Sunday, December 18, 2022

Über-toileteers continue to perform terribly on bar exams; ABA issues four notices of non-compliance


The disclosures that the ABA requires from law schools under its so-called Standard 509 are due by December 15. Usually the ABA publishes the reports on a Web site, but this year it still has not done so; one must hunt up the reports on the law schools' own Web sites.

Old Guy can't be bothered, but he has checked a few, for your information.

Appalachian School of Law has long been a target of derision here at OTLSS. This year only 51 new students enrolled, a number well below the figure of 75 that Old Guy has estimated as the minimum for a law school's long-term sustainability. Such low enrollment is bad news for this particular über-toilet, which has been in dire financial straits for several years. 

Another piece of bad news for Appalachian School of Law is its graduates' abysmal performance on the bar exams. Of the 53 graduates from 2021 or prior years who took a bar exam for the first time, only 18 passed. That's 34%, far below the level of 75% that the ABA has nominally required since 2019 (the rule says that "[a]t least 75 percent of a law school's graduates who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their graduation"). I say "nominally" because in practice the ABA readily excuses non-compliance; its rule contains more holes than a wheel of Gruyère. It is true that the data show only the number of graduates who passed on the first attempt, so these data do not prove that Appalachian School of Law is out of compliance; however, it would take a hell of a lot to catch up, and the über-toilet has little control over its graduates' preparation for the exam or even their willingness to take a bar exam again. 

At the odious Western State College of Law, which in recent years has changed hands among a wacky church and a couple of private entities supposedly in the field of education), only 55% of this year's candidates passed a bar exam for the first time. First-year enrolment soared from 23 last year to 128 this year, Old Guy is sorry to report.

Über-toilet Charleston enrolled 223 new students, which is 223 more than it deserves. The bar-passage rate was 59%, again well below the ABA's threshold.

Ohio Northern, another über-toilet that seems too small to be sustainable, has not yet published its 509 report. Its bar-passage rate was 71%, still below the threshold.

Cooley this year had 191 new students and a 38% rate of bar passage. See below for more on this poster child of über-toilets.


Last month the ABA issued new notices of non-compliance with the standard of bar passage to four law schools: Ave Maria, District of Columbia, Hofstra, and Vermont. All four have been called before a meeting to be held in May 2023 so that they can try to prove that they are in compliance with the standard. That is likely to be difficult, in light of this year's new data:

Ave Maria, 63%
District of Columbia, 33%
Hofstra, (no data since 2020)
Vermont, (no data since 2021)

Vermont Law School doubled down this year and turned itself into Vermont Law and Graduate School, the "Graduate School" part apparently referring to a whole slate of new degrees of questionable value marketed to people who don't have a background in law. Perhaps that was done in contemplation of losing accreditation, because the "graduate school" could go on operating anyway, although I fail to understand what would attract anyone to the little unincorporated crossroads of South Royalton, Vermont.

In August 2022, two Puerto Rican law schools each got a three-year extension of the time to achieve compliance, however remote the possibility may seem. Cooley got the same in May, and we can see how very little progress Cooley is making towards its fulfilling its purported plan to reach the 75% mark (which is disgracefully low, but that's another issue).

Old Guy is going to bet that the ABA will rubber-stamp a similar extension for the four über-toilets newly notified of their non-compliance (as if they hadn't long been aware of it) and that it will also find some cockamamie excuse to grant additional indulgences once the extension lapses for those four and the others. In the meantime, Old Guy will say yet again that nobody at all should attend any of these so-called law schools, or indeed any other law school in the US but perhaps as many as thirteen (Harvard, Yale, a few others) that in theory may be worth attending under certain conditions.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Fifteenth closure: Penn State Law to be merged into Penn State Dickinson Law

An anonymous poster mentioned in the previous article that Penn State Law and Penn State Dickinson Law are merging. Although nothing official has been announced, it appears that the Dickinson campus, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is going to absorb the much larger campus of Penn State Law, which is in University Park.

The poster opined that this merger constitutes the closure of a law school. I agree: it's on a par with Hamline and Mitchell, several years ago. Merging law schools is a discreet and subtle way to effect the closure of one of them, without drawing adverse attention.

Of course, there will be plenty of talk of "synergy" or "improvements" or "economies of scale", all of it designed to cast this effective closure in a favorable light. Students, however, are already complaining that the news was broken to them just before their exams, when they did not need the stress and worry of uncertainties about where they would be next year, and that the president severely curtailed the period for questions about this topic of great interest to everyone in either law school.

In any event, the number of law schools that have closed in the past six years now stands at fifteen:

Cooley (one campus)

Hamline (merged with Mitchell)

Indiana Tech





Arizona Summit

Cooley (a second campus)

Thomas Jefferson (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)

La Verne (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)


Cooley (a third campus)

Florida Coastal

Penn State Law (probably) 

Which scam-school will be the sixteenth to close? Appalachian, Ohio Northern, Faulkner, Western State, Mississippi College, Golden Gate, District of Columbia, Vermont, Western New England, Charleston, the rump of Cooley, and a number of others seem like prime candidates. Feel free to discuss this topic below.