Friday, March 20, 2015

Grab Some Popcorn: Appalachian School of Law is Apparently On the Ropes

Fourth Tier Desperation: On March 16, 2015, Bristol, VA NBC affiliate WCYB featured a news story – from reporter Samantha Kozsey – headlined “The Appalachian School of Law Looks Ahead.” Take a look at this opening:

“Fewer and fewer people are attending law school. That nationwide shift means schools are competing for students as they try to balance their budgets. In 2004, there were 100,600 people nationwide who applied to law school. In 2013, there were just 59,400. 

This is especially evident at small ‘fourth tier’ schools. In fact, many have had to align themselves with larger institutions just to survive. 

We were contacted about the status of the Appalachian School of Law by people concerned about its future. News 5 WCYB’s Samantha Kozsey visited the school and spoke to one of its board of trustees, as well as alumni, faculty and former faculty as well as legal consultants about the future of law schools specifically ASL. Just about everyone we spoke to said, this is a tough time especially for the few remaining ‘free-standing’ private law schools. 

The Appalachian School of Law sits in an unlikely spot, in downtown Grundy, Va. The school opened its doors in 1994, with the first graduating class in 1997. 

This is what we found: At the height of enrollment, there were approximately 150 students in a graduating class at ASL. 

Most law schools were popping at the seams with lawyers up until about 2011, but the recession hit and the market couldn’t support the over-abundance of lawyers nationwide. Many lawyers struggled to get jobs from that point on. 

Since then, law schools nationwide have seen fewer people choosing that profession. Just look at the numbers at ASL: 

When the school opened there were 71 students. Compare that to the incoming class for 2014 which was approximately 45, that’s a 37% drop. Some estimate that number will drop even more for this coming Fall. 

Even the faculty numbers have dropped from 14 full-time professors in the Spring of 2014 to eight in the fall to seven this semester, that’s down 50%.” [Emphasis mine]

This festering garbage heap has seen better days. When there are fewer young people to rob, there will be less academic thieves feeding at the trough. Seeing that “law professors” love to proclaim that all lawyers suck at math, I will point out to them that it’s a bad sign when you have a much smaller first year class than when your commode opened it doors.

Later on, the author continued:

“Amber Floyd Lee, ASL Alumni Board of Directors, said, "The school is tuition driven. It depends on tuition of students and if students aren't there, it doesn't have the financial resources to keep it going and a bigger issue right now is they don't have the professors to keep going."

Amber Lee says the Alumni Association is looking at all options including legal action against the board the trustees. 

The big concern? Is there enough money coming in to keep the school going?" [Emphasis mine]

Yes, this law school/diploma mill is CLEARLY in great financial shape, right?!?!  Notice how the officials are not interested in their students' job prospects or massive debt load.

Prior Coverage: Back on February 8, 2015, the Daily Progress republished a Roanoke Times piece from Luanne Rife. That article was entitled “Virginia’s law schools address declining enrollment. Check out this portion, near the end of the report:

“At Appalachian School of Law “our school is only 17 years old. The alumni isn’t of the age yet for endowments. We do have private donors who are very good to us,” said Donna Weaver, director of institutional development. For the most part the school is tuition driven. 

Because of the downturn of applications, the board of trustees lowered the number of faculty. We cut to the bare bone,” she said. 

The school is considering an alliance with Emory & Henry. “It would connect us to a college in Virginia that could be a good feeder school,” she said. 

Appalachian also hired a market research firm to help develop a strategic plan. With it, the school could possibly access funding through a federal tax credit program. The plan is also to identify geographic areas from which to recruit students. 

For example, Weaver said the school has a strong natural resource program that would appeal to students wanting to pursue environmental and land-use law. 

She said the school appeals to students wanting a nontraditional setting and a close faculty relationship and who want to be lawyers.” [Emphasis mine]

At least, Weaver admits that after 17 years in existence, the alumni does not have the deep pockets or pull to provide endowment money for the law school. It’s odd that so many idiots continue sign up to attend brand new ABA-accredited toilets. Hell, those schools don’t even have the network necessary to absorb or hire recent grads.

By the way, it’s pathetic how this supposed “institution of higher education” is trying to access funding through a federal tax credit program. Then again, academic parasites and leeches don’t have any principles – or any shame. They would swim through a river of excrement, in order to grab a few bucks.

Conclusion: According to the WCYB story, the pigs are in discussions regarding affiliating with something called the Emory & Henry College. Seeing that this is a tiny-ass, liberal arts dump, how much money will they be able to spend in order to keep Fourth Tier Trash Pit Appalachian Sewer of Law afloat?!


  1. Amber Lee States that the Appalachian School of Law Alumni Association is contemplating legal action against the Board of Trustees? This woman, with a name curiously like ageing porn star extraordinaire Amber Lynn, is contemplating legal action on what basis? For providing a fraudulent legal education like every other non T-7 school in the country? For rationally shutting down a program that is losing scads of money? Sounds like Amber learned a great deal about winning causes of action in her putative legal education.

    1. I wouldn't even pay to attend a T-7, honestly. If you don't have the connections, it's still going to be miserable.

      I was recently looking at B-school. I actually put in the research this time after the law school scam, and found recent grads of T-3 B-Schools. Apparently the unconnected MBAs don't have great prospects either.

      It looks like if you're unconnected, you're gambling big time. Sure some make it, but if you can get honest answers from enough people it looks reaaaaally bad. Most people are so ashamed they won't let on how bad they're doing, only close family know by necessity.

      I am beginning to really wonder just how deep this rabbit hole goes. I certainly don't believe there is any real or fair opportunity in the US anymore. Why would the US function any differently than every other nation throughout the history of the world? The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, that's the way of the world. Wasting some more time and putting yourself into debt isn't going to change that, it just winds up making you older and poorer.

    2. These sort of comments are entirely uncalled for. If you knew anything about this situation, you would know exactly why Ms. Lee made those comments, as well as the very real and justifiable basis for possibly suing the school, which is related to breach of fiduciary duty for not accepting a rival offer to save the school and relocate it to Tennessee. These schools are essentially corporate businesses, and when any business is struggling or in danger of failing, there is financial accountability for taking inappropriate actions. I encourage you to educate yourself about this situation and perhaps even to speak with Ms. Lee directly, without the porn jabs or course.

  2. Average LSAT score is 144. These people only care about perpetuating the full-time faculty with their genteel lifestyles. If they were not so greedy and lowered quality standards, maybe this mess could have been avoided.

  3. Thank you so much, Nando. This is excellent news!

    Word is getting out, in spite of the disruptive attacks on this blog. Every young person who decides to forget about Appalachian or any other scam school is literally saving a life--their own. And if this school closes down soon, an "attractive nuisance" will have been removed forever.

    1. Disruptive attacks?

      Oh - you must mean the poems, YouTube links, banjo songs, and constant screeches about ray-cism, right?

      THOSE disruptive attacks?

    2. Old Guy: I know Andrew Call well, and you should know that he holds two or three advanced degrees in law now (LL.M.'s), is a licensed attorney in Wisconsin, edits the Northwestern Law Journal, sits on two or three museum and educational boards in Chicago, and is pursuing law licenses in other states. He's certainly no slouch, and I wouldn't poo-poo his accomplishments in any way. I could also name at least a dozen more ASL graduates with successful firms in cities like Miami, Charleston, Charlotte, and Atlanta. I myself have a growing firm in Pennsylvania and am licensed to practice in several states. Now, I'm not defending the school as such; there are a lot of issues I am disturbed by as well. But painting ASL graduates themselves as a bunch of incompetent fools is unkind at best, and certainly not indicative of the big picture. Even I have an open invitation to work at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office if I care to take the CA bar, and I wasn't valedictorian or anything.

  4. They should network to get students. Why are they so bad at networking?

    1. +1,000! Hahahahaha! You win the internet for the day!

    2. This should be plastered across the office entranceway of every ttt dean. Put it in the career services dept too for extra irony.

      Beautiful comment.

  5. Appalachian also hired a market research firm to help develop a strategic plan.

    I suggest that the school rebrand itself in a manner that both exploits the prestige of better-ranked schools while still being honest about the employment prospects of graduating from this Z-grade institution. Examples include:

    1. The Retardvard School of Law
    2. The Fail School of Law
    3. University of Misery School of Law
    4. Puke University School of Law
    5. Cornhole Law School
    6. Scamford Law School

  6. The most telling thing in that article was the fact that they did not mention, not even one time, that it was unfortunate or regrettable that their clients (students) got an unimaginably poor result. Pure trash.

    1. Yeah, the lack of discussion of the terrible outcomes for graduates was a glaring omission.

      The other omission of the article was the obvious conclusion that, from a public benefit standpoint, this place serves no good purpose and should be shut down as soon as possible.

  7. Yeah, well they had a roughly 20 year run. Some businesses do well to make it that long, and then they pack it up and move on to a different venture. Follow the market.

    With all the versatility a JD offers, surely these Deans and Profs can reinvent themselves with no problem...

    1. They could easily convert their campus into a barber and beauty school. They'd probably make as much money, and actually churn out people capable of doing something valuable to society.

  8. Here's something that I published at Inside the Law School Scam a couple of years ago. —Old Guy

    My analysis follows the double line.


    ASL graduates are prepared to pursue advanced law degrees at graduate and professional schools. Some of our alumni have continued their studies at institutions such as:

    Tulane University School of Law
    The University of Missouri
    The John Marshall Law School, Chicago

    We have a growing network of alumni who are making a difference in communities across the country through their law practice. They include:

    Amy Lawrence '08 and Justin Lovely '09, founders of The Lovely Law Firm, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; concentrates in criminal, personal injury, and civil litigation law
    Andrew Call '07, practices law in Chicago, continuing a 176-year family legacy; submitted numerous articles for publication in law journals
    Michael Orlando '06, Associate Attorney, Gilroy Law Firm, Tigard, Ore.; primarily focused on defending workers' compensation claims for self-insured employers
    Yasmeen Gumbs '04, Associate Attorney, mid-size law firm, Manhattan, N.Y.; concentrates in Automobile & Transportation and Insurance, defending no-fault insurance and property damage cases
    M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen '03, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Wise County, Va.; prosecutes cases in all courts with a primary emphasis on Narcotics Task Force cases; supervises cases handled in General District Court
    Kimothy Sparks '04, Director of Risk Management, Patient Safety, and Customer Service, Lovelace Health System, Albuquerque, N.M.


    No graduate is reported as doing advanced study at any university of note. The ones being showcased for their professional achievements are:

    1) A couple of people who started a little two-person firm.

    2) Someone who has *ended* his family's 176-year history in the legal profession by *ceasing* to practice while "seeking employment with federal courts as a term judicial clerk" ( This worthy has "submitted numerous articles for publication in law journals" but appears (I did a quick search) not to have been published anywhere.

    3) Two people in smallish law firms.

    4) One deputy state attorney.

    5) One administrator whose job seems to have little to do with the law and may well not have required a JD.

    Keep in mind that a law school won't showcase its *least* successful graduates. This contemptible toilet of a law school is presumably highlighting its *best* outcomes. And one of them requires birth to a line of lawyers extending back to the Jackson administration.

    Why the HELL should anyone even consider this godawful dump? Why is it even accredited?

    1. And those are their success stories! Sad.

    2. Why do people even enroll at this school? If those are the best outcomes, what could the other esteemed graduates be doing?

    3. I think this is the saddest thing I've ever read.

  9. With better, more pre┼┐tigious, law schools desperate to put asses in seats, places like Appalachian no longer serve any sort of purpose. The lawyer bubble has long since popped, so there's no need to have a place like this as even a back up to a back up school.

    A culling of the law school herd is long overdue, and this place should be put out of its misery.

    1. It's like willingly selling yourself into life slavery for 3 years of living expenses.

      If the federal government wasn't as usual socializing all the losses and guaranteeing privatized gigantic profits to its preferred classes, the money would never be there for these insane tuition rates for these outcomes. No creditor would lend to these students. And especially not at 8% interest which at those amounts is even more likely to lead to default than at a lower rate, ironically enough.

  10. Speaking of schools wanting more blood money, I came across this article about higher 'eds' support of the Dream Act, which would allow more warm bodies, in the form of illegal immigrants, to borrow federal student loans! The higher ed scam has surpassed garden variety loan schemes to treason!

    1. That demonstrates the astonishing cynicism and depravity of the higher education pimps. I wonder if some law school's human trafficking clinic could get some of those presidents, deans, and lobbyists put in prison for a good long time.

  11. Nando did it again! Another one is biting the dust.

  12. 45 students for the class of 2014. How many will transfer out?
    In 2013 they had an attrition rate of 17pct in 1L and 5pct in 2L. So approximately 35 fools in 3L will graduate in 2017 if they don't close the school earlier.

    1. I don't think many can transfer out. This school has some weird alternative grading system to stop transfers out. They long ago dealt with people wanting to get out.

  13. “Amber Floyd Lee, ASL Alumni Board of Directors, said, "The school is tuition driven. It depends on tuition of students and if students aren't there, it doesn't have the financial resources to keep it going and a bigger issue right now is they don't have the professors to keep going."


    1. Hey wait..

      I thought being an educator was doing "public service / public good"?

      Doesn't anyone want to step up and volunteer their time and knowledge to carry on the proud legacy of learning at A.??

      (crickets chirping)

      Yeah.. I thought not.. Hypocritical ASSHOLES.

  14. The tuition at this place is ginormous. From the Wikipedia entry:


    The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at ASL for the 2014-2015 academic year is $41,950.[27] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $192,424.[28]

    As said above, the outcomes from this place in no way justify this. This place needs to close in the best interests of current and future potential students.

    This is an outright cash-grab at the expense of people's lives and futures. Period.

    1. I cannot even fathom being in debt for nearly $200k for any law degree. Anyone in their right mind has to realize what this is going to do to him or her.
      I believe law schools must provide a disclosure statement outlining the costs, interest and projected debt before anyone enrolls. There are certain automobiles, usually sports cars, where you are told in advance the cost of tires, brakes, etc. so you don't come back and cry later that a set of rubber doughnuts are over two grand and an oil change is five hundred dollars.


    Does it seem as though the fourth tier trash pit is in sound financial shape to you? Look at this portion:

    “Amber Floyd Lee, ASL Alumni Board of Directors, said, "The school is tuition driven. It depends on tuition of students and if students aren't there, it doesn't have the financial resources to keep it going and a bigger issue right now is they don't have the professors to keep going."

    Amber Lee says the Alumni Association is looking at all options including legal action against the board the trustees.

    The big concern? Is there enough money coming in to keep the school going?

    So we looked at the numbers and as McGlothin indicated the school reports on the IRS-990 that it does have assets.

    According to the IRS, we found ASL reported in 2013 about $29 million in total assets, nearly half includes land and the buildings. Revenue has dropped from $9 million in 2010 to $6.9 million in 2013.

    When asked about the schools financial situation, McGlothlin said,"We continue to raise money, we still have financial contributors and supporters and we have our tuition so we are in sound financial shape right now."

    In an effort to get students in the doors (which is basically tuition), ASL has joined a growing number of law schools that are lowering their requirements. This means bringing in students who may not otherwise get into law school. For example, the average score on the law school entrance exam (the LSAT) is 150, for ASL in 2013, the average score for entering students was 144, that's the lowest it has been since the doors opened at the school.

    In July 2014, the percentage of people who passed the bar in Virginia was 68% compared to 42% of ASL students that was the lowest rate for any law school located in the Commonwealth[.]”

    In the end, revenue at this dump is tuition-based. Fewer asses in seats directly results in less money for the pigs. Furthermore, the alumni of this dung heap are not wealthy – or aged - enough to give decent money to the commode’s endowment. Hell, in the Daily Progress article cited in the main entry, Donna Weaver, director of institutional development, stated that fact.

    Of course, the cockroaches are looking to team up with an established college or university. However, they are getting desperate. Otherwise, why are their options seemingly limited to some tiny liberal arts haven? In the past, such toilets would have been able to easily approach state agencies for money. However, many states are cash-strapped and are less willing to piss away large amounts of dough – in order to prop up garbage schools. Good luck landing one of those Biglaw positions that have been earmarked for “legal scholars,” rodent.

  16. The actions taken by the law schools over the decline in enrollment is all the proof one needs. It was never about the students or "public service" or education in the first place.

    It's all about the money.

    In the past, it was easy for the schools to pull their shenanigans with the employment numbers, etc. No Internet. No way to dispute the general perception about law being a profession full of winners.

    If 1 or 2 people managed to get something out about their bad outcomes, they were easily dismissed and ignored. Of course, now we know it's a very large percentage of each class that falls into the non-Winner category.

    And the schools and their supporters could always claim that a person "didn't work hard enough", etc. when we also all know that only 10% of the class will be in the top 10% and that 90% will not ever be.

    The schools pointed to a few winners each year, raising tuition as they went along, and everything was fine.

    Then came the Internet.

    Now we can all see that this lowering of standards, as Nando rightly predicted years ago, is in fact one of their responses. If they valued education and "public service" (cough!) then this would be a last, desperate measure. Instead, it's among the first.

    No. It was only and ever about the precious money. When a student graduated, that was that. Likewise, what do the schools care about these 140 LSAT people? The end result to them is the same: They are paid in full up front. That's the only thing that ever mattered to them despite anything they say to the contrary.

  17. If the school closes, I am sure the law professors will have many exciting opportunities for meaningful careers. The big law firms are probably just waiting to pounce and hire them all. There are just so many things that you can do with a law degree. They may end up as Senators or the President of the United States. Any business would love to have someone with obscure legal knowledge, that can handle a rigorous teaching load of 2-4 hours a week. They may even be hired to be the CEO of GE.

    Even if they are not able to find a great job in a decade or two, you really cannot measure the value of their law degrees over that time. You have to look at the value over their whole lifetime. You will only know the true value of their law degrees, until, after they are dead.

    I do not know why these professors are worried and insist on lifetime job protection. They have such valuable, universal skills. They are like the ace pitchers of the human capital market. None of their students get tenure, law professors are selling themselves short. They could certainly be a CEO, President, or a partner at a big law firm.

    1. Actually, many of the professors at ASL are top-notch instructors with many years practice experience and attractive options should they leave ASL. In fact, the professors are probably the group most upset about recent developments at the school, and about half have left already in protest. One just accepted a position at UC Berkeley, two more are going to Harvard, and another just announced she is accepting a position teaching at a Harvard-backed law school project in Qatar. I have heard rumors of another going over to Vanderbilt. So, your sarcasm aside, this situation is a bit different than you might believe, and the professors are not to blame or demean. It's all the administration and nepotism of a minority of board members in my opinion.

    2. Really? Can you provide names? I find this really hard to believe.

  18. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

  19. Higher ed is all about the money. There's no legit reason to charge someone $40k a year for sitting in class. You think it really costs State U (or private schools) that much for you to take astronomy classes? GTFO.

    1. AND, in Law school, 80% of the learning is done by reading the friggin' textbook...


    From the “Quick Facts” page for Emory & Henry College:


    Emory & Henry College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Baccalaureate and Master's degrees.


    Emory & Henry enrolls 1,012 undergraduate students and 26 students in the College's graduate programs. 79.7% percent of our undergraduate students live on campus. While campus housing is available for graduate students at the Emory campus, most graduate students choose to live off-campus. The current first-year class size is 299.”

    Why the hell would FOURTH TIER TRASH CAN Appalachian Sewer of Law want to partner with such a tiny college?!?! The following info may provide some insight.

    “Alumni Support

    Emory & Henry is ranked among the top 5 percent of all the nation's more than 3,800 colleges and universities in the percentage of alumni contributing annually.”

    Here is the 2013 Form 990 for Emory & Henry College. Page 1, lines 20-22, contains the following data: total end of year assets of $186,521,243 countered by $35,596,896 in end of year total liabilities. As of June 30, 2013, this school had a total endowment of $150,924,347.

    While this is not a huge sum – in comparison to many other U.S. college$ and univer$itie$ - this is a formidable sum from such a small school. If Emory & Henry College is financially managed this well, perhaps the admini$trator$ and board of tru$tee$ will be smart enough to pass on this TTTT deal.

  21. Going to ASL should not only serve to forever exclude one from the practice of law for being too stupid but should also create a presumption that one should be a ward of the state with a guardian. Looking at the tuition, bar passage rates and job prospects it is clear that attendees can't perform basic math/problem solving to see that this place is a trap. I'll bet if we could get the stats that ASL students buy more lottery tickets than the population at large. But then again the chances of winning powerball are probably better than success as an attorney from this hole.

    1. Yes, as an ASL graduate, I buy many lottery tickets each week. I also visit the racetrack regularly and work with a bookie named "Slice". I have also won the power-ball 6 times now. But none of that has kept me from getting licensed in 5 different jurisdictions and paying back $20,000 in student loans every year, so, yeah... Can I get that guardian now? ;)

  22. Wasn't there a shooting at this school years ago? How'd it get full accreditation after that?

    1. You know that time honored rule about colleges awarding As to students who lived with a roommate who committed suicide? Well the ABA has an equivalent rule. If a student shoots and kills a couple of students and a professor, the institution that bore witness to such tragedy gets automatic ABA accreditation. Makes you think whether the school foresaw the tragedy when they admitted the mentally unhinged murderer.

  23. This school should have never received ABA approval after they admitted a mentally unstable Nigerian student who flunked out and then murdered a couple of students and a professor last decade.

    This school admits dummies who shouldn't be allowed near a courtroom unless he/she is part of a chain gang led by DOC.


    Check out this epic thread on JDU. User "massivemissive" started a discussion labeled "This Virginia Law School Had an Entering Class of Only 48 Last Year" - on April 4, 2015 at 10:22 am. Here are my favorite comments so far:

    trollfeeder (Apr 4, 2015 - 11:46 am)

    This place is such utter hot garbage, even infilaw doesn't want it.

    tsmonk (Apr 4, 2015 - 12:01 pm)

    The inside higher ed article goes further into detail

    Preventing the transfer of students:

    “I continue to receive requests from law schools asking that I translate first-year grades into a standard letter grading system so that potential transfer students can transfer all credits for courses in which they received a C or better in their first year at A.S.L.,” she wrote. “In the event that you receive any such requests, please remember that we cannot assign letter grades to students in the first-year courses, nor can we rank them. To do so would be in violation of our academic standards.”

    Questionable incoming applicants:

    "The head of an alumni group -- who is also a member of the college’s Board of Trustees -- wrote a scathing letter to the rest of the school’s trustees, alleging 47 percent of first-year students were failing at least one class. The letter also claimed the school was so desperate in its hunt for students that it posted an ad on Facebook that said it did not have a minimum LSAT score for admissions."

    Yes, this place is in great shape, right?!?! My guess is that the average IQ for current enrolled students at Appalachian Sewer of Law is about 90. Perhaps, I am being too generous.


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