Monday, September 24, 2018

LSAC Updates its Data Reporting Methods in Honor of 2018 Applicant Increase

A brief-update:  long-time readers of this blog know that I have poked fun at LSAC and their difficult-to-compare data reporting methods for some time now.  Varying start dates, compressed eyestrain-o-vision scaling methods, x-axes that are not uniform, changing how students are counted, strong indications of miscalculated year-to-year comparisons...all have come into play one way or another.  I won't go through it all again, but suffice it to say it has been a problem.
Why does it matter?  For the same reasons the SEC requires accurate data for trading - (some) people (at least) attempt to make informed-decisions based on the data at hand, and accurate market valuation is key to that process, or so I'm told.  It does no good to chide people for not "doing their research" when the available information is slanted, or at worst, faulty.  Scamdeans and Judges alike may blame "sophisticated consumers" for having the temerity to believe the false-statistics generated by the Cartel, as blaming the victim is easier than instituting real reform.  Law School Transparency did not arise in a vacuum, nor did the troubles of Whittier, TJLS, Valpo, Indiana Tech, the Infilaw schools, Cooley, and others.
In that vein, I do have to commend LSAC for the new data presentation and ability to even run reports over more than a three year time span.  This information is clear to the eye and denominated in a way everyone can follow.
Call me cynical, though, but this change strangely comes about after several years of declining applications as have been previously documented.  Now that the Cartel has finally had an upswing year in several past years, look at all this new, easy to read information!  Clearly, the conclusion is "everything has recovered!" and "buy now!"
But that's the law school "market" for you.  As we all know, caveat emptor, 0Ls...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Charlotte SOL Taps its CGL Policy to Pay-Off Students

In an interesting stroke of "justice," it appears that Charlotte School of Law is reaching a settlement with its former students:
The school and student plaintiffs on Tuesday asked a federal judge in North Carolina to preliminarily approve the class and the settlement, saying it was the best deal the students could hope to achieve given the dire financial circumstances of the shuttered school and its parent company, InfiLaw Corp. Judge Graham Mullen of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted preliminary approval Wednesday.
Should it move forward, the class-action settlement would end four federal suits and 90 state court suits targeting the school.

Charlotte School of Law ran a net $8 million deficit in 2017, the year it closed, according to the settlement motion. InfiLaw lost more than $7 million in 2017 and $6 million through June 2018, the motion said. The settlement consists of the $2.5 million left from the school’s insurance policy, as well as an additional $150,000 directly from InfiLaw.
As it should be.  Anyone who honestly thought InfiLaw and its affiliated schools were anything but a cynical cash grab should have their heads and consciences examined.  This is at least a pyrrhic victory for these students, compared to prior suits against schools where the student plaintiffs were essentially told they were "sophisticated consumers" and "should have known" the Law School Cartel was peddling pipe dreams.  Better to settle rather than have "bad law" on the books showing that the student-loan conduits might have an actual case, at least from the Cartel perspective.
This from the school that blamed its own students and told them that "It is on with these f***ing morther****ers" to pass the bar, dammit, while the dean continued to obfuscate and misdirect.  These paragons of legal virtue certainly deserve what they have coming.
Hopefully these payments, while not making students whole by any means, doesn't interfere with getting a student loan discharge from the DOL given that the school is closing.  Make sure you read the fine print, and run away now.  Go pursue something that is actually worth your time and effort. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Just what we need: more Cooley

The boot-licking, apple-polishing, brown-nosing ABA has authorized Cooley to open another campus—this one in Kalamazoo. So-called students will be able to complete as much as two-thirds of a law degree and finish up at one of the Cooley outlets in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, or Lansing, Michigan, or even the one in Tampa, Florida.

The ABA had held up its rubber stamp of approval until it was satisfied that Cooley complied with the "standards" for admission. Lo and behold! the poster child of über-toiletry was found compliant six months ago. At least three-quarters of last year's entering class scored in the bottom 30% on the LSAT, and at least a quarter was in the bottom 11%. Such are the "standards" of the ABA.

The Cooley chain of über-toilets shut a campus down several years ago but now feels emboldened to open another, albeit one that can offer only 2/3 of the credits needed for a degree. Perhaps the opening of another branch is just the desperate act of a dying franchise, but I suspect that it manifests the reinvigoration of the law-school scam. The number of applications to law schools has been increasing even as six law schools have closed or are in the process of closing. Let me repeat what I have said for years: people who apply to law schools today, especially schools of the Cooley variety, get no sympathy from me. I don't want to hear complaints about $350k in student loans for a worthless degree, such as the one brought by a former student of now-defunct the Charlotte School of Law in a suit against the ABA. Literature exposing the law-school scam abounds. Don't come crying to Old Guy if your stupid decision to enroll in La Toilette predictably proves disastrous.

In other news, InfiLaw über-toilet Florida Coastal has lost its appeal from the ABA's finding that it did not comply with certain "standards" respecting admission and instruction. Will the ABA proceed to revoke the accreditation of InfiLaw's last über-toilet, or will it give Florida Coastal the Cooley treatment by affirming compliance with the "standards"?

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Students leave Arizona Summit … for North Dakota

In my previous article, I wondered what would become of the students of Arizona Summit after their über-toilet law school, just days before the expected start of the semester, announced that it would not be offering classes after all. Now we have the unexpected answer: some 25 students from Arizona Summit have transferred to—wait for it—the University of North Dakota.

"One transfer, Morgan Cosgrove, first interacted with UND’s law school earlier last year at a conference in Los Angeles. Cosgrove said thousands of students at the conference were lined up to talk to schools like Georgetown and other big law schools. But she started chatting with Rob Carolin, director of public relations at UND’s law school…" Here's a hint, Ms. Cosgrove: you weren't going to Georgetown, even in your dreams. And there's a reason for which you were able to speak with the head of public relations (!) at the U of North Dakota without waiting behind thousands of other students.

Ryan Rehberg got out a year ago, while the going was good. He is happy with the "helpful and accomodating [sic]" people of his new alma mater: "[t]hey cared about the whole person, making sure I was set up good". (Apparently they haven't taken pains over his grammar.) Mr. Rehberg has returned the favor by promoting the U of North Dakota to his former classmates. Since he seems to have helped to persuade twenty-five of them to quit the scorching desert for the snowy prairies, perhaps he should take over for Mr. Carolin as director of public relations.

At the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, the U of North Dakota and Arizona summit have exactly the same LSAT scores, though the U of North Dakota is ahead by about half a grade point on undergraduate GPAs. Transfer students' numbers don't count for the purposes of the idiotic rankings produced by You Ass News & World Report, however, so the gleaming legal academy of the Peace Garden State could safely admit anyone with the means to pay. As for payment, it's about $27,500 per year for non-residents (presumably these transfer students all fall into that category), which is admittedly a lot less than the $45,300 charged by the Arizona scum pit. Unsurprisingly, moving from Phoenix to Grand Forks will also reduce the cost of living.

This infusion of transfer students increases the student body at the U of North Dakota by more than 10% and adds nearly two-thirds of a million to the coffers. How did the U of North Dakota pull this feat off? First, by being "nice", as Ms. Cosgrove eloquently put it. Second, by accepting all credits from Arizona Summit. Many law schools accept no more than 45 credits, or even only the first year (understandably, since traditionally people transferred after one year at most); but the U of North Dakota was only too happy to take their mon—I mean, their credits. But the established students may not welcome a large cohort of Summitoids who are likely to keep to their group, compare their new environment unfavorably to their old one, and bitch about the weather or the distance to the nearest major city.

By contrast, Arizona Summit has now lost about a quarter of its student body to the U of North Dakota alone. Other students have transferred to Florida Coastal, and a few with only one semester to go are finishing at Arizona State (though their degrees will still say Arizona Summit). And who's to say how many were snapped up by Harvard and Yale? Now that so many have taken to the hills, will anyone be left to turn off the lights?

Some long-standing residents of North Dakota, or maybe of a nearby state, manage to parlay a law degree from the U of North Dakota into a modest, low-paying job in some small firm or government office. Those freshly arrived from Arizona, however, cannot expect local employers to swoon over people who had obviously arrived in North Dakota only out of desperation. And a law degree from the U of North Dakota will be almost useless in Arizona or elsewhere; indeed, the very name of the school will move many people to laughter.