The Charleston School of Law (CSOL) – a private institution which has had its share of ups and (mostly) downs in recent years – is likely to be sold to InfiLaw, a company of dubious reputation which specializes in creating “diploma mills.”
No formal announcement is expected for several weeks, but a representative of the firm addressed the CSOL faculty on Wednesday.
InfiLaw owns at least three other law schools across the nation, including the Phoenix School of Law – which according to Courthouse News is currently in the midst of a protracted legal drama stemming from the company’s management practices.
That drama underscores serious problems at Phoenix and the other two schools owned by InfiLaw – Florida Coastal and the Charlotte School of Law.
“All feature atrocious employment statistics, sky high tuition, enormous class sizes, and graduates with massive debt loads,” writes Paul Campos of the website Lawyers, Guns and Money. “For example, Phoenix’s 2012 graduating class had an average law school debt of nearly $200,000 at repayment, a 2012 entering class of 447, and an estimated cost of attendance of nearly $66,000 per year. Florida Coastal enrolled 580 first years – more than any law school in the country, with the exception of the egregious Thomas J. Cooley. Charlotte offered less ‘scholarship’ money to its students, per capita, than any other law school – in a world where sticker price tuition at law schools is increasingly similar to advertised prices at garage sales, nearly 96 percent of Charlotte’s 2012 class paid full boat, as they say in the used car industry.”
Making matters worse, few of the graduates of these schools are securing the sort of jobs they need to pay back their (mostly) government-backed loans.
“Barely one percent of the graduates at these three schools combined managed to get jobs with even a medium-sized law firm, let alone one of the large national firms that pay the kind of salaries that might possibly justify the tuition charged by these federally-funded rackets,” Campos writes.
We’ve had plenty of not-so-nice things to say about CSOL in recent years. In fact, this website broke the infamous bar exam scam story six years ago – in which the S.C. Supreme Court tossed an entire section of the bar exam in an effort to artificially inflate passage rates at the school.
Why’d they do that? To make sure the school could receive accreditation from the American Bar Association – thus making it a more appealing target for a company like InfiLaw.
At the end of the day, we’ve got no problem with the school’s founders cutting and running – feeding their graduates and students to the wolves at a time when CSOL finally appeared to be making consistent improvements on the bar exam (without the help of corrupt judges).
That’s how the private sector works, people. Assets get sold for what they can fetch on the open market.
Bottom line? There will always be people dumb (or rich) enough to pay more for less – which seems to be the modus operandi of companies like InfiLaw.
It’s just a shame this is happening to CSOL at a time when the school appeared to be getting its act together …
Not surprisingly, sources close to the CSOL faculty tell FITS they are “stunned” by the forthcoming sale.
UPDATE: According to The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, CSOL board chairman and co-founder Alex Sanders has issued a statement saying he is no longer affiliated with the school. The paper is also reporting that a press release regarding the future of the institution will be released sometime later today.
UPDATE II: It’s official. According to a statement just released by the school, CSOL has entered into “an exciting new alliance that will strengthen its position as a model for American legal education for the 21st century.” Specifically, it has reached “an agreement to engage in a Management Services Agreement with the InfiLaw System, a network of student outcome-focused, independent ABA-approved law schools.”