I noted a couple of weeks ago that the Charlotte School of Law, part of the Infilaw trinity of ABA-approved for-profit law schools, had joined the choir invisible of ex-law schools.
Now a former faculty member has filed a $285 million qui tam suit against her erstwhile employer, from which comes this delightful nugget of (alleged) scammery:
According to the complaint, Charlotte’s Dean’s Office called up various select graduates the night before they were scheduled to take the bar exam, and offered them a $5,000 stipend to not take the exam the next day. I was aware that the Infilaw schools were doing this — here’s a 2015 post about Arizona Summit’s similar though more expensive ($10,000 per graduate) scheme — but I had been puzzled by two aspects of the practice.
First, why call up test takers the night before the exam? All the relevant statistics regarding potential bar passage, i.e., law school grades and LSAT scores, had been available to the schools months before their grads sat for the exam. Why wait until almost literally the last minute to try to dissuade those grads who statistically speaking were most likely to fail?
Second, this seemed like a lot of money to be spending to just kick the bar passage problem down the road for six months, when presumably almost all these people would end up taking the exam anyway.
According to the complaint, the answer is contained in the following alleged fact: People who withdraw from sitting for the bar the night before the scheduled administration are counted as second time takers if and when they take it subsequently! This is a critical fact, for two reasons, one fairly minor and the other very major. The minor reason is that, on ABA disclosure forms, a school’s graduates’ bar passage rate includes only first-time takers who either passed or failed. “Constructive” first-time takers who withdrew before actually taking the exam don’t count for this purpose.
But the far more significant reason is that, per the ABA accreditation standards, a school can remain in compliance with bar passage requirements as long as the bar passage rate of its first-time takers is within 15 points of the state average as a whole. Absurdly enough, the passage rate of the school’s own takers is included in the denominator for this purpose, but that is a trivial matter in comparison to the (alleged!) fact that a school can more or less completely whitewash its bar passage rate by simply taking its worst bar passage prospects out of the calculus altogether — if it can get them to withdraw from the exam the night before the test’s administration.
In related news, the U.S. Attorney’s office commenced a criminal investigation of this lovely institution last year, although it’s not known at this time if a DOJ now technically run by the founder of Trump University has been instructed to continue to serve process on a now-dead horse.