Friday, May 11, 2018

Cooley: Non-Profit or Inflilaw Contender?

Continuing on the heels of the prior discussion on Cooley:
Cooley may be, by some measurements, the worst law school in America. And its standing has not been enhanced by a flood of publicity about the quality of the legal work of its best known and, increasingly, most notorious alum: Michael D. Cohen, class of 1991, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and the target of a federal criminal investigation in New York that has clearly rattled Trump."
The school accepts almost anyone who can pay the $51,000 annual tuition bill—more than 85 percent of its applicants were admitted last year. Fewer than half of its graduates manage to pass a bar exam on their first try; among all law school graduates in the country, about 75 percent pass on their first attempt. The 46-year-old school has had to go to court over the past year to fight for its accreditation from the American Bar Association, which found that the school was out of compliance on basic admission standards for a time. Last year, the National Advisory Council for Law School Transparency gave Cooley a ranking no school wants: It was No. 1 on the group’s list of “the 10 least selective law schools in the country.
Well, nothing says "inspiring" like being one of the least selective law schools in the country.  While scamblogs have a long history of mocking Cooley and it's exploits, it's interesting to see a third-party come in hard and strong against this fine institution of higher learning.
Oh yeah, what about that bit about Cooley and non-compliant admission standards?  Did Cooley change its practices in light of the ABA's findings?  Ha, ha - no, it filed suit against the ABA:
Thus, on November 13, 2017, the ABA Council notified Cooley that the school was out of compliance with Standard 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1.  The Council was affirming a decision of the Accreditation Committee made in September 2017 which Cooley had appealed.  The school was ordered to submit a report by February 1, 2018 with additional details.   The next day, Cooley sued the ABA, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the ABA from posting the letter of noncompliance on its website.   Cooley’s injunction request was denied, but Cooley continued to pursue the lawsuit against the ABA, disputing the ABA’s findings of non-compliance with the Admissions Standards, and the ABA’s denial of their request to open a new location. 
The ABA filed two summary judgment motions, most recently on March 2, 2018, defending their actions and arguing that the lawsuit was without merit...So how does the ABA explain its about- face on Cooley?  The Council doesn’t provide much of an explanation. Here is what the ABA’s letter announcing the decision says:
Following consideration of the record in the matter, the Committee concluded that the further report and concrete steps taken by the Law School with respect to its admissions policy and practices demonstrated the Law School’s compliance with Standard 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1.
The “further report” refers to the February 1, 2018 submission to the Council.  But it is hard to believe that report could have caused the Council to change its mind, given that Cooley provided very extensive data to the Council just a few months ago, which the Council found singularly unpersuasive. 
Because nothing says "non-profit" like filing a lawsuit in response to the data-driven truth from an accrediting agency, and wringing a settlement out of them by making it too much trouble to hold the school accountable.  Other law schools, while not liking or necessarily agreeing with the ABA's similar findings of non-compliance, at least are willing to acknowledge the concerns and take a minimum of token steps to make changes.  Not Cooley - you mess with that income stream, the gloves come off.  Because...think of the children!
Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. 
 UPDATE:  Thanks to LSTC's coverage, it appears that Florida Costal has also filed suit against the ABA for the same reasons, i.e. having the temerity to enforce regulations. 
“I’ve been working with the ABA for 40 years. At one time, the ABA helped schools deal with issues. The helping part has disappeared,” he said.  “The ABA has shifted to an antagonistic model,” DeVito said.  “The best way to protect our students and alumni is to file suit,” he said.
Again...think of the children!  What happened to those halcyon scamming days when the ABA would "help schools deal with issues" by quietly looking the other way...?


  1. It's a strange "non-profit" institution that gives its founder a guaranteed life-long princely salary, pegged to an external factor rather than anything like performance, for five hours of "work" per week. But such is Cooley.

    Scam-dean DeVito shows his odious scam-mongering. Really, "an antagonistic model"? What, is the ABA supposed to take no action when money-grubbing über-toilet Horrida Coastal admits class after class peopled largely with dolts who are obviously unsuitable for the legal profession and have scarcely any redeeming quality other than the capacity to take out student loans?

    Of course, the ABA in fact takes no action, or next to none. It hasn't yet seen a scam-school that it didn't like. Finally it has had to issue a few threats, mainly for show (witness the recent finding that Cooley is in compliance after all).

    Florida Coastal is circling the drain anyway. Last year it enrolled only 106 students, an eighth of the number from seven years earlier. Months ago it was put up for sale (, and the building was advertised for rent. I expect that this lawsuit is just a vexatious tactic, not a serious claim against the ABA, which, after all, is the handmaiden of the law-school scam.

  2. If the federal loan $$$ ended on Monday, Cooley and most of its ilk would be closed by Friday.

    1. The tuition would probably drop, but it probably wouldn't actually shut down. It's not like it costs much to run a law school.

      Back in the 70s and prior anybody could cover tuition with a minimum wage summer job. That's all that would happen. Of course most people would not bother wasting their time going when they could earn all they need to have a decent life without higher education, and in fact most didn't bother.

      Things are always cyclical, and misery occurs when expectation/demands strip out realistic possibilities. Happiness is the opposite, when opportunity is greater than expectations. The US had several generations in the happy cycle, and now we're in the misery cycle. As older generations from the happy cycle die off, reality will set in and so misery drops, and eventually that will allow the happy cycles to start again. But all markets adjust very slowly, and so is this one. When the decline starts it'll probably be pretty fast and any faith in higher education/banking/corporate/government officials will collapse. But it can be a long time until that loss of faith actually happens.

  3. By "helping with issues" he means putting extreme pressure on universities to increase law faculty salaries and build fancy new law school buildings to avoid losing ABA accredition.

  4. But let's not forget what a glamorous profession it is! There's no way to put a value on that...

  5. At the end of the day, I think the law school scam is old news.... I sincerely believe this. I believe Law School Transparency has done more than enough and we scam bloggers through our posts which will be read 100 years from now and seem inspiring are doing our fair share. Law schools are closing down left and right. Look at Savannah. Look at Charlotte. Look at states with 50% bar passage rates. It's a big joke... I think the next big thing is all these liberal artists who scam all these future college applicants.

    All fake news aside, what angers me most about the liberal artists in the North East is they act like everyone can just go to Harvard and spend $200,000 on some political science degree.

    Many of these Harvard political scientist professors may retort back, "There is utility in an educated society."

    I believe we scam bloggers like Dybbuk Paul Campos and Nando all agree with this statement. However, there are thousands of community colleges across the country where we can learn fine liberal arts stuff without spending $250,000 and putting ourselves in debt....

    1. A liberal arts education is supposed to foster critical thinking - yet, as you describe, it continues to amaze me that the best the cultural élites can come up with is a "let them eat cake" attitude. When you've never had to work for a living, you've never had to see how the other half lives so you think everyone is in the same boat as you...a classic error.