Saturday, December 14, 2019

Über-toilet update, Part II: Status of some of the worst law schools in 2019

The annual 509 reports that the ABA requires of law schools that have received its rubber stamp of approval are now in. Our friends at Law School Transparency have already summarized the new data. Here are a few highlights:

Golden Gate has seen its first-year enrollment collapse in a single year from 237 to 127, while the LSAT scores remain at exactly the same dismal levels. What exactly is going on at Golden Gate? Is the über-toilet collapsing?

Cooley has seen a similarly sharp decline, from 541 to 292. But Cooley kicked its LSAT scores up a hair. It is still the worst ABA-accredited law school when measured by LSAT scores. Cooley did recently announce the closure of one campus, but that announcement came after the start of the semester and thus should not have affected enrollment. So why did enrollment fall? In part because of Cooley's wholly inadequate efforts to raise its LSAT scores. But something else must be going on. In any case, enrollment is now so low as to threaten the sustainability of the über-toilet-in-chief. As I have estimated before, 75 new students per year is about the lowest level of enrollment that an ABA-accredited law school can sustain. Cooley's 292 new students were spread over five campuses. That's not even 60 per campus on average. Small wonder that Cooley is closing another campus. Perhaps the whole goddamn chain will vanish in the coming years, thereby making the world a better place.

Also declining in enrollment was Vermont Law School, from 194 to 151. At the same time, Vermont's LSAT scores slipped a couple of points to a level that leaves Vermont among the ten worst schools by LSAT score at the 25th percentile. That's a steep fall for a school that only ten years ago was almost halfway respectable. Vermont Law School is in deep financial trouble, and challenging Cooley for the bottom rank is no way to save the institution.

But the most dramatic decline of all occurred at Western State University, from 162 to 23. Hell, even Indiana Tech had more than 23 students in its inaugural class. What sort of law school can be run with so few students? It can hardly offer very many electives. Then again, similarly placed Indiana Tech offered "Hip-Hop and the American Constitution", plus four specialties (among them "Global Leadership"). But we know what happened to Indiana Tech, and it isn't hard to see where Western State University is going.

Appalachian, one of the best candidates for imminent closure, saw enrollment rise from 50 to 61—still too low for sustainability, especially in light of Appalachian's financial distress. LSAT scores went up slightly, and tuition went up 12%. More than 30% of last year's graduates were unemployed ten months out. Expect the Grim Reaper to harvest an über-toilet in Grundy, Virginia, within the next two years.

Florida Coastal is now all that is left of the InfiLaw scam-chain. Enrollment went up by almost half, from 60 to 87. Unsurprisingly to anyone who has kept track of this über-toilet, LSAT scores fell considerably, from 147/150/153 to 146/147/151. I expect Florida Coastal to announce its closure in a year or two, thereby bringing InfiLaw to a well-deserved death.

If you have read the previous article, you know that La Verne and Thomas Jefferson are both switching to California state accreditation—the former by choice, the latter not. But we may as well give these two über-toilets one last glance. Unemployment in last year's graduating class was 39.6% at La Verne and 50.7% at Thomas Jefferson.

New England School of Law | Boston nearly doubled, from 181 students to 351. It also raised its LSAT scores by a couple of points. Results on the bar exams, however, remain execrable, and more than a quarter of the last graduating class was unemployed ten months out.

A disturbing trend of 2019 is the widespread adoption of the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT for the purpose of admission. Old Guy disapproves. The LSAT is better suited to law school. More importantly, however, a single test affords a good and consistent standard for comparison. I recommend that the ABA put the kibosh on this GRE business by requiring the LSAT at all law schools.


  1. The only thing worse than having a degree from a toilet is having a degree from a shuttered toilet.

  2. And a bunch of Universities have had their bond ratings cut. Especially in Illinois, which has a couple of junk-bond rating universities, some of which has trashcan law schools attached to them. Not a good sign for law schools with financial problems to have a parent university with a cashflow problem....

  3. The GRE is SO much easier to register for, take and retake. You can just stroll into any prometric center and take it whenever, there are no defined administrations. LSAT meanwhile was paper and pencil until the Sept. 2019 administration.

    Perhaps still relying on pencils and scantrons in 2019 is a preview of the absurdity and resistance to change of the law in itself. But at least it was a pain in the ass. That fact forced applicants to actually be specifically interested in law school.

    Oh well, guess the road to ruin is having some more lanes added.

  4. Ever notice that the scamprofs always seem to land on their feet?

    Andre Dougie Pondscum has yet another job after failing to teach the Indiana hayseeds "what it means to be a lawyer." His hiphop website destroyed my nephew's character, and I fear his classes could do the same to the young women of Little Rock. Super HPV anyone?

  5. And if all these close, only about 150 more to go. Happy New Year, Scamsters!

  6. It seems that New England Law | Boston lost an opportunity to raise its standings perhaps into the USNWR Tier 3. Since the L1 enrollment nearly doubled with the largest absolute increase of any of the schools listed, it follows that there should have been better qualified applicants than in 2015 and if the school had been more selective, a more qualified class could have been assembled. If it could establish itself into Tier 3 it would also follow that the school would be more appealing to a larger number of more qualified applicants perpetuating the higher rating.

    But it looks like the immediate easy revenue was too tempting or necessary to them and the the hell with the standing of the school or the prospects of its graduates.