SC

CHE Staff Issues Report On CSOL-InfiLaw Sale

RULING FROM COMMISSION ITSELF SET TO FOLLOW …  The staff of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE) has just issued its report on the proposed sale of the Charleston School of Law (CSOL) to diploma mill InfiLaw – and specifically whether the CHE should license the school under its…

RULING FROM COMMISSION ITSELF SET TO FOLLOW … 

The staff of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE) has just issued its report on the proposed sale of the Charleston School of Law (CSOL) to diploma mill InfiLaw – and specifically whether the CHE should license the school under its new owners.

The report – which contains the findings of a nine-month investigation – determined that the “new CSOL” met each of the CHE’s criteria for licensing (academics and curriculum, facilities, finances and reputation and character).

The kicker …

“Based on the documents reviewed and on information gathered for its due investigation of InfiLaw’s application for initial license … the staff recommends that the Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing commend favorably to the Commission initial licensure to InfiLaw Corporation.”

In other words the staff of this entity is recommending that state government not use its licensing authority to block the controversial sale of CSOL to Infilaw.

More …

“… it is not our intention to suggest a definitive conclusion regarding whether the licensure criteria contained in South Carolina statutes and regulations has been met in the application for initial license and change of ownership filed by InfiLaw Corporation. That determination is best left to the expertise of the Commission whose members and staff are familiar with the interpretation of state law and regulations applying to postsecondary school licensure. This report contains the findings and observations of the two individuals who served on the external review team and includes representations made by InfiLaw representatives and the CSOL dean that licensure criteria were being met and would continue to be met under InfiLaw ownership of the school.”

Read the complete report HERE.

Exclusively reported on by FITS last summer, the takeover of CSOL by InfiLaw created a meltdown on campus – with the vast majority of students, teachers, staff and alumni coming out in opposition to the deal.  This near-unanimity prompted state lawmakers to discuss a possible government takeover of the institution, although the leader of that effort – S.C. Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (RINO-Georgetown) – has been too busy battling a federal indictment and civil suit to follow through on his plans.

Obviously, we will have much more to say on this matter once the CHE itself acts on this staff recommendation …

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26 comments

CL April 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

How exactly would a state takeover work? The school is owned by shareholders. I assume the lawmakers envisioned using CHE approval as leverage to force a favorable sale. Apparently that is not in play, so they would have to at least meet the InfiLaw price to buy the school. I hope even our politicians are not stupid enough to pad the bank accounts of CSOL’s shareholders to acquire a mediocre grad school at a time when the state should be divesting itself of these types of assets.

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jimlewisowb April 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm

“…our politicians are not stupid enough..”

that’s fucking funny

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CL April 30, 2014 at 1:30 pm

You left off an important part: “I HOPE EVEN our politicians…” Dum Spiro Spero.

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Jackie Chiles April 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Better for the state to overpay for a law school than allow infinilaw to tank the legal economy in the state by further flooding the market with unemployable debt laden law grads. The state should be asking how much it will cost in welfare benefits once these people graduate and can’t find gainful employment.

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Nope nope nope April 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm

If the state overpays for the school then the market will still be flooded with unemployable debt laden law grads, and the state will have overpaid for the school.

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Jackie Chiles May 1, 2014 at 11:52 am

It’s more likely a state school would be responsible with its mission of education as opposed to profits. The state can look to make its money back over the long term while Infinilaw will be pressured to make profits now. In one scenario, there’s a mild increase in the number of unemployable debt laden grads in the other there’s a monsoon of them. God help the Charleston legal market.

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CL April 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Do you think the state would shut the school down? Because there is no other likely scenario in the foreseeable future, regardless of who owns CSOL, where it is not churning out “unemployable debt laden law grads.” And if the goal were to close the school, then denying them accreditation would have been a much cleaner (and cheaper) way to try to accomplish the goal than pissing taxpayer money down the toilet.

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Jackie Chiles April 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I think the state wouldn’t start accepting anyone with a pulse who can qualify for a federally backed student loan because, by and large, state schools’ goal in education is not to profit off students. Such is not the case for Infinilaw. Shareholders have to be kept happy- just reduce standards and let more people in. Also, as noted earlier, the state’s goal is not to profit off the students. Therefore, tuition and debt levels would be dramatically lower as they are at USC school of law. Again, for Infinilaw, there are shareholders to keep happy so just jack up tuition and open the floodgates. Let the stupid taxpayers figure out what to do when default rates skyrocket.

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CL April 30, 2014 at 5:44 pm

CSOL is constrained by facilities, no matter who owns it. So they cannot just take everyone who applies or they would be doing that now. The founders were always about cashing in on those who could not get into Carolina, and it has not exactly a distinguished group that has been matriculating there for the past decade.

And if you think the state taking over would cause them to drastically reduce admissions or slashing tuition after the state just spend a ton to acquire the school, you are kidding yourself. The school reputation may marginally improve from a state takeover, which may somewhat improve the applicant pool. But the number of grads entering the market place is not going to change much.

Jackie Chiles May 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

Constrained by facilities? What does that even mean? Last I checked, we still live in a world where you can buy and sell real estate. You’re telling me there’s no property in downtown Charleston that could be converted into a few classrooms? (Remember, you need literally nothing more than a chalkboard and chair and internet access to teach law.) If they increase the school size by 200 per year, they’re adding about $7.5 million per year in revenue. If they increase it by 400, it’s $15 million per year. I’m sure infinilaw can do math.

Also, why are you looking at what CSOL has currently done as an example of what an Infinilaw run school will do. Take a look at the other Infinilaw owned law school in the area-Charlotte School of Law. It’s got 1500 students. In the July 2013 NC bar, only 1254 people even took the bar. That means that Charlotte School of Law is graduating a class that’s roughly 40% of the total bar takers in North Carolina- and there are 7 law schools in the state. I wouldn’t look at what CSOL is currently doing as a guide for what will happen when Infinilaw takes over.

Infinilaw makes its money by duping people without the credentials to get into a better school into thinking they’ll graduate with a good shot at earning enough to punch their ticket to middle class America. Nothing could be further from the truth.

CL May 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm

It means they have a building, and it can accommodate x number of students. Last I checked, real estate in downtown Charleston is sort of expensive to acquire and to upfit. You fail to leave that part of the equation out of your fairy tale math lesson.

Again, if it was as simple as you claim, the founders would have done it already. They founded the school to make money. Maybe InfiLaw would move the school out of downtown or create a satellite location, but you have cited nothing but your own speculation for that possibility.

I know April 30, 2014 at 5:03 pm

“How exactly would a state takeover work? The school is owned by shareholders.”

You can look at the Feds handling of GM’s non bankruptcy to see the model…

You are assuming that the law matters to those in power.

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CL April 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm

The power trumps all argument doesn’t really work here. CSOL’s founders are very well connected in political and legal circles. If anyone is getting screwed, I will bet they end up on the giving end rather than the receiving end.

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ELCID April 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm

State Bar should not issue approval.

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Native Ink April 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Come on. The bar to be licensed as a school of “higher learning” in South Carolina is laughably low. I’m not in favor of selling the law school, mainly because I think the founders should be forced to pay full market value for the dirt-cheap real estate deals and other incentives the city gave them. But if diploma mills like ITT and Virginia College can be licensed, there’s no way not to license Infilaw.

BTW, on a related issue. The next mayor of Charleston needs to get things in writing instead of relying on gentlemen’s agreements like Mayor Riley. We have a bunch of greedy, selfish tools in Charleston who don’t care about such agreements. Welcome to the new Charleston. There is a neighborhood near me which is comprised of McMansions built on the site of a demolished public housing project. Riley made sure the Beach Company got the land but also made a verbal agreement that the waterfront park area would always be public. Do you think the homeowners care about a gentlemen’s agreement? They are saying the park is theirs and blocking public access because the agreement was not on paper.

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I have a bridge for sale ... April 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

The rich bastards are right. A verbal agreement re the use of land? WORTHLESS.

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Native Ink April 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm

That’s why the next mayor can’t reply on 19th Century codes of honor. And that is why he never should have coddled CSOL with freebies without tying them up with legal stipulations.

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chuckunderground May 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Well, Riley and the Beach Company do constitute the Charleston Catholic Maffia…

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Jackie Chiles April 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Just have the SC Supreme Court say if you graduate from CSOL, you can’t sit for the SC bar. Problem solved.

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CL April 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

It would be solved until the inevitable antitrust lawsuit is filed.

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Jackie Chiles April 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm

(Guy who has no concept of anti-trust laws)

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Yeh Right April 30, 2014 at 5:31 pm

You’re right about the anti trust argument ;however,the SC rules now require that one who sits for the Bar exam must graduate from an ABA accredited school,which CSOL is.So I guess the rule would have to be changed to read …must be a graduate of an ABA accredited school ,except for CSOL?

That’s not going to happen.

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CL April 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I think a decent lawyer could make an antitrust claim stick under Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, which has language indicating Parker immunity might not apply to state actions that were not essential to “the State’s power to protect the public.” Hard to argue that singling out one mediocre law school while allowing applicants from any other accredited diploma mill in any other state to sit for the bar.

Even if you are not impressed with that claim, there would be serious equal protection problems with your rule. It also treads perilously close to a bill of attainder, although it is not clear whether a court rule, versus a statute, would constitute a bill of attainder.

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Ha! April 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Can’t say I’m unhappy to see the market for lawyers flooded beyond its current levels.

That’s what they get for mostly be statist champions. Now that fascism is kicking them in the rear they want a ‘do over’. lol…funny shit

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Order_of_the_Coitus April 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Law school is a scam!!!!! DO NOT go unless $200,000+ in non-dischargeable student loan debt, no job, and living in your parents’ basement is your idea of fun. It’s a scam set up to make law administrators and professors wealthy off your federal government loans.

Check this out before even thinking about applying to law school:
http://lawlemmings.tumblr.com/

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Deal with It April 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm

The school is truly the butt of so many jokes that what fledgling credibility that it attained is forever lost.

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