SC

CSOL Survey: Uniform Dissent

A whopping 95.5 percent of Charleston School of Law (CSOL) students are opposed to the sale of the school to diploma mill provider InfiLaw, according to the results of a new student survey obtained by FITS. An even larger number of CSOL students – 98.9 percent – said that “student…

A whopping 95.5 percent of Charleston School of Law (CSOL) students are opposed to the sale of the school to diploma mill provider InfiLaw, according to the results of a new student survey obtained by FITS.

An even larger number of CSOL students – 98.9 percent – said that “student leaders, faculty members, alumni, members of the Board of Advisors and others should discuss alternative possibilities for ownership” of the school.

Those are compelling numbers which represent nothing short of uniform opposition among the school’s student body to the controversial proposal.

Perhaps the most troubling statistic for the school’s leaders? Of the first year students at the school, the vast majority of them – 82 percent – said they are “considering transferring” if the proposed sale of the school to InfiLaw goes through.

Wow …

“Students remain committed to the pursuit of alternative ownership scenarios, and are determined to hold those in power accountable for their actions, which affect all students, our investment in our educations, and the future character of the institution that we love so dearly,” wrote survey organizer Leigh Ellen Gray, a third year student at CSOL.

Gray penned those words in response to criticism from school founders Robert S. Carr and George Kosko, who helped negotiate the InfiLaw deal.

Carr and Kosko made a rather mundane mathematical error in interpreting the survey results.

The latest CSOL saga began back in July when FITS exclusively reported on the school’s impending sale. The resulting furor has prompted all sorts of backlash – as well as a proposed state takeover of the institution.

Last we checked, the InfiLaw deal was on the verge of collapse, which is probably a good thing. Still, we do not support state ownership of this school under any circumstances.

Given its bloated and costly higher education system, South Carolina needs fewer – not more – campuses on the taxpayer dole.

CSOL STUDENT SURVEY (.pdf)

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36 comments

Jake smith November 6, 2013 at 8:04 am

These students should transfer. The way I see it, there is no way to win here. No matter where they go, it will be better than the CSOL.

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

Highly dubious. There’s over 100 law schools that should probably be shut down. Most of which are even with, or much worse than, CSOL.

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Dan November 6, 2013 at 9:16 am

If they could transfer out of this school, they probably should do so regardless of the sale. If they could transfer to a better school, they probably should have just gone to a better school to start with. I think my class at USC accepted 7 transfers. I would imagine other schools would be in a similar range.

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

Transferring is easier than you’d think. Think about it. Your school can accept some guy paying sticker who probably bombed the LSAT, but is smart enough to pass the bar. So you get $, bar passage, and your admission standards don’t go down.

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? November 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

This anchor is just waiting to be tied around the taxpayers neck. (with all the others)

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

I would normally agree if not for the fact that law schools are profit centers at most colleges where they have one. Why do you think schools are falling over themselves to start law schools? You build a building, hire some adjunct professors, charge $40k a year in tuition and open the floodgates. Why do you think a for profit institution is looking to buy CSOL? Here’s a hint- it’s not because it’s going to lose it money.

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? November 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

Good point. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Don’t you think the accreditation is an issue though? Especially with wary eyes over at USC?

It seems like there’s a lot of gov’t power brokers floating around the whole deal trying to either protect their turf for enrich themselves personally.

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

I do think USC is going to try to protect its own turf. It has just agreed to spend a lot of money on a new law school campus. If CofC gets a law school, it could become the pre-eminent law school in the state. A lot of people from all over would gladly move to Charleston to attend law school, which means that CofC could have the pick of ever decreasing law school application pool. Law school applications are down 45% from where they were just 4 years ago. This means that many law schools are having to decrease their admission standards to keep the money rolling in.

I would much rather see CSOL in non-profit hands it would then have less of an incentive to just admit whoever can qualify for unlimited government student loans (which is everyone with a pulse) to maximize profits like Infinilaw schools do. South Carolina does not need to be inundated with mouth-breathing, debt laden, morons from out of state calling themselves lawyers.

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Jesus H. Christ! November 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm

That – if it’s even true – is fixing to change. Law school applications are plummeting.

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I wish you were correct. What will happen is law schools will just lower admission standards even lower than they already are. Acceptance rates are at 80% at some schools right now. I suspect we’ll see a day in the coming years when some law schools have 100% acceptance rates.

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Jesus H. Christ! November 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I am right. “Law School Applications Continue to Slide” – http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-06-02/business/39697850_1_american-bar-association-accredited-law-school-legal-job-market
Unfortunately, you probably are also correct that some law schools will lower admission standards.
All of this mitigates against the state’s taking over CSOL.

RHood2 November 6, 2013 at 8:43 am

Please explain the mundane mathematical error.

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Andrew November 6, 2013 at 11:37 am

On the survey, there was a question that said “If you are a 1L would you consider transferring?” something like 60% responded “not applicable.” The judges assumed that meant they wouldn’t transfer. What it actually meant was those people that marked “NA” weren’t 1L’s. There weren’t separate surveys for students. The “error” appeared again when the question was asked to 2Ls. 60% or so marked N/A… Because they weren’t 2Ls…

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Jesus H. Christ! November 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

As long as the state doesn’t take it over, I don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to this school.

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Aullstar November 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Ya’ll are all dumb ignorant peasants that evidently do not live in the State of South Carolina. Another publicly owned law school by the state would be exactly what this state needs. The University of South Carolina Law School is old and decrepit just like all it’s professors. Let’s face it The University of South Carolina Law School has never been regarded as a top notch school, it ranks in the top 20 for “Best Value Law Schools” according to U.S. News and World Reports, as well as The National Jurist. Is that what South Carolina wants to be known for as a law school? Seriously, that’s like being in the Wal-Mart category of law schools and nobody but obese people and hispanics shop at Wal-Mart. If Charleston Law is sold to Infilaw it will be detrimental over time to the economy of Charleston, the school’s rep in itself and it will make the state of South Carolina look bad for allowing something so ridiculous to happen in it’s finest, classiest, top-rated city. Though at first it may increase the school’s funding, in the end it will only cause the downfall of an upcoming, competitive law school. No resident of South Carolina who is thinking logically would want that for any school in the Palmetto State. Last, but not least, if the school were to become a publicly funded school owned by the State it would only increase the competition between The University of South Carolina Law and CSOL. If you know anything about economics, competition is excellent, especially in a struggling economy. That is all for the moment.

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? November 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

“Last, but not least, if the school were to become a publicly funded school owned by the State it would only increase the competition between The University of South Carolina Law and CSOL. If you know anything about economics, competition is excellent, especially in a struggling economy.”

So obviously you are on board with another SC government owned & operated institution of higher learning.

Let’s examine this statement though:

“If you know anything about economics, competition is excellent, especially in a struggling economy.”

I don’t know a ton about law, but I know a little about economics.

Do you know the favored method of competition when a particular market segment is struggling?

It’s called “Consolidation”. Mergers & acquisitions. The free market(which government run schools don’t represent), would automatically balance supply & demand over time, even Keynesians(sane ones that is) wouldn’t dispute basic supply & demand curves.

When you have government “competing” as you put it with itself(which is not competition in the true sense) you don’t get any of that. Do you know why? Chicken Pie.(I keeeed!)

When government “competes” with itself there are no “losers”. That’s why it’s inefficient. Instead, when government law school A out competes government law school B, instead of law school B going out of business or being absorbed by law school A…IT INSTEAD SIMPLY GETS ITS FUNDING FROM THE TAXPAYER. There are no pricing signals or profit/loss signals to change anything.

So in summary, you are completely wrong on the above quoted statement. That is all for the moment.

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

The guy you’re responding to doesn’t understand that law schools make more money than they spend. It’s not like law schools are spending lots of money on expensive scientific equipment to train its students like medical school. And yet law schools charge nearly the same amount as medical school. Go figure.

I like all the free market competition arguments, but they just don’t apply in the educational realm. The feds have created a system where you can get whatever student loans you want, as long as it’s what the school charges. So CSOL has no need to compete with USC. It can just open its doors, charge $50k a year, and wait for the college grads who can’t find a job that starts them out as a manager or making $90k a year and stupidly believe that they’ll be making the big bucks being a lawyer. Their mommy and daddy help with this delusion by telling them that you can do anything you want with a law degree. So they borrow the money, thinking it’s a sure bet without even considering the possibility that they’ll never be able to repay the loan.

Imagine what would happen to the housing market if the government guaranteed that you could get a loan for whatever amount the seller was charging for the house, regardless of your ability to pay. There would be no competition. No need to lower the price of your house. You just sit back and wait for the next government backed sucker to come along and pay too much. Such is the situation with legal education today. The only hope is to put the schools in the hands of a non-profit who will hopefully have less of an incentive to overcharge its customers, er, students, for their degrees.

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? November 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

“I like all the free market competition arguments, but they just don’t apply in the educational realm.”

Yes, but maybe the should. All it takes is removing government from the process.

Law school would be a lot less expensive and long term match demand for lawyers.

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? November 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

edit: “the” to “they”

Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I agree. If you had to go to a bank to get a loan for law school, you’d have to show that you’ve got a strong possibility of being able to repay that loan. No way would banks be loaning 21 year old kids $200k for a job that will start out at $40k a year, which many legal jobs do. Law schools would be forced to reduce tuition dramatically and/or only those with actual good prospects of getting legal jobs would get funding to go to law school.

? November 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Bingo my friend!

? November 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

One other note; you’ve correctly identified the easy access to gov’t backed student loans as one cause for the lawyer glut.

However you didn’t mention the similar situation in housing that drove up pricing and distorted supply/demand in a similar fashion(gov’t guaranteed mortgage’s). You kind of skipped by that…thought he distortion may not have been as large individually(but much larger in scale), it was there for the same reasons…hence the real estate bubble.

Why is this important?

Because when you realize that these distortions in supply/demand emanate from the same source:

Government subsidization/interference in the market.

Again, I will point out Nobel Prize winner Hayek’s work, based on Ludwig Von Mises and championed by Murray Rothbard that shows that government intrusion into markets distorts and/or eliminates all pricing indicators which also distorts the supply/demand curve.

Remove the government money machine and the markets will stabilize over time.

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? November 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

edit: remove “when” from “you realize”

Aullstar_Lawyer November 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm

So you can tell me that if CSOL was absorbed by the College of Charleston it would be LESS competitive with The University of South Carolina Law School and if CSOL were bought by the privately owned company named Infilaw it would create more competition with USC law? That is all for the moment.

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? November 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I have no idea what you are specifically asking or how you gleaned it from my diatribe.

That being said, if you want to pick a specific sentence of mine and ask a question about it I would be happy to try to answer it to the best of my ability.

From what I am trying to understand about your question/statement, it seems that you are asking me about to what degree a private institution can/will compete with a public institution, is that correct?

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Aullstar_Lawyer November 6, 2013 at 11:29 pm

that’s right

? November 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

Ok, so let’s start with the basics of competition:

The goal for any business is to make money, period.

This is the #1 distinction between a public and private institution.

A private institution in order to make money has to:

Provide value, which is a combination of cost balanced with a good product/service.(some might provide lower cost and lower quality, some higher cost and higher quality, it’s up to them and their customers)

A public institution has no such requirements as they get a yearly budget, profit is not necessary and neither is providing cost matched with service/product.

So how does a private institution compete against one that has no profit motive?

Not easily obviously, but we have seen that for some time private university’s have found a way to do so despite having to compete with public ones. Usually by filling niches, with high level or low.

Did that answer your question?

Adam November 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

And we don’t need more lawyers in this state. It is already over-saturated. Maybe you haven’t looked at the employment rates for new lawyers lately.

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Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

2 legal grads for every 1 legal job opening. What SC should do is limit the number of people passing the bar every year to whatever the projected BLS legal jobs created in SC will be for the coming year. If it’s 300 one year, the top 300 scores on the bar are admitted. An extremely high failure rate would discourage people from ever attending law school in the first place.

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? November 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Just like the government can’t manage the money supply, because it doesn’t(and can’t) know exactly how much money should be out there, neither can it manage the “lawyer supply”.

Which is why it should be in the business of educating lawyers.

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? November 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm

edit: “should” to “shouldn’t”

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Aullstar_Lawyer November 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Then who should be in the business of educating lawyers? The private sector? You just made a degenerate statement once again Adam.

Jackie Chiles November 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Degenerate? Quite a description. I think the issue is whether government money will be used to pay for the education of lawyers. The assumption is that a public law school is costing the state money. If, as it should be, the law school is self funding with private money, then there is no harm in having a “public” law school.

? November 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

lol…what was degenerate about my statement? Do you find the notion of privately institutions of higher learning for lawyers reprehensible?

Who is Adam?

? November 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

edit: “private”

Jesus H. Christ! November 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm

So you’re saying that the one state-run law school is super-crappy, ergo the state should buy and run another law school that is even crappier and all will be well?
Yeah, that makes sense.

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