need to feel like isolated losers who just don't try hard enough. If the school pumps 'n dumps them, they are more likely to blame the school and warn other on social media and boards, deterring prospective students, I think.

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  9. It also occurred to me after the fact that the students in my hypothetical scenario might actually be better off than the graduates in a way, because then they wouldn't have the scarlet "JD" letters on the resume or CV.

    Actually, one thing I've long wondered: What's stopping the law school from enrolling totally non-existent students to get the federal loan money?

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    1. Medical practices have been busted for insurance fraud for doing that, but in those cases, only a handful of people were "in on it." The people in on the law school scam fancy themselves intelligentsia. That's what's stopping them - not a scruple mind you.

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    2. Ahhh, thanks for explaining. I wondered about that, because the people who run law schools these days are so depraved and greedy as it is...
      As absurd as this may sound, I actually kind of wish they'd do just that -- let them do something so blatantly illegal that the government would have no choice but to come in and crack down on them.

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  10. What do you expect from cHARLOTte Law Skule?

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  11. These "educators" will do anything to keep the gravy train of federal student loan money rolling along. Perhaps, they will start actively recruiting students with Down syndrome, in order to keep up enrollment.

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    1. Perhaps, they will start actively recruiting students with Down syndrome

      People with Down Syndrome do not deserve to be discriminated against. We should open the doors of the profession to them and allow them to take the bar. If that means that we must simplify the bar exam to one simple question ("What is yummier, a cheeseburger or a rock"), then so be it. There is no reason for having a bar exam which discriminates against sub-100 IQs, illiteracy, or having a J.D. from the Charlotte School of Law.

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    2. @Nando: I found a thread at JD Underground a year ago about the "Law School Brain Drain" and its poster mentioned how it had quite a few unprofessional-looking classmates, as well as one kid with Down Syndrome who the professors tried to interact with as little as possible. I'll let you know when I find it again...

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    3. An IQ of 70 or below is considered is considered intellectually disabled. The Deans are already scraping the bottom of the barrel for enrollees. They accepted some kid who committed several violent bank robberies in Nebraska. If I recall correctly, he was accepted to a coveted federal court clerkship. How many good attorneys with NO criminal background are UNDEREMPLOYED or UNEMPLOYED. I guess convicted violent felons are to invite into the justice system?

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    4. @Nando: I found it! http://www.jdunderground.com/lawschool/thread.php?threadId=88428

      @Anonymous 5:42 PM: Regarding the bank robber in Nebraska... you're kidding me, right? Oh wait, is this that Shon Hopwood guy? I just saw his Wikipedia page. And yeah, I'm sure his clerkship made him REAL popular with all of his law-abiding classmates... Why couldn't the judge hire one of them instead?

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    5. Bank robber...attorney...some sort of fellowship recipient at Georgetown. Seems like a natural progression to me.

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  12. At least three-quarters of the class at cHARLOTte has an LSAT score of 145 or lower. That's at the 26th percentile of all test-takers, for crying out loud.

    Incidentally, a year tangled up in Charlotte's web will cost you $41,348, not to mention $22,620 for nine months' living expenses.

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  13. A typical Charlotte Law student: "Professa may I aks you a question?"

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