Sunday, May 29, 2016

Does the student handbook of InfiLaw's Arizona Summit Law School require students to "actively support" the brand, image, and business interests of InfiLaw?

I do not want to shock you, but sometimes a consumer buys a product or service, does not like it, and flat out says so. Or the consumer may actually like the product or service, but publicly disapprove of some aspect of its brand or image. Or the consumer may be happy with the product or service and the way it is marketed, but nonetheless express an opinion that the product’s manufacturer, merchant, or investors regard as detrimental to their business interests. And, or course, because word of mouth is such a powerful influencer, these business interests would be happier if satisfied customers were active, rather than passive, in their approval.

Fortunately, for-profit Arizona Summit Law School [ASLS], one of InfiLaw Consortium's three bottom-of-the-barrel law schools, is able to ensure an impressive 100% rate of active student support for its mission, culture, brand, image, values, educational processes, and business interests and practices, through the effective persuasive technique of compulsion. 

From Arizona Summit's student handbook (p. 24):
"Right of Dissent. ASLS supports the academic freedom of all members of its community and does not seek conformity, but insists that persons who choose to associate with ASLS actively support its mission, culture, and business purposes and not engage in activities or conduct that are detrimental to the brand, image, or values of InfiLaw or ASLS or the investment that students have made in obtaining their legal education from ASLS. Any expression of dissent must be made by legitimate means in accord with established governance processes. The exercise of the freedom to dissent does not include the right to interfere with the rights of others or the business interests and educational processes of either InfiLaw or ASLS." 
Arizona Summit's most recent 10-month-out bar-required full-time job placement rate was 35.4%, placing among the bottom 20 of the 200 or so ABA-approved law schools. Moreover, its most recent bar passage rates were 26.4% (July 2015 exam) and 28.4% (February 2016 exam), surely among the lowest in the country, and well under half of the pass rate achieved by the two other law schools in Arizona, the ones that have not tried to elevate their brand image by changing their names to a synonym of "mountain peak." (Incidentally, Arizona Summit is located in Phoenix, and thus lower even in actual physical elevation than the other two Arizona law schools, located respectively in Tempe and Tuscon). 

And yet under the strict limitations set forth in the school's "right to dissent" policy, Arizona Summit students are arguably prohibited from publicizing these bare facts, even without overtly negative commentary or opinion.  Aren't these facts detrimental to the law school's image?  Don't they call into doubt its declared mission of establishing a "benchmark of inclusive excellence in professional education"? 

What is more, the act of publicizing these facts is almost certainly detrimental to InfiLaw’s business interests in encouraging enrollment, i.e. corralling ambulatory bags of money called "students" in sufficient quantities to facilitate the overarching mission and values of Sterling Partners, the private equity firm that owns InfiLaw. Which, according to the firm's profile, includes "generating extraordinary returns for our investors" and "driving value to our portfolios companies." (See Sterling Partners' firm profile at p. 5 of this link). 

As well, I note that students are not permitted to engage in activities detrimental to the school's "brand." This rule can be reasonably interpreted to prohibit snickering at the name "Summit." 

Interestingly, Arizona Summit students are expressly forbidden from engaging in conduct detrimental to the image and business interests of InfiLaw, not just Arizona Summit Law School. So Summit students are arguably subject to discipline, even if they provide groupie-level enthusiastic approval of their own school, if they undermine the "image" of either of the other two InfiLaw schools, Charlotte and Florida Coastal, or either of InfiLaw's two portfolio companies.

Notably, the Arizona Summit policy states, indeed "insist[s]," that students must provide active support for InfiLaw's "mission, culture, and business purposes." You know, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un won 100% of the votes in his recent victorious election campaign, but the reported voter turnout rate was only 99.97%. This indicates a troublingly non-unanimous level of active support among the North Korean electorate. By contrast, each and every Arizona Summit student is required to provide active support for their Dear Leader, I mean for their Dear Consortium of Law Schools and Portfolio Companies. Perhaps the North Korean government should commission some InfiLaw consultants to help it fine tune its policies on dissent so as to eliminate its pesky 0.03% margin of mere passive supporters.

Of course, persons who are not Arizona Summit students, such as documentary filmmakers, are regrettably unbound by a code of conduct requiring them to support Infilaw's brand, image, and business interests, either actively or passively. These persons, in reliance on "distorted facts and data" such as the placement and bar passage rates noted, may be tempted to pursue a "false agenda" of "attacking law school admissions and career advancement policies." Fortunately, InfiLaw has retained zealous legal counsel to warn such potential subversives that [rest of sentence deleted out fear].  Certainly, InfiLaw is entirely reasonable in requesting the opportunity to review any references to it or its affiliate schools prior to public dissemination. 

With the appropriate mix of student discipline and proactive threats of expensive speech-chilling litigation, perhaps we will witness that joyous day when private equity investors need not fear hurtful criticism as they actualize their idealistic and enriching vision of legal education by extracting the maximum amount of borrowed tuition dollars from the maximum number of student debt slaves. Ave, InfiLaw, morituri te salutant.

37 comments:

  1. "The exercise of the freedom to dissent does not include the right to interfere with the rights of others or the business interests and educational processes of either InfiLaw or ASLS."

    Janis Joplin must've had graduates of particular law schools in mind when she sang, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

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    1. Cooley's just another word for nothing left to gain.

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    2. Hahaha, if there were an upvote function I would give you one because that was hilarious.

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  2. I wonder if Infilaw diverted monies into the "Project: Re-Animator" fund and found a way to revive Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, because only someone with that kind of twisted mind can come up with this shit. By the way, that silly clause wouldn't be enforced by any court as it is invalid. You may try to chill speech that you deem to be "tortiously" interfering with your scam operation but you can never chill the truth under any circumstances.

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    1. It is ridiculous. It's like buying an Explorer and Ford telling you that you that you couldn't say anything about the car that might "interfere...with the business interests" of Ford.


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    2. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 29, 2016 at 10:22 PM

      Or Chevy and Cobalt.

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    3. Umzug nach Berlin. Komm darĂ¼ber hinweg.

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    4. Check out Reichsminister Goebbels' speech in Gorlitz on March 9, 1945. It's an awkward combination of the most evil deception with the most ridiculous bluster. It's a performance worthy of an InfiLaw attorney. Just as Goebbels never actually had to pick up a gun and fight, the attorney never actually had to find a paid legal position with an InfiLaw degree.

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    5. Don't forget that Dr. Joseph Goebbels was the Nazi "Minister of PEOPLE'S ENLIGHTENMENT and Propaganda." Like many law professors, he had a PhD in humanities and a higher educational purpose. F*** those stupid Germans, his own job was safe--at least until that great Graduation Day on May 1, 1945.

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  3. What do you expect from a putrid cesspool?

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  4. Rest assured that ASLS (pronounced "ass'oles") "does not seek conformity"; it merely "insists that" everyone toe the line.

    I hope that you understand now, Dybbuk.

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    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 30, 2016 at 12:38 PM

      This correspondence school is owned by Sterling Partners. There needs to be a ROI. Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money.

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    2. So the Antonin Scalia School Of Law aren't the only assholes out there.

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  5. By the way, how did these scamsters choose the name InfiLaw? It reminds me of the Latin word infimum, meaning 'the lowest'.

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    1. I'd prefer "Infinitesimal," revealing the actual probability of finding a professional salary commensurate with InfiLaw's greed-inflated tuition.

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  6. Does anyone have info on the Documentary film? It's been mentioned here and on LG&M.....

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    1. Looking forward to seeing it. I shall bring the popcorn.

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    2. Leave It to Law Skule. Starring Jerry Mathers as the Lemming.

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  7. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 29, 2016 at 10:12 PM

    On this blog and others, I have in a willful, knowing and intelligent manner, disparaged Arizona Summit Law School. I will admit that I have engaged in conduct and speech that fully denigrated the "brand, image and values of Arizona Summit and Infinilaw." When you corporate scam artists file against me, I want to save your share holders some money. I will stipulate to liability. You won't even have to introduce any of my statements against me, nor go through the trouble of issuing subpoenas on my ISP nor this Blog's owner. The only question is damages....all I have to do is introduce one expert that will testify that your reputation sucks anyway, so I didn't do any harm. This will be a 25 minute bench trial squeezed between a couple of DUI and Retail Theft pleas. Remember, Venue is only proper where the defendant resides....or minimum contracts. I have no business nor residence in Florida or Arizona nor where you are incorporated. I am READY for Trial.

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  8. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 29, 2016 at 10:21 PM

    I just viewed Arizona Summit's aka Phoenix Law website. According to the website, they were voted one of the best places to work in Arizona. I am impressed. They beat out Sheriff Arpiao's Office and Unpainted Arizona to take those honors.

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  9. http://www.centredaily.com/news/nation-world/national/article80680697.html#fmp

    Sorry to post this in the comments section, but I thought everyone would get a good laugh over this article.

    "Candice Kashani graduated from law school debt-free this spring, thanks to a modern twist on an age-old arrangement.

    During her first year, she faced tuition and expenses that ran nearly $50,000, even after a scholarship. So she decided to check out a dating website that connected women looking for financial help with men willing to provide it, in exchange for companionship and sex – a “sugar daddy” relationship as they are known.

    Now, almost three years and several sugar daddies later, Kashani is set to graduate from Villanova University free and clear, while some of her peers are burdened with six-digit debts.

    As the cost of tuition and rent rises, so does the apparent popularity of such sites among students. But are they really providing financial relief, or signing women up for something more exploitative and dangerous than debt? Kashani believes such sites are a “great resource” for young women, but others say these arrangements smack of prostitution and take advantage of women in a vulnerable situation."

    HAHAHA! Perhaps Villanova Law can get into this pimp business to supplement their student aid income? Maybe next year they can advertise this new "program" in their prospective student catalog and sell it as a great networking tool with former alumni, etc.

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    1. Yes, it's nothing but prostitution. Then again, so are many other sexual relationships (including marriage, according to Marx). A radical feminist view with which I happen to be sympathetic considers all sexual relationships under patriarchy to be unequal and oppressive.

      In any event, Kashani would almost certainly have been better off if she hadn't gone to Villanova. Surely the john didn't pay her more for pursuing a degree in law.

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    2. I am perpetually amused by radical feminism. Fifteen-year-old high school freshman gets herself knocked up and wants an abortion she gets to control her own body. Twenty-two-year-old college graduate who could get into a half-way decent law school chooses to use her own body to cover tuition and living expenses and it's an exploitative outrage. I myself have never really understood why prostitution involving consenting adults is illegal.

      And OBTW, Old Guy, I traveled behind the iron curtain back in the day. Those countries showed what Marx was worth the way Detroit shows what unions are worth.

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    3. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJune 1, 2016 at 8:48 AM

      When Mrs. Carswell says "Jump" I am obligated to say "How High?" Or we are living separate and apart again, with me in the dog house. Mrs. Carswell is one powerful woman!!!

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    4. I never said that Kashani was exploited in her sexual quid pro quo. Indeed, her gender and presumably other personal characteristics gave her an opportunity that was not open to all of her classmates.

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    5. The Careers Services Office could earn their keep for once if they'd collect all information from such "dating" sites and act as a one-stop clearing house where their students could literally find out what's up with this JD-versatile finance option.

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    6. Not much of a "patriarchy," huh?

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  10. I believe "The Summit" qualifies as a libel-proof Plaintiff at this point.

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  11. I would simply post on all social media:

    "InfiLaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful corporation I've ever known in my life."

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    1. "Hi, I'm Major Marco. And I support this message."

      -The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

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  12. When you've got that million dollar Arizona Summit JD, what could anyone possibly criticize?

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  13. Arbeit Macht Frei!

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  14. That's a great story about a huge legal scandal, Dybbuk. Thanks for your diligent and perceptive exposure of the facts.

    Let me add a couple of thoughts about your title. The word "require" could mean either attempted coercion or effective coercion. I think that "insist," the word actually used in the handbook, reflects the pathetic weakness of InfiLaw's position. It's pure intimidation of desperate people who, quite naturally, don't know much about the law.

    And if we were to strengthen the language, as in "Does the student handbook *obligate* students to actively support the brand, image, and business interests of Infilaw?"...then it would be evident at first glance how absurd their position is. There is no legal or moral obligation whatsoever to support InfiLaw.

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  15. "Arbeit macht frei!"

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  16. I thought of something. If you have to be told in a student rulebook to support the brand of your school, isn't that evidence that the bosses of the school know that the degrees they issue are worthless?

    People with good degrees don't have to be told to support the brand of any school they've attended. Those brands support them when they look for jobs, and they would like them to be able to continue to do that. If they disparage their Alma mater's brand they disparage themselves.

    But Arizona Summit's brand doesn't support any graduate looking for work. Its graduates are better off forgetting about legal work and leaving the school's name off of their resume. If you attend Arizona Summit you have already disparaged yourself.

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  17. It's also another way they will probably use to try to prevent students from transferring to other law schools. Arizona Summit used to be named Phoenix School of Law. Before the name change, Phoenix fired 2 law profs for writing letters of recommendation in favor of students that wanted tor transfer to other law schools.

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  18. Arizona Abysm (name corrected in the interest of verisimilitude) belies its "academic" pretensions by glorifying "brand", "business interests", "business purposes", and "investment".

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