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Charlotte Law School closes


The law school reform movement recorded another small but significant victory today, with the sudden closing of the Charlotte School of Law, just days before the fall semester was scheduled to begin. CSL was one of the three ABA-sanctioned institutions run by Infilaw, a particularly scammy for-profit outfit which I profiled three years ago, in a piece that modesty forbids me from pointing out described exactly how this particular higher ed bust out scheme was being run, and where it was going to end up.

The good news for the school’s marks victims students is that those of them who remained enrolled to the bitter end, or who withdrew within the last 120 days, will now have their federal educational loans automatically discharged if they don’t transfer to another law school.

One student who transferred to another law school wrote to Above the Law:

Charlotte School of Law has never cared about its students, but the money they brought in. I’m sure their students will learn of its closure through the media. If students get an email, it will probably be later this afternoon.

On a personal note, I have no sympathy for the faculty of Charlotte School of Law. They brought this upon themselves and should be reminded of it. They were all well aware of the school’s problems and were complicit in its downfall with poor curriculum, grading curves, and being fine with accepting and then failing out unqualified students. Charlotte School of Law professors only cared about their jobs and positions, not the welfare of students. I do not wish terrible things on their families, but for all the faculty and staff at Charlotte School of Law, I wish the same fate the students will suffer upon them. I hope they encounter hard choices between a rock and a hard place, massive debt, and extremely poor job prospects as a consequence from coming out of that school.

This means that, after many decades over the course of which dozens of new ABA law schools were approved while none were ever shut down, four ABA law schools have gone out of business in just the last two years: Hamline,* Indiana Tech, Whittier, and now Charlotte (this represents 2% of all ABA schools). It remains to be seen if we are nearing some sort of tipping point, which will cause other university administrators who have been subsidizing money-losing law schools with bad reputations — several dozen ABA schools currently fit this description — to decide that they have been throwing good money after bad.

*Hamline University’s law school technically merged with William Mitchell, a free-standing law school, but since the new school is the same size as William Mitchell was prior to the merger, this in effect allowed Hamline to close its law school while minimizing reputational damage to the university as a whole.

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  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    At least they can’t shut down the Disqus comments on your own site, amirite?


    • Paul Campos


      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        I am well known for my sense of humor.

  • NewishLawyer

    Since I’m a cynic only Hamilne and Whiitier feel substantial here because they at least had some local reputation before the crash. They were never high reputation but they did produce real lawyers with significant and successful careers.

    Paul, What would you consider to be news of a significant shut down? Cardozo? USF? USC? George Washington? American?

    • Unree

      Hamline hid what it did successfully enough and I agree about Charlotte and Indiana Tech, which leaves Whittier. Real university, fully accredited for years. If any of the other universities you name were to close its law school that would be significant IMO, but the death of Whittier got there first.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        Needz a ‘deadpool’, just saying.

    • Paul Campos

      GW or USC would be gigantic (Not gonna happen. They have significant endowments and enormous amounts of fat they could cut if they had to). The other three would all be very significant though: old schools with lots of alums and at least semi-decent reputations. If a school like that closes, look out below.

      • NewishLawyer

        I can tell you that alum from my law school (USF) especially recent ones a hoping mad about the drop in passage rate.

        I honestly can’t tell what is going on. My grades in undergrad were all over the map and my LSAT score was not that great (but not horrible, I was firmly average). I did better in grad and law school than undergrad but still had a handful of C plusses in law school (mainly in 1L with one C plus in Remedies my last year). But I still passed the CA and NY bars on the first go.

        The law school students I meet who are having trouble still come from decent to great undergrads.

    • Bloix

      GW’s 1st-time bar pass rate is over 80% and as of April 2017, over 70% of 2016 grads had full-time long-term JD-required employment. Why would it consider shutting down?

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      Obligatory mention that my dear alma mater cut its class size by a shade over 50% in recent years (it is growing back, though) and has increased the median tuition discount from $8,000 to $27,000. They are almost certainly losing gargantuan sums of money.

  • tnapoles

    Trivial point I guess but I think this makes Charlotte the largest city in the US that doesn’t have a Law school. No Med school there either which seems more important.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      North Carolina will have to get by with the mere six other law schools that are within its borders.

    • MarciKiser

      Charlotte pulls residents heavily from Duke and Chapel Hill as I recall… and yeah, I guess I wouldn’t bother starting a med school either if that’s who was down the block.

      • Swan Box

        Three hours from Duke/Chapel Hill, and it’s the biggest city in the state. Plus, 1 1/2 south is University of South Carolina in Columbia. I was in Charlotte for a year, and it often felt like the biggest city in South Carolina, that just happened to be on slightly the wrong side of the state line.

  • twbb

    I am pleasantly surprised; I thought DeVos’ decision to give them back federal loans would have saved them, but I guess too little too late.

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