SC

State Must Stop Charleston Law School Meddling

TAXPAYERS PLACED IN PRECARIOUS POSITION … By FITSNEWS || Looking for proof of the danger – and potential cost to taxpayers – of government meddling in private sector transactions? Last weekend, the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar deferred action…

TAXPAYERS PLACED IN PRECARIOUS POSITION …

By FITSNEWS || Looking for proof of the danger – and potential cost to taxpayers – of government meddling in private sector transactions?

Last weekend, the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar deferred action on the Charleston School of Law (CSOL)’s proposed sale to Infilaw.

According to Karen Sloan of the National Law Journal, the ABA wants to wait until the state of South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education (CHE) reaches a decision on whether to grant Infilaw a license to operate the school.

CHE staff have already recommended granting this license, while another ABA panel ruled last month in favor of the proposed sale from an accreditation standpoint. Nonetheless, the CHE’s political appointees have declined to take action on the proposal – ostensibly under pressure from state lawmakers who want to expand the state’s already bloated system of higher education.

Just last week liberal columnist Cindi Ross Scoppe of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper opined “a lot of people would love to see (CSOL) rescued by the state.”

Really?

South Carolina already operates an excessively large, exceedingly inefficient system of higher education – one that continues to drain taxpayers of resources that could be used to fund core functions of government (cops, courts, roads, bridges, etc.).

Taking on a second law school would only exacerbate the waste and duplication in the state’s existing higher education system.

Also the College of Charleston – which many lawmakers wanted to absorb CSOL – is not interested in assuming the financial burden associated with operating the institution, according to its president Glenn McConnell.

“The University of Charleston South Carolina doesn’t have anything to do with the law school,” McConnell told Scoppe. “The only way it’s gonna happen is if the Legislature forces it on us — and gives us the money. It’s not something we want. The Board of Trustees doesn’t want it. Their president doesn’t want it. It doesn’t make sense.”

He’s right … nor does it make sense for taxpayers to subsidize the school independent of the College of Charleston.

“As we have noted since we announced our intention to purchase the Charleston School of Law, InfiLaw is the only organization with a source of capital and capacity to tackle the financial challenges facing the school and is prepared to do so upon approval of the regulatory bodies and completion of the sale,” a statement from Infilaw provided to the National Law Journal read. “No other viable option has been presented which has both the financial capacity and the experience in owning and operating a successful law school.”

That’s true.

Charleston lawyer Ed Westbrook, who retains a minority interest in the school, claims he could run it as a non-profit – but has presented no viable plan to do so and has put no money forward in support of his stated intentions.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: State government has no business blocking this sale, period. A majority of CSOL’s owners have decided to sell the school to InfiLaw – and they should be allowed to do so.

***

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33 comments

Ed December 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

Please God just let is shut down permanently. That is what we would be best for all involved.

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The Colonel December 9, 2014 at 9:25 am

I don’t suppose letting the place close has been considered. We have way all together more lawyers than we actually need right now. http://www.insidecounsel.com/2014/07/29/lawyer-glut-means-law-schools-need-to-prepare-stud

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TyroneMamaCollards December 9, 2014 at 10:07 am

Really? I am seeing about 9587 lawyers active in SC, where we have a population of about 4.7 million.

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The Colonel December 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

That’s about 20 per 10,000 residents – right at the national average. Do you really see a need for more than that?

A secondary issue – what makes you think that all those “legal scholars” going to ChasLaw will stay in our fair state?

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tomstickler December 9, 2014 at 10:17 am

The job market for law school graduates is terrible. For-profit schools like those Infilaw runs survive by charging obscene tuition, loading gullible students with loans they will have a hard time paying back.

Ed is right: let the market work by shutting the school down and selling off the real estate.

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Crooner December 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

I don’t think the School owns any real estate.

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Judicial Watch Is Watching U December 9, 2014 at 11:39 am

Its just a money making racket. That is the whole gist behind this. The schemers want to suck off the government baby bottle for the purpose of lining their own pockets and inflated their greedy egos. They can not stand to be rejected in the least. Typical narcissistic psychopaths. Lawyers involved with advocating for this think they are Gods.

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Jackie Chiles December 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

EXACTLY. Look at Infinlaw’s track record. Floods NC market with dumbass Charlotte Law grads, most of whom will never work as a lawyer. Don’t worry though, we will be on the hook for their student loans when they’re all forgiven in 20 years under the income based repayment plan.

I’m not opposed to IBR or PSLF as they allow people who made poor choices in their youth to live a somewhat normal life while paying back some of their loans, I’m opposed to colleges, particularly for-profit colleges, taking advantage of these programs, receiving hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars, ruining people’s lives, and leaving the taxpayer on the hook.

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jimlewisowb December 9, 2014 at 9:54 am

“….College of Charleston….not interested….according to… Glenn McConnell…”

Bullshit, make that double BULLSHIT

Any Cockroach Son of a Bitch who would pull dead men off the bottom of the ocean floor just where he can cement his legacy can never ever be trusted to utter a honest statement

Fucking Cockroach

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hack December 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

Amen OWB. His comments stink highly of shit. Anytime a politician denies anything you can assume the opposite. It is how they make their living, after all.

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John December 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

Just shut the damn thing down.

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Judicial Watch Is Watching U December 9, 2014 at 11:34 am

I pay taxes in South Carolina and I condemn any tax money being authorized by a God Damn corrupt legislature for this school. They do it, and as sure as the sun rises, those lawmakers approving such could have so many legal problems hurled at them and shoved up their butts, they wont be able to walk right for a decade.

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Jackie Chiles December 9, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Then you should oppose the sale. Infinilaw currently receives over 200 million in taxpayer dollars through student loans that will never be repaid per year.

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No thank you December 9, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Having the state of SC pick up this law school and continue to crank out unemployable law grads won’t make the student loan problem go away.

If that’s what you really care about, you should be espousing higher ed/student loan reform.

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Jackie Chiles December 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I absolutely do advocate student loan reform all the time, but blocking this sale will prevent one of the most notorious abusers of the program from even more abuse. Furthermore, we as the citizens of sc will be stuck with these unemployed law grads like North Carolina is with Charlotte grads.

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Judicial Watch Is Watching U December 9, 2014 at 11:41 am

We need a poll about this losing money pit.

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Free Your Mind December 9, 2014 at 11:52 am

http://www.lawschooltransition.org/

Board is in place. Money is ready to go, should K&C come to their senses or InfiLaw decide its not worth it. We are in a very different place this time before the CHE, with a viable, non-state alternative. No state money is needed or wanted. Educate yourself before you speak/type.

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BS Detector December 9, 2014 at 2:11 pm

How much money has the non-profit raised?

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Free Your Mind December 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm

At least enough to cash out K&C and pay back the $6M the school borrowed to retire the other two founders. The school will be profitable again (or at least self-sustainable), once it isn’t being used as a piggy bank by its owners. Just have to get InfiLaw out of the way.

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BS Detector December 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Why doesn’t the non-profit released financial statements and put the money in escrow to demonstrate to the CHE, taxpaying public, students, alumni, faculty and staff that there is a “viable, non-state alternative?”

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sybilcane December 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Yes please do that

Free Your Mind December 9, 2014 at 3:37 pm

A state solution is NOT in the cards. FITS knows this (as does anyone who’s been paying a modicum of attention), but its not the type of headline that give his readers their fiscal hard-ons. Politically, a state takeover is dead, even if it was an option that was in the least attractive (which it is not). Look at the political power of the Lowcountry, which has been decimated in recent days. Look at the incredible jingoism of USC alums in the legislature. Despite all evidence to the contrary, FITS continues to beat the drum that a state bailout is imminent. Ironically, for all of his saber-rattling over fiscal responsibility, FITS (and his readers) seem hell-bent on ignoring the cost which taxpayers WILL pay if for-profit law schools continue to be allowed to sup at the federal student loan trough. I guess its so he can continue to sell ads, and keep all his readers hand-wringing about doomsday at the state government level. But its just not reality.

Why should all the onus be on the non-profit? Let InfiLaw submit its plans for how it will run the law school, so that taxpayers can decide whether they want to pay for the coming implosion. Oh, wait, that’s what the CHE, BY LAW, is supposed to evaluate! But InfiLaw won’t release any budget information and withdrew all materials from before the CHE.

InfiLaw: don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em. Ditto for state money. Let us succeed or fail on our own merits. That’s TRULY the conservative solution. Why FITS finds it necessary to conjure up boogeymen that prop up InfiLaw’s chances, is beyond me. But calling him a hypocrite would just be redundant.

BS Detector December 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Ok, Ed, you did not answer the question so everyone can assume that this non-profit is a shell that does not have any money. Thank you for answering the question.

I guess when the school shuts down, as predicted by most of the commentators, everyone will see the Wizard of Oz as he really is.

Free Your Mind December 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Actually, I am an alum. And most of us would rather see the school burn to the ground than given over to InfiLaw. I’m not the fiduciary for the non-profit, I don’t have any pull over what they do or don’t release. But I do know that anything, even closing, would be better than InfiLaw.

BS Detector December 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

whatever, ED

Free Your Mind December 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Sigh….you can lead a horse to water…but, once again, most FITS readers live in their own version of reality, so by all means, keep that up!

BS Detector December 9, 2014 at 7:54 pm

you assume that this non-profit has “at least enough to cash out K&C and pay back the $6M the school borrowed to retire the other two founders” when there is absolutely no evidence that this is the case. I guess it is true that “FITS readers live in their own version of reality….”

TheirGooseIsCooked December 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I am definitely NOT a FITS reader, but for this issue. And I hear the financials are forthcoming. I don’t make unfounded statements or assumptions. Time will tell…

Frieda December 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm

So let me see, you would rather the nonprofit rip off the state and students by taking student loan money and producing more lawyers which apparently are not needed. The non profit is just InfiLaw that does not pay taxes. Genius, no wonder Westbrook is pushing it so hard.

Free Your Mind December 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Actually, a non-profit would have to limit students to what was financially feasible, rather than just taking all comers, as InfiLaw does. There is a need for a second law school in this state. The population of SC is growing, and as the baby boomer bulge retires, there will be a need for new lawyers to fill the gap. But whether or not you can understand those facts or choose to accept them as reality, you may need to do some more research on how non-profit and for-profit businesses work, because non-payment of taxes is only one difference. Let me help you out: 1) in this case, local management (non-profit) vs. lack of accountability (InfiLaw); 2) requirement that profits be reinvested back in the business (non-profit) rather than lining the corporation’s pockets (InfiLaw); 3) broad support from all constituencies (non-profit) vs. literally no one but people who they are paying (ahem, including some LAWMAKERS) want them here.

TSIB December 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

“Cindi Ross Scoppe of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper opined “a lot of people would love to see (CSOL) rescued by the state.”

Sure, if by “a lot” you mean “only people who are attending or have graduated from CSOL.”

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Jackie Chiles December 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Lol at fits news logic. The government must get out of the way to allow itself to be scammed out of more student loan money.

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Jackie Chiles December 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Fitsnews logic:

Company receives $200 million per year in government student loan dollars buys another company to further increase its government student loan dollar receipts=triumph of free market!

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