Wednesday, January 30, 2019

(Updated:) Surprise, surprise: scamsters oppose standards for accreditation

(Update below.)

A new article discusses the many graduates who do not pass the bar even after years of attempts. One of these, a Mr. Sam Goldstein, has failed eight times but plans to try again, despite coming all of 13 points from passing on his most recent attempt. Mr. Goldstein racked up $285k in debt to attend profit-seeking über-toilet Arizona Summit, which has cancelled all classes in preparation for shutting up shop.

The ABA, as the article points out, has done nothing to stop the many scam-schools that produce Goldstein after Goldstein. In evident response to criticism, the ABA now proposes a condition of maintaining accreditation: 75% of the school's graduates must pass the bar exams within two years. The same proposal was made three years ago and was predictably defeated by the scamsters and scamster-lackeys who effectively control the ABA's so-called oversight of law schools. Once again the proposal faces strident opposition at this year's ABA scam-junket in Las Vegas.

COOLEY: The poster child for the law-school scam, according to interim president Jeffrey Martlew, plans to impose "in short order" a minimum LSAT score of 145 for "students who enroll through the standard admission process". (The article incorrectly reports that "[i]n its most recently admitted class, the bottom 25% of students had an average LSAT score of 139". Actually, 139 was the score at the 25th percentile, not the average score of the bottom 25%—which cannot be higher than 139 but presumably is lower, as some of those in the bottom 25% probably have scores even lower than 139.) At least Martlew admits "that a score of 139 is too low for admission", though he doesn't justify the still reprehensibly low score of 145, nor does he explain what is meant by "the standard admission process" or whether a non-standard back door will let people in with lower scores.

Martlew opposes the proposed standard for accreditation on the grounds that it "would force law schools to turn away lower-profile students, among them many minority students, a move that would probably make the nation's law schools less diverse". He continues: "We don’t want to slam the door on our access mission,… which is really what makes us different than [sic] any other law school." Kyle McEntee of the anti-scam organization Law School Transparency correctly rejects that ridiculous argument: "People who don’t get through school and don't pass the bar exam are not diversifying our profession." McEntee might also have asked "Cui bono?" and noticed that "minority students" (apparently referring only to racial minorities) make up 56.5% of the JD students currently enrolled at Cooley. Consequently, a policy that kept Cooley from exploiting "lower-profile students" would hit Cooley's balance sheet hard. Note that Cooley charges $53k per year for tuition and that most students have to pay full price.

THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA: With its LSAT profile of 147/150/153, this Cooleyite public institution is the worst law school of a flagship state university after that of its neighbor to the north. It managed to push more graduates through the bar exam only after the state legislature put up funds for bar review. Rather than saddling the public with this expense, why not simply admit that the U of South Dakota is admitting large numbers of students who have no business in law school or the legal profession?

PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: I have avoided discussing the Puerto Rican law schools, in part because most of their students faced a big linguistic disadvantage on the LSAT. (An experimental Spanish version of the LSAT was introduced a few years ago for use in Puerto Rico only, but it is not scored on the same scale as the English version.) But after reading the argument of scam-dean Fernando Moreno-Orama against the ABA's proposed standard, I really do have to speak up. Moreno-Orama objects "because law schools don’t control the content of the bar exam or set the passing score". So what? How can that possibly excuse his law school's poor performance? Whatever the standard be, and however it be established, law schools should meet it—or stop pretending to teach law. And just imagine how bad things would be if the schools did control the content of the exam and set the passing score.

FLORIDA COASTAL: Scam-dean Jennifer Reiber objects because people who give up after a single attempt at the bar exam would bring the school's numbers down. According to her, some students "plan to use a law degree to further their careers in journalism or public policy" and take the bar exam only once, more or less for the hell of it. I'd love to see evidence of significant numbers of people with the objective that Reiber claims—people who pour three years and a big six-figure sum into an über-toilet's law degree to gain an advantage in an existing career in journalism or public policy but don't seriously attempt to be called to the bar. That doesn't even make sense, and no one with a brain will believe it. Florida Coastal is no longer accepting students, and presumably it is on the verge of closing for good, but Reiber could have spared us her bullshit excuse for piss-poor performance.

Scamsters find any number of self-serving reasons to oppose the proposed standard. I say that the proposal is altogether too weak. Two years to pass the bar exam? Anyone who has not passed it within two attempts should forget about finding decent employment as a lawyer. And 75% is too low: it would allow schools to maintain accreditation even though as many as a quarter of graduates became stuck with six-figure debt and a useless degree. In addition, the law schools are known for manipulative antics such as paying students not to take the bar exam so that they won't drag the old alma mater's numbers down (only students who take the exam count for this purpose). The standard should be higher, not lower. But the scamsters seem to reject any standard at all.

UPDATE: The proposal was indeed defeated handily, by a vote of 88 in favor to 334 against. Two reasons in particular were cited.

First, because California's bar exam is more difficult than those of many other jurisdictions, the standard would allegedly have been unfair to California's law schools. That's a stupid argument. Nothing stops graduates of California's appallingly many law schools (more than 60, including the unaccredited ones) from taking the bar exam in another jurisdiction, or the graduates of schools outside California from taking the exam in California. In addition, the law schools have been aware of California's standards for decades. It is their responsibility to ensure that their students meet the standard—and if they can't or won't do it, they shouldn't be allowed to operate. Besides, amidst the concern for "California's law schools", where is the concern for the people rooked in their thousands by these toilets?

Second, DIVERSITY! Loss of accreditation for the many underperforming toilets with large proportions of minority students "would have considerably harmed efforts to diversify the legal profession". Once again, diversifying the legal profession requires admission to the legal profession. Saddling people, racialized or not, with six figures of non-dischargeable debt at high interest for a degree that they cannot use is no way to diversify anything but the population of people bilked by the law-school scam. Furthermore, this recent interest in "diversity" is little more than a cynical ploy to exploit, under "progressive" cover, the last large population that can be lured in by scamsters bearing gifts.

When you set foxes to guard the henhouse, don't be surprised at the result. Yet again, the ABA demonstrates that it cannot be entrusted with the responsibility for accrediting and regulating law schools.


  1. The only way this will stop is if the Federal Government (i.e. the Department of Education) uses actual lending standards. The ABA doesn't care about anything other than money. Law can't even be considered an actual profession anymore.

  2. Surprised to see that 15% of UT Austin grads can't pass the bar in 2 years. Thought that was an elite school.

    1. Think again. Several years ago it was exposed for admitting people with LSAT scores as low as 128 (which is at the first percentile):

    2. The toilets, and their supporters who seem to post here, would say that the fact that 15% of their grads wind up practicing law, make their skuls a benefit to society. They might even cite one or two grads that eventually become judges. Shut them down.

      As far as whether you are a societal influencer. Probably not.

    3. To see how beneficial these people are to society, look at an old posting of mine (, reproduced below. Note that Appalachian quickly revised its list of "alumni who are making a difference", and that that list seems to have vanished from the Web site.


      I wrote about this toilet over at Inside the Law School Scam. One of my messages (reproduced from

      More on the Appalachian School of Law. My analysis follows the double line.


      ASL graduates are prepared to pursue advanced law degrees at graduate and professional schools. Some of our alumni have continued their studies at institutions such as:

      Tulane University School of Law
      The University of Missouri
      The John Marshall Law School, Chicago

      We have a growing network of alumni who are making a difference in communities across the country through their law practice. They include:

      Amy Lawrence '08 and Justin Lovely '09, founders of The Lovely Law Firm, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; concentrates in criminal, personal injury, and civil litigation law
      Andrew Call '07, practices law in Chicago, continuing a 176-year family legacy; submitted numerous articles for publication in law journals
      Michael Orlando '06, Associate Attorney, Gilroy Law Firm, Tigard, Ore.; primarily focused on defending workers' compensation claims for self-insured employers
      Yasmeen Gumbs '04, Associate Attorney, mid-size law firm, Manhattan, N.Y.; concentrates in Automobile & Transportation and Insurance, defending no-fault insurance and property damage cases
      M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen '03, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Wise County, Va.; prosecutes cases in all courts with a primary emphasis on Narcotics Task Force cases; supervises cases handled in General District Court
      Kimothy Sparks '04, Director of Risk Management, Patient Safety, and Customer Service, Lovelace Health System, Albuquerque, N.M.


      No graduate is reported as doing advanced study at any university of note. The ones being showcased for their professional achievements are:

      1) A couple of people who started a little two-person firm.

      2) Someone who has ended his family's 176-year history in the legal profession by ceasing to practice while "seeking employment with federal courts as a term judicial clerk" ( This worthy has "submitted numerous articles for publication in law journals" but appears (I did a quick search) not to have been published anywhere.

      3) Two people in smallish law firms.

      4) One deputy state attorney.

      5) One administrator whose job seems to have little to do with the law and may well not have required a JD.

      Keep in mind that a law school won't showcase its least successful graduates. This contemptible toilet of a law school is presumably highlighting its best outcomes. And one of them requires birth to a line of lawyers extending back to the Jackson administration.

      Why the HELL should anyone even consider this godawful dump? Why is it even accredited?

    4. To OG 2:30, Exactly.
      I just read an commentary, wikipedia, perhaps, about why the ranking of law schools? The response was that it was rooted in various reasons, including historical, but the current theme emphasizes the job placement rates of law schools. And we know this tends to mirror the academic qualifications of the students.

      But even most of the lower tier schools get students that are at least average for college grads as a whole, so why the disparagement?

      Most industries try to reinvent themselves when faced with and existential crisis. If the law schools are, why isn't anyone thinking of how to market the law school and the degree as something more versatile, rather than just saying it is. No, the toilets would rather go on just being ticket punchers, i.e. 60-70% chance to pass the bar or so, than offering an actual up step in professional opportunity.

    5. Years ago I was going to write an article here on the inappropriateness of ranking law schools. One reason: 90+% of law schools offer such poor prospects of employment that they shouldn't be ranked at all. A ranking implies that the schools deserve to be ranked. But really 90+% of them should just be dumped into the category "To be avoided", with no ranking among themselves.

      The scamsters are trying to market their schools' degrees as versatile. Think of scam-dean Frank Wu and his claim ten years ago that "law school is for everyone". Think of the propaganda about being able to "do anything with a law degree". Sure, the claims are hollow. But people seem to buy them, unfortunately.

  3. Did I miss something about Florida Coastal not accepting new students? A simple google search didn't turn it up and the FC website doesn't say anything. It's admissions page is still active. Did you mean Arizona Summit or did I miss something?

    1. I read that here:

      (See the pink bar at the top.)

      Like you, I have not been able to confirm it. I apologize if I have misspoken. Perhaps the good people of Law School Transparency will check on this.

      Florida Coastal appears to have one foot in the grave. In 2018 only 60 new students enrolled, down from 808 in 2010. That's right, only 60—out of 405 admitted from a pool of 1071 applicants. And it recently had to file with the ABA an explanation of its admissions policy, which the ABA has allegedly decided to investigate. Also, a year or so ago it put its building up for rent. InfiLaw's last toilet school may not have much life left.

  4. The Standards themselves have raised the cost of law school. It is extremely expensive for law schools to adhere to the standards. Furthermore, only graduates from ABA schools can take the bar exam, hence the monopoly of legal education by ABA schools. The abolition of standards would allow cheaper schools to form. Certainly, these cheap schools will likely attract students who are not qualified for the "elite" schools, but the paternalism imposed by the Standards prevents cheaper schools from forming. The argument to abolish crap schools is similar to arguing that we should abolish crap cars, yet people are free to buy crap cars. The difference is that currently crap schools charge 6 figure tuition. Allowing cheap schools to form would price these scam schools out of the market.

    1. Sorry 8:58am but gotta disagree:
      1. "only graduates from ABA schools can take the bar exam" This is not correct; there's a thriving non-ABA law school industry, and unless I'm mistaken non-ABA law school grads can take the Bar in CA/TN/AL/MA/WV, and you can still "read" the law in CA/VA/WA/VT and enter the bar. There are plenty of "cheap" non-ABA law schools out there.
      2. Frankly, it's not the "standards" that are hurting the profession, it's the lack of them. This site has provided plenty of evidence that standards for admission have dropped precipitously over the last few years, and many law schools are accepting OLs they shouldn't, as those individuals are ill-equipped to successfully finish law school and pass the bar. In addition, every profession needs some standards(think medicine/pharmacy/nursing etc) and that includes law. It's just that law has sold its soul for mammon.

    2. Why do we now get so many scam-friendly comments such as that of 8:58?

      A free-for-all is precisely what we do not need. Hell, we already have one: the ABA does next to nothing to enforce even a semblance of standards. Now and then in recent years the ABA has finally threatened to revoke the accreditation of a handful of schools, but it has always quickly backed down—except in the case of Arizona Summit, which was on the verge of folding anyway and in fact did so just a couple of months after losing its accreditation, and before hearing the outcome of its appeal.

      For the past four years, Cooley has admitted more than a hundred students per year with LSAT scores in the 130s (maybe even the 120s). Outcomes are atrocious: nearly 20% of the first-year class fails out; 30% of graduates are unemployed ten months after graduation, and many others are in temporary, part-time, or non-legal jobs; not even 60% pass the bar exam in Michigan, and only 35% in Florida (where Cooley has a campus); tuition costs $53k per year, and most students don't get a nickel's discount. The ABA did challenge Cooley's accreditation about a year ago only to report a few months later that all was well over at Cooley, even though nothing significant had changed. The example of Cooley illustrates the ABA's lack of seriousness.

      As 3:12 correctly observed, there are ways to become a lawyer in the US without attending an ABA-accredited law school. Beyond the options that 3:12 listed, there is the possibility in some states of admission to the bar on the strength of a degree from Canada or various other countries. (Australia, incidentally, has one notorious diploma mill for rich kids.) It's true that only degrees from ABA-accredited law schools are accepted in all fifty states, but plenty of people at state-accredited and unaccredited law schools in, say, California don't seem to mind that they may not be able to join the bar in New Hampshire. Such schools—I strongly advise against them all—are often "cheaper" than ABA-accredited ones but tend to produce even more dismal outcomes. At California's dozens of unaccredited law schools, almost 90% of students fail to finish the program, and only 20% of those who do graduate pass the bar exam.

      See what happens in a free-for-all:

      Note the "school" that purchases lists of students with poor LSAT scores, obviously with the intention of soliciting them. (Just imagine the brochures: "Didn't get into Cooley? Join us at Abraham Lincoln University!") It and the other schools sound like brazen scams concerned about little but money. If the ABA-accredited toilet and über-toilet law schools were relieved of the ABA's minimal and largely unenforced standards, they too could be expected to whore after lemmings even worse than the ones that they now enroll.

    3. 8:58 here. I am not in favor of scam schools. I think most law schools are scams as they don't prepare their students for the bar or for practice--while making students subsidize useless legal scholarship. Furthermore, the article you posted is an example of people making bad purchases. Yet look at the tuition for Omar Medina. It was $3000 a year. Even if he made a bad decision, at least he wasn't in 6 figures of debt. If we are going to protect people from making bad purchases, let's regulate all forms of consumerism. Also, there are many who can go to these schools and do well enough to gain entry to the bar. Sure, these students aren't going to become the next Supreme Court Justice, but they may just want to start a small local practice or want a law degree for some other reason. Yes, Cooley and like schools are a sham, but I believe there can be cheaper alternative schools that can focus on practical skills if the ABA was not so domineering. In the early twentieth century, for instance, cheap part-time law schools schools were extremely popular before the ABA shut them all down because it did not want foreigners and other minorities--lots of whom who attended these school--to infiltrate the profession. I recommend you read Richard Abel's American Lawyers. It delves into the history of the ABA and its crusade against cheap law schools and how this has resulted in expensive legal education and services. Tamanaha also favors cheap alternative schools that would exist if not for the ABA. Again, I am not in favor of scam schools, I just believe the ABA is a useless organization that has made legal education more expensive than necessary.

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    5. Not "all forms of consumerism" are subsidized by the government with guaranteed loans to anyone whom the seller selects, in any amount that the seller selects. Most of the people who go to law school would not be able to spend $200k or $300k on anything else.

      I thank you for speaking of consumerism, for that is exactly what law school is nowadays. It is not an investment in one's future; it's little more than a consumer purchase.

      Starting a small local practice just won't work in an era of oversaturation of the legal profession. Even established and experienced practitioners struggle to stay afloat. As for getting a law degree for a reason other than working as a lawyer, I'd like to hear details. Already there are plenty of establishments, some of them operating on line, that will award a JD for far less money than any ABA-accredited law school charges. Those who want the degree for some purpose other than practicing law may be satisfied with those establishments.

      You're right about the ABA's vile history of trying to keep Jews and others of recent immigrant heritage out of the legal profession. Today, however, the ABA has swung around to enable the cynical exploitation of Black and Latino people whose signature will transfer a six-figure sum from the public coffers into the scamsters' pockets.

      I do agree that the useless ABA has done much to drive the cost of law school up and to enable the exploitation of thousands of lemmings. I don't agree that eliminating standards is the way to go.

    6. 8:58 can't have it both ways; either there are standards for a profession, or there aren't, and currently the only standard the worthless ABA embraces is money.
      And it's important to be clear: while the scammers get the cash and the students get financially ruined, it's the taxpayer footing the bill. So if you're making one of those BigLaw salaries, no big deal, but if you're working fastfood at minimum wage, why should that person be left with the bill?
      And it's my understanding that the non-ABA schools do not qualify for fed guaranteed loans, so if some wants to waste money on them, so be it. That said, if law is a profession(and it probably isn't), then the group allegedly setting standards ought to work hard to close "schools" ripping off people with false promises of becoming a lawyer.
      There aren't any non-accredited medical or dental schools in the USA. If you want to get licensed in either profession, you've got to meet specific standards, so the schools only accept students capable of completing the course of study and passing the required standardized exams. The ABA has clearly decided it's too much trouble to do the same for law.
      Standards are needed, and those standards should lead to the closure of 75-100 of the scam schools.

    7. To 8:40 - It is obvious now that the ABA is not going to do anything. The toilets have already shown they they will admit anyone if that what it takes to survive another year. Therefore, the only measure that will shut down the the toilets is economics itself. With some of the toilets charging $40,000+ a year and 50% bar passing rates and falling, and no job in any event, can these schools continue to survive?

    8. Economic reality has already sunk eight law schools in the past few years and is about to sink a number of others. I don't agree, though, that that is the only agent of change. Put accreditation into responsible hands (that rules out the ABA), and you may see changes in a hurry. Likewise, if the government restricted the availability of student loans, as it should, rather than extending them to every knuckle-dragging moron whom a scam-school decides to admit, then dozens of scam-schools might have to pack it in.

  5. I have six figure debt from law school and I will have it for the rest of my life. I have come to accept that and whether or not it is fair or just really doesn't matter since my student debt monthly payments are based on a percentage of my income.

    There is a formula they use when calculating how much I am to pay and every year they (meaning Navient btw) review my income or earnings and determine my monthly payments accordingly.

    Lazy I am now but I believe I am paying between ten to fifteen percent of my net income for my student debt so the outrageously high principal amount does not matter or rather is not a factor.

    I muse on how the principle is impossible for me to pay off and how there is no bankruptcy option. I think I would gladly trade a lifetime of ten percent payments on my income in exchange for discharging the hyperinflated loan principal. The debt has more than quadrupled over the past twenty years and nothing on God's green earth will save me from that. There is no remedy and all of the law professors in the USA working together won't be able to help me there. The rebuffed pleas of the Scamblogs by legal academia serve as enough proof for all that one would think.

    So that is it. Ten percent of net income for life. Maybe a little more than ten percent and I'll try to get an exact figure on how much I pay percentagewise. A "tax on a life" as someone once remarked, and I don't work in law at all and have not since the end of the year 1999.

    Now a day goes by when I don't say to myself: "I should have never gone to that law school." A tier 4 one in my case.

    Oh and the reason I muse on having my principal erased in exchange for lifetime payments is because the debt destroys the credit. For life. Really it does and young people be warned.

    As it is there is possible forgiveness of the4 debt after 20 or 25 years under ICR or IBR but no one knows how that will turn out in practice. For sure the PSLF program did not deliver for many and so how can we expect income based programs to not be as nebulous when it comes time for ...uh...fruition?

    Bad choice of word maybe but let I'll add something about the IRS "tax bomb" meaning if principal balances are discharged they will be considered income for tax purposes and the likelihood of seniors in retirement being handed a huge tax bill for a forgiven student debt is very realistic. The scenario will come to pass one day. Not now but some day and personally I worry and worry so much about all of this and the uncertainty of it all makes the stress much more.

    We need a good, Lincolnesque Ombudsman. Ah yes, the Student Debt Man or Woman of sorrows to take charge of the whole, bungled mess.

    Give us this day our daily bread.

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  7. God Bless You, 6:24.