Thursday, July 26, 2018

Toilets Я Us, Part III: Arizona Summit asks Arizona State to administer last rites

The notorious profit-grubbing InfiLaw chain of über-toilet law schools is in trouble. The sudden closure of the odious Charlotte School of Law a year ago left InfiLaw with only two toilets, hardly distinguishable in odor. One is Florida Coastal, which last year had to put its building up for rent because of financial woes (first-year enrollment declined from 808 in 2010 to 106 in 2017), threats to its accreditation, high rates of attrition (more than a fifth of those who enrolled in 2014 failed out), low rates of success on the bar exam (less than half of Florida Coast graduates who attempt it in Florida pass the first time), low rates of employment (more than a third of last year's graduates were unemployed ten months after graduation, and many others were precariously employed), and general InfiLaw-style shittiness.

The other, Arizona Summit, was stripped of its ABA accreditation last month. Its only chance of survival is an appeal filed a week ago. The appeal forestalls the inevitable for three months, but the scamsters of Arizona Summit understand that their toilet law school is in for a final glorious flush. Accordingly, Arizona Summit has asked Arizona State University to salvage the matriculated flotsam of the latest InfiLaw shipwreck: under the proposal being negotiated, students already enrolled at Arizona Summit would be able to take their remaining courses at Arizona State "to graduate and complete their degree at Arizona Summit".

Read that carefully: although Arizona Summit would have shut down, its last students would complete one, two, or even all three years of law school at Arizona State but collect a degree from long-defunct Arizona Summit! What's in it for Arizona State? Presumably several million dollars' worth of tuition (Arizona Summit has about a hundred students left in all classes combined), without the indignity of further tarnishing its already humdrum reputation by putting its name on the degrees of InfiLaw's dolts. Small wonder that a deal could be concluded in a week or so.

Let's imagine how this would play out. Fourth-tier Arizona State incorrectly considers itself prestigious: it declares itself "top-ranked" on its home page. But it undeniably stands worlds apart from seventh-tier commercial über-toilet Arizona Summit. It never would have admitted the nincompoops that people Arizona Summit, nor does it want to associate with them now. And any Summit trash that ended up in a class at State would stand out like a sore thumb. One can even anticipate the development of summit as a local pejorative epithet. So Arizona State would have to operate the remains of Arizona Summit separately. And since Arizona Summit is famously "diverse" (more than 40% of the students are non-white), the winding up of Arizona Summit would assume a decidedly "seg" appearance.

Conveniently enough, Arizona State could simply inherit any interest in lands, as well as enough otherwise unemployable professors to keep Summit at a slow boil for two or three years; it wouldn't have to saddle its own professors with the unenviable task of penetrating Summit skulls. After that, it might be able to redeploy Summit's erstwhile facilities for purposes other than a law school. And it could profit enough from the interregnum to justify the administrative inconvenience. After all, InfiLaw technically has to produce a "teach-out" plan whereby its students can finish their degrees—and InfiLaw certainly doesn't want to pour money down this über-toilet any longer than necessary, so it will gladly make the effort worth Arizona State's while. (InfiLaw presumably got away with shutting Charlotte down summarily, without a "teach-out" plan or even notice to the students, because the state yanked Charlotte's license. If the ABA instead yanks accreditation, InfiLaw should be on the hook for the "teach-out" plan, although I wouldn't fancy the ABA's chances of enforcing the obligation.)

Perhaps I've miscalculated Arizona Summit's dénouement. But the announcement makes it clear that Arizona Summit's students would get their degrees from defunct Arizona Summit even if Arizona State administered any "teach-out" plan. So I don't think that I'm wide of the mark.

As a bonus, Arizona Summit may retain students—it expects to lose 30–40% to transfers by the end of the summer—through this coup de grâce, because some may regard themselves as being springboarded into the faux-prestigious ranks of Arizona State. Who knows? Some may even frame their "education" cagily on their résumés, so as to mislead potential employers: "Finished JD at Arizona State University, 2021." Like many swords, this one cuts both ways.

If this ploy succeeds, as it must, we may see it repeated on a grander scale. Imagine Harvard's managing the dregs of the New England School of Law, just to get its paws on some prime Bostonian real estate.

16 comments:

  1. I clicked on the article link, and was greeted by a photo of AZ Summitt's best and brightest: Ear-disk Loser, Peroxide Tips Guy, Mastiff Man, and the Problem Glasses Broad. They should start their own super-firm together....

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    1. Yes, they make a fine set, though noticeably short on that glorious Arizona Summit "diversity". The bleached hair (which also clashes with that purple necktie) comes straight from the early 1980s.

      But that's only the first of 21 photos that you may enjoy. Most of them, however, come from the same class on secured transactions.

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    2. Ugh. I feel for the non-trads in those photos, who seem to be prominently displayed. "Look at our diverse student body!!111!!1"

      One lady 54, another guy 49...I can only hope they had some sort of nest-egg already saved up, or they have stellar connections. I remember those "secured transactions" days, and If I knew then what I knew now, there is no way I would be sitting where they are.

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    3. I was much younger than they, and I didn't go to an über-toilet, but still I made a mistake. Well, things have finally worked out fairly well for me, after several hellish years. But I would not have gone to law school had I known what I know now, and I may well be the top-performing Old Guy in many a long year (top grades at an élite law school, with law review, federal clerkship, loads of other achievements). A typical student past 30 can expect to fare much worse.

      Perhaps older students ("non-traditional" sounds like marketing jargon) have become the latest target for exploitation. "Are you 36 or 47 or 58? Lost your job as a chemical engineer or a machinist or a low-level manager? Dreaming of playing Perry Mason or defending dolphins or saving the world? Craving a BMW or a mansion or a sexy young spouse? Come to La Toilette Law Skule! Just for idly filling in some circles on the LSAT, you can take out a quarter of a million in high-interest, non-dischargeable debt and pursue a lucrative and fulfilling career in law! Don't listen to the naysayers; sign up today!"

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  2. I think your speculation is pretty on point except for what happens to Summit professors. They'll be thrown to the wolves (err I mean have the opportunity to become partners at firms). Arizona State doesn't want to pay sub-par faculty and will happily force its own faculty to teach Summit students. I mean if they aren't counted for US News GPA/LSAT numbers then who really cares how dumb the students are? Arizona State faculty may care. . but I doubt admin will give up that tuition dollars.

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  3. Gotta love those insightful journalists: the caption under one of the photos states "The school was founded with the mission to increase diversity in the legal profession."
    No, it wasn't; the correct caption should read:
    "The school was founded with the mission to separate clueless lawyer-wannabees from their federally guaranteed loan money."

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    1. That's not entirely fair. Donald Lively, who still helps to ru(i)n Arizona Summit, actually start with the mission of founding a law school that would serve racial and other minorities. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity. He found, though, that no one was interested in dropping academic standards through the floor—except InfiLaw, which was only too happy to bankroll a project that would bilk thousands of exploitable people per year through the arbitrage scam of federally guaranteed student loans.

      Probably Lively had a mission of increasing diversity. But InfiLaw had a mission of profit. So I'd say that you're half right.

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    2. "Probably Lively had a mission of increasing diversity. But InfiLaw had a mission of profit."

      When Worlds Collide.

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  4. Here are my questions:

    1. If Summit loses its accredidation and its students are then awarded degrees from a non-ABA accredited school, will taking classes at State get them past the requirement in many states that you must have gone to an ABA accredited school to sit for the bar exam?

    2. If this scheme is set up does it cut the remaining lemmings off from the opportunity to have their loans forgiven because the school folded? Are those lemmings painted into a corner of being forced to keep borrowing or be on the hook for the loans they've taken out thus far with no degree to show for it?

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  5. ASU has played this quite well. Poach the good 1Ls, watch the lower tier competitor school burn, then - hopefully! - tell them to eat dirt. Poof, state is back to 2 law schools.

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  6. Another topical question would be whether ASU will take possession of ASLS's student records and thus be the keeper of transcripts, and will find a way to treat ASLS alums as sort of pseudo-ASU alumni so as to be solicited at annual fund time.

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    1. Squeezing blood from a stone? The 140 set over at ASshoLeS isn't likely to have much money to spare, particularly after ringing up $200k in fees for a JD that may as well have come out of a Cracker Jack box.

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    2. 2:05 here. I agree with your point but in the age of electronic record keeping and communications the opportunity cost to ASU would be so minimal it would seem worth the outside shot that some Summit folk might make it big in the law, the lottery, strategic marriage or a game show.

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  7. And even romance isn't safe from school debt:
    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/millennial-marriages-crumbling-student-loan-debt-134145853.html

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  8. Scam-dean LeDuc of über-toilet poster child Cooley is supposedly retiring:

    https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2018/07/31/wmu-cooley-law-school-president-don-leduc-announces-retirement/873771002/

    The public-relations firm that is spinning this development said that LeDuc would not be able for comment this evening. Why not? How can a public-relations firm dictate how LeDuc spends his time after hours? I suspect that there's more to this "retirement" than meets the eye.

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  9. The ABA is introducing a new "process" for accreditation:

    https://www.law.com/2018/07/31/aba-to-overhaul-law-school-accreditation-process-with-major-reorganization/

    I'm still waiting for the ABA to take an interest in standards.

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