Friday, October 19, 2018

Über-toilet update: Valpo not moving, apparently closing; Thomas Jefferson not admitting students


The über-toilet law school of Valparaiso University, which oddly uses the hideous nickname Valpo, will not be moving to Middle Tennessee State University after all. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission voted 8–5 against the proposal to absorb Valpo.

The commission relied on a feasibility study that, in sharp contrast to the one that justified the creation of defunct über-toilet Indiana Tech, found that the acquisition of Valpo would harm Tennessee's many other law schools and the law students as well, without fostering access to justice. In addition, the study reported that Valpo has a poor reputation and that the acquisition would cost a great deal of money that Tennessee could ill afford.

Hackademic scamsters predictably denounced the decision.

So what becomes of Valpo? Apparently it is being closed down. The Web site refers over and over again to a commitment to keep the school open for "current students". New students are not being accepted, and indeed the information about admissions has all been removed. Spokeswoman Nicole Niemi has just said that Valpo "will continue to provide the opportunity for all currently enrolled students at Valparaiso University Law School to complete their legal education through Valparaiso University Law School in a timely manner". This language suggests an intention to shut up shop once the currently enrolled students are gone.

If Valpo is indeed closing, it is doing so a damn sight more responsibly than many other toilet law schools. Charlotte, for instance, simply locked everyone out, without so much as an announcement until it had ceased operations. Arizona Summit recently cancelled all classes less than two weeks before the start of the academic year. Valpo at least deserves recognition for doing more or less the right thing.


Despite its usual practice of admitting students in the fall and spring, über-toilet Thomas Jefferson has decided not to admit students for the coming spring semester. According to interim scam-dean Linda Keller, "[t]he law school is committed to providing the best environment for our students. We’ve decided to forego [sic] the revenue that a spring entering class would provide because a proportionally smaller spring entering class might not provide the vibrant, collaborative atmosphere for our new students that is an essential part of the first-year law student experience."

Note that the decision is explained first and foremost in terms of "revenue". So much for the typical pretense of selfless devotion to the profession and the public; what matters is money, and this scamster doesn't even have the taste to shut her tacky-ass mouth on that subject.

Thomas Jefferson would not forgo revenue lightly. It is deep in debt. Recently it had to leave the lavish building that it had built just a few years ago; now it operates out of shabby rented offices that reportedly are altogether unfit for the classrooms, library, and other facilities that it needs. On top of that, it is under probation from the ABA and has recently applied for alternative accreditation from the state of California in case the ABA gives it the boot. I suspect that Thomas Jefferson canceled its admissions for the spring because it would not have had the money, even with that precious "revenue", to support another entering class.


  1. The difference between Valpo and the Infilaw toilets is a parent university that: a. Can absorb the red ink for a few more years (a J.D. must be completed in 5 years so the exposure is finite); and b. Is afraid of getting sued. Infilaw can file Chapter 7 any time it feels like it, for Valpo U., which has a respectable endowment, that is not such a viable option.

  2. That's two down, 150 more to go.

  3. More than two are down:

    * Indiana Tech (dead)
    * Whittier (dead)
    * Charlotte (dead)
    * Savannah (dead)
    * A campus of Cooley (dead)
    * Mitchell (merged with Hamline)
    * Valpo (not accepting students; couldn't give itself away; apparently being wound up in the next two years)
    * Arizona Summit (has lost accreditation; not accepting students; apparently being wound up)
    * Thomas Jefferson (probably preparing to close)
    * Florida Coastal (accreditation in doubt; out of its building; unsustainably small; probably on its last legs)

    In addition, these are in trouble:

    * John Marshall—Chicago (just dumped itself on the state; too many law schools in the Chicago area; nasty toilet, may not last)
    * Vermont (just sacked most of the faculty and put the few survivors under a gag order of questionable legality; serious financial trouble)
    * North Carolina Central (had to slash its class size and pull shenanigans just to maintain accreditation;
    * Cooley (poster child of über-toilets; one campus already gone; may not be able to sustain accreditation)
    * Minnesota (ranks near the top of the fourth tier by Old Guy's standard, but bleeding red ink; major regional status may keep it alive, but will need money that it doesn't have or else a sharp decline in standards of admission, with concomitant loss of prestige; might survive if it absorbed the U of North Dakota and the U of South Dakota and got the relevant states to pick up part of the bill)
    * Appalachian (class size doubled last year, but financial problems remain; Cooley-like admissions, and even worse employment; remote, hours from even a medium-size city; no future and not much of a past)
    * Elon (atrocious employment; über-toilet in a state with far too many law schools)
    * La Verne (small; too damn many law schools in California; half of the last graduating class was unemployed after ten months)
    * Charleston (a leading über-toilet, despite rapid growth; accreditation could be challenged)
    * Southern University Law Center (ditto)
    * Concordia (tiny über-toilet; one law school in Idaho is more than enough)
    * Ave Maria (god-bothering über-toilet with astonishingly poor employment and high price tag; state has far too many law schools)
    * Detroit—Mercy (have mercy on the students by closing this expensive dump, more than half of whose graduates are employed part time, for the short term, or not at all)
    * Ohio Northern (shriveling up; toilety; too many law schools in the vicinity)
    * U Mass Dartmouth (tiny and dismal; the state never should have taken this trash heap; far too many law schools in the state)

    Any others?

    1. Your reference to Minnesota opens a point for thoughtful consideration. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island all conduct state lotteries, but the three northern New England states run a Tri-State Lottery.

      Mass., Maine and Connecticut run state law schools of which CT's is the only serious contender. UMaine has billboards in Connecticut offering UConn in-state tuition to undergrad students from CT who enroll there.

      There is a place for State U law schools but no good reason for the six New England States to have more than one or any state with one or two seats in Congress to have even one. The future should be consortiums of states creating regional state law schools sponsored by multiple state universities. But that would mean fewer sinecures and that simply will not do.

    2. Interesting that the U of Maine puts up billboards in Connecticut, which is a few hours away. That reminds me of the billboards for Wall Drug (a tourist trap in Wall, South Dakota) and South of the Border (a much tackier tourist trap near Dillon, South Carolina) that are a couple of days' drive from the touted venue. Maybe we shall soon see "Study law at the U of South Dakota" along roads in Key West.

      Many states do not need a law school. Louisiana needs one, realistically speaking, on account of its special legal system. But Alaska gets by without one, despite being located far from the nearest one (probably in the Vancouver area). Geographically small states such as Rhode Island and Delaware could easily do without a law school, as could large but sparsely populated states such as the Dakotas and Wyoming. The proliferation of law schools wastes resources and drives costs up.

      As you note, however, law schools are run not for the public, or even for the students, but for the faculty and the scamming administrators, which is why we see demands for numerous law schools in states such as Indiana and Tennessee that don't need more than one or two.

    3. Not to be a prick, Old Guy, but Minnesota isn't "bleeding red ink." You can bleed money, or you can drown in red ink. Pick one, bro.

    4. UMaine is right where the population of Maine starts to peter out. Maine shares a border with New Hampshire but otherwise is surrounded by the ocean and Canada, much of it French-speaking Canada. Population growth and birthrates are flat, and a 95% white population does not help minority recruitment. The U.S. fertility rate has been below the replacement level needed for zero population growth for years and years; our population grows by immigration, putting states like Maine which attract few immigrants at a disadvantage.

      School enrollments in New England are plummeting and UMaine can see the writing on the wall. Colleges are going to be shrinking and closing in the coming years. My acquired cynicism, however, will not let me believe law schools will not just further lower their admissions standards, the supply of lemmings being virtually limitless.

    5. Well, no. Metaphors are exactly that, and exist without hard and fast rules about "bleeding" or "drowning". That's the whole point of using metaphors.

    6. I find some relief in the fact that every state has at least three seats in Congress.

      There are still far too many law schools, and both state and private law schools are far too expensive.

    7. That's an impressive list, Old Guy.

      Remember how much fun it was, four or five years ago, to predict which toilets would get flushed, or hoping against hope would flush themselves? Some of those places, Whittier for example, deserve a moral reprieve for realizing what a pernicious scam their law school had become.

      I might add that Akron, Capital, Washburn, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Willamette, McGeorge, and Cal Western are devoid of any redeeming qualities or reason to exist. One of them could very well surprise us by closing within a few years.

    8. The metaphor may seem odd, 3:17, but it is in standard use; I didn't make it up. It can be justified: consider that the very life-blood of the organization has been replaced with debt and that the organization is bleeding to death, thus bleeding red ink.

    9. Yes, 12:31. Even before Indiana Tech opened, we predicted its closure.

      Also around five years ago, I predicted that at least ten law schools would close down by 2020. And indeed six have already closed, two others are apparently just shepherding their 2Ls and 3Ls through to graduation (no later than 2020), and two others show strong signs of shutting their doors soon.

      Closure of the other schools that you mention would not surprise me. So far only schools in Tier 6 have closed, but some in Tier 5 and even Tier 4 may be in danger.

    10. OG, I respectfully disagree that John Marshall-Chicago is in trouble. Just watch, UIC will let the law school hemorrhage cash. In no way am I arguing that this is a good idea. It is a horrible idea. But for years, UIC maintained the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago and the Urbana campus maintained the University of Illinois School of Law. Then the Urbana campus opened their own competing med school this year. So UIC countered by taking on John Marshall. This is not a coincidence.

      If any law schools are in trouble, it’s the expensive private toilets in Chicago (e.g. Loyola, DePaul). UIC has the opportunity here to implement predatory pricing – offer low tuition that undercuts the competition and ultimately drives them out of the market. Then UIC can raise tuition and make the money back in later years.

  4. The UMaine program is for the undergrad school only and only for the first year. It is mainly for New England flagship universities, but curiously Rutgers and Cal are also on the list. Why anyone would choose UMaine over Cal for one year of tuition parity is beyond me. It would be interesting to know of such a person.

    The UMaine law school is halfway decent. USNWR ranking 106 (cf. Suffolk 144).

    1. I must dispute the characterization of U Maine as "halfway decent". The LSAT scores are 149/153/155, so roughly a third of the class was in the bottom half on the LSAT. Almost a third of the graduates of 2017 were not in long-term, full-time jobs ten months after graduation, and many others were in "business" (probably retail sales or other working making no meaningful use of the JD) or lousy state or local clerkships that aren't likely to lead to legal jobs. Not a single recent graduate got a federal clerkship, and only one got Big Law.

      U Maine is in Tier 5 ( Stay away.

  5. The people who greelit the wave of law school openings pre-recession should feel simultaneously ashamed and stupid. Elon, Drexel, Florida A&M, Ave Maria, Liberty, even Appalachian founded in 1994 - there was never a reason for any of these schools to exist.

    To add to the above, I would point out that Rhode Island didn't have a law school until 1992. Vermont and NH didn't have one until the 70s and even Maine didn't have one until the 60s. Connecticut had 2 until Quinipiac was added in the late 70s. Say what you will about the crap Massachusetts private schools, but they all at least date to the 20s or earlier, save UMass.

    So in the 50s, New England had 9 law schools for a region with <10 million people, 7 of which actually served the local population. Population growth has been way under the U.S. growth rate, but nonetheless they added 6 law schools, so now they have 15 law schools for a region with ~14.5 million, 13 or which are supposed to serve the local population. It's a microcosm of what happened to the entire country.

    1. Far be it from Old Guy to defend the kudzu-like proliferation of law schools in any region, but at least in New England there is a historical basis for it: New England has long been known for education and the associated institutions. This is a mere accident of history, not a testament to any local excellence or a slight on other regions. Not for nothing are the US's most celebrated universities concentrated in New England and the rest of the Northeast (notably New York State, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania).

      As Law School Truth Center mentioned, at least the many law schools in Massachusetts, with one notable exception, are old and established. The same is true of most law schools in New York, Pennsylvania, and the Midwest. And most of the growth in New England occurred a few decades ago, when conditions were different and some new law schools just may have been justifiable. The recent growth, all of it unjustified, has occurred primarily in the Southeast. Florida, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas—why the hell do these states each need multiple new law schools all of a sudden? I admit that they are growing in population. But, really: seven in North Carolina? six in Tennessee (one of them state-accredited)? eleven in Florida? Who needs all that?

    2. Valpo was established in 1879, FWIW.

    3. Indiana had four law schools from 1895-2012. Worked fine.

      Michigan had four law schools from 1927-1972. Worked fine.

      Illinois had seven law schools from 1911-1973. Worked fine.

      Ohio had eight law schools from 1921-1974. Worked fine.

      In retrospect, Valpo's a victim of its own impassivity in not being more aggressive countering the post-Cooley wave. Blame the Boomers and the ABA.

  6. Thankfully the Tennessee Higher Education Commission stopped this attempted money grab. MTSU did not give one damn about giving law students the opportunity to go to school closer to home, access to justice, or any of the other nonsense they spouted to justify the acquisition. MTSU believed they could make a law school profitable to the parent institution by slashing the already low Valpo admission standards to collect more student loans.

    If MTSU really cared about the region, then they would open a med school. Typically rural areas lack psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, various pediatric specialties, and other specialists. Rural families have to drive to cities for access to these docs. But rural areas are also facing a shortage of primary care docs – such as family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. I was at a hospital that was short family medicine docs, only had a temporary pediatrician, and lacked coverage of various specialties at times requiring patients to be transported to an urban health center. Many towns in the area only had a PA or nurse practitioner. Create a med school that will produce primary care docs to serve rural areas. Texas Tech created a program in which students can complete med school in 3 years if they are pursuing family medicine. Those students are not missing much in the 4th year. The 4th year is really about taking time from school to apply to residency and travel to residency interviews. MTSU could create a small medical school that offers a 3 year track like Texas Tech. The tract would attract quality students looking to save money and start practicing sooner.

    But MTSU is not looking to create an educational program that serves the region and students. MTSU is looking to create a program that would be inexpensive to run and have the potential to bring in money to the parent university through lax admission standards. Remember, non-profit does not mean the college is not making a profit. That just means the university is not distributing the profits to shareholders. Rather, the profits go to the lazy administrators.