Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fifth Tier, For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Closes Its Doors

The News: On August 15, 2017, the New York Times DealBook featured an Elizabeth Olson piece entitled “For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Closes.” Look at this opening:

“Charlotte School of Law, an embattled for-profit law school, has shut down, state officials confirmed — making it the nation’s second accredited law school to close its doors this year. 

Although Charlotte Law did not issue a formal closing notice, its license to operate in North Carolina expired, it had no approved plan to teach students and, as of Tuesday, it no longer had a website. 

The North Carolina attorney general’s office, which has been investigating the law school for several months, confirmed that the school had closed.

“I want to express my disappointment for the students and their families affected by Charlotte School of Law’s failure,” Josh Stein, the attorney general, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The law school had been hanging on by a thread for months in the face of tumbling enrollment after the American Bar Association’s accreditors put it on probation in November. 

The attorney general’s office has been examining whether Charlotte Law’s students had the required information to enroll for the school’s law degree.

The attorney general’s office notified the federal Education Department that Charlotte Law was no longer licensed to operate in the state. Without a license, “Charlotte School of Law is now required to be closed,” Mr. Stein said in his statement. 

Earlier this year, trustees of Whittier College in California announced the closure of Whittier Law School, the first fully accredited law school to succumb to declines in student enrollments and tuition revenue.

Charlotte Law had struggled with those same problems and more. The A.B.A.’s accrediting body had placed the school on probation after finding its disclosures for students fell short of requirements. Not long after, the federal Education Department cited the school for “substantial misrepresentations” to students about its compliance with accreditation standards.” [Emphasis mine]

Paul Campos did more to bring the law school scam to light than anyone else. He deserves some recognition for his efforts. Frankly, I don’t rejoice in these closures. However, when the “education” costs a king’s ransom – and the job prospects are weak for the vast majority of graduates – it is indefensible. Also, at least this might provide the affected students with a chance to have their loans forgiven – if they are smart enough not to continue their TTTTT studies somewhere else. Plus, as the “professors” are so fond of saying, they can now go out into private practice and make a ton of money. Of course, they will also need to work more than 4-6 hours per week.

Other Coverage: On August 15, 2017, Inside Higher Ed published an Andrew Kreighbaum article headlined “Report: For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Will Close.” Here is the full text:

“The for-profit Charlotte School of Law will close effective immediately, according toan email from the president of the school’s alumni associated published by local media. 

The report comes days after Charlotte missed multiple deadlines set by state regulators to keep its license to operate in North Carolina. And Monday night, WBTV, which reported the school’s closure, cited multiple sources saying the American Bar Association rejected a teach-out plan from Charlotte.

The law school’s website as of Tuesday morning has also been taken down.

The ABA placed Charlotte on probation last year for failing to admit students likely to succeed in the program and pass the bar exam. The Obama administration in December, citing those failures and substantial misrepresentations to students, cut off the school’s access to Title IV aid, which includes federal student loans. And North Carolina’s attorney general, Josh Stein, has meanwhile pursued his own investigation of the school.

The developments over the last week occurred as Charlotte’s leaders negotiated with the Department of Education over conditions to restore the school’s access to Title IV. Among the conditions set out by the department in recent negotiations was a multimillion-dollar letter of credit. Without that letter, taxpayers would be on the hook for discharge of loans taken out by students to attend the school.” [Emphasis mine]

How hard did private equity firm Sterling Partners, and its shareholders, push to save this joke of law school? They didn’t try to pay off some education officials in that state?

You can also check out Old Guy’s account of this TTTTT closure, on his August 14, 2017 entry on Outside the Law School Scam, “Charlotte School of Law has quietly closed.” It appears that the administrators of the law school did not have the decency to contact the students about their decision. Then again, the pupils are mere student loan conduits. I’m sure they had plenty of time to spend with their lobbyist, when he was working to get the spigot back on for them.

Conclusion: This closure surprised me, especially after the diploma mill was granted access to federal student loan money. I figured these “legal scholars” would come up with a line of credit, in order to stay in operation. Hell, plenty of students desperate for a minimal chance to practice law would have jumped at the chance to enroll in such a place. Don’t forget that this law school charged $44,284 in full-time tuition and fees, for the 2016-2017 academic year. I suppose that those funds came too late for this school and their problems were too numerous. Frankly, most of the students will seek to continue their educaTTTTTion somewhere else.


  1. About damn time. Still, a question haunts my mind: How many of the students abandoned by this fiasco of a school, provided they get their money back, will seek to continue their legal education?

  2. Just bring tuition down to $20-30,000 total for all three years, in line with what is charged for a Masters degree at a state university.

  3. Hopefully, this is a sign for other garbage law schools to shut down. The scam has gone on for too long now. It's certainly not going to restore the lives of thousands of non-lawyer JDs who still struggle to make ends meet while paying down exorbitant student loan balances, but it does bring a sense that there's still some justice left in the world.

    You've been doing the Lord's work, Nando. You definitely deserve a fair amount of credit. Hat's off to you.

  4. It is mind boggling to me that the school has just shut down their website. What arrangements have they made to ensure that students can obtain transcripts and verification of degrees if needed? That InfiLaw would allow tells me that their other two schools should be put into a controlled teach out

    1. That is pretty low down, but it says everything anyone needs to know about today's toilet law schools. Hard to feel sorry for anyone who enrolled in that place, but at least they might have a shot at getting their loans discharged.

    2. Good question. If I'm not mistaken, the state government takes custody of the records of defunct schools. Jilted students could get their transcripts, and graduates could obtain verification of their degrees. But that might take time—more time than someone rushing to apply to another school could afford.

      Yesterday Harlotte's administrators announced that they had taken the Web site down just to avoid allegations that they were operating a school without a license. That seems improbable to me.

  5. I do rejoice at the closure of toilet law schools (and remember that 190 or more law schools are toilets), just as I rejoice when any other racket is shut down.

  6. TL;DR The state finally stepped in when the feds and ABA wouldn't.

    1. Of course. What's the point of having a regulating body when they commit themselves fanatically to NOT doing their jobs, honestly?

    2. It's pretty clear that the ABA exists only to keep law schools open. If they succeed with the proposed employment information changes, the cause of law school transparency will be set back a decade. So while there is cause to celebrate the demise of this TTTT, it's not as if the other scam deans and their ABA minions are sitting around doing nothing to protect the scam. They've just gotten a bit more clever, and will work tirelessly to preserve their high-pay, low-work jobs at the expense of gullible applicants and the taxpayer.
      So if the response to the school's closing is muted, there's good reason for that: there are still dozens and dozens of TTTTs which are still open.

  7. Just out curiosity, why don't you rejoice in these closures? Sure, I don't think being vengeful is appropriate, but this isn't a case of taking pleasure in someone's misfortune just because they hurt you. These law schools are doing real damage, and the only way they will stop ruining lives (while getting rich off of taxpayer dollars) is for them to close. Sure, it would be nice if the law school cartel as a whole repented and tried create a fair system of legal education, but this would likely mean much lower tuition, fewer years of study, and a less theoretical/more practical course of study. If such reforms wouldn't outright force a number of schools to close, it would at least eliminate many, many jobs. The prosperity of the law schools is an allusion, however, propped up by artificially cheap money and deceptive marketing practices. When one of these scam institutions shuts down, it isn't vengeance, it's justice.

    1. Esq. Never,

      I suppose that I don't want to be against the concept of higher education in general. Plus, I’m not sure that this is anything to celebrate anyway. Most of these students will just enroll in another mill. The outrageous sums charged in tuition, to attend these diploma factories, is sickening. The job prospects for the vast majority of law students - each year - do not come anywhere close to matching the price of admission. Yet, misguided college grads will continue to apply.

      The fact remains that your employment options are limited, from day one, if you do not attend one of the national name brand law schools in this country. If you go to an ABA in$titution with the intention of transferring to a better school, then you are admitting that you are aware of this situation.

      Legal employers care a great deal about where applicants earned their degree. I don’t hear about the same thing happening at hospitals, clinics, veterinarian offices, or dental practices. And it seems to be based on the fact that “legal education” doesn’t teach you how to be a lawyer. Medical and dental students get real hands on experience, treating actual patients. As such, it doesn’t much matter where they went to school. In contrast, law school deals with wordplay, legal fictions, constructs.

      Furthermore, the attorney job market is glutted. The ABA has shown that it doesn’t care about the students. People have noted, for some time, that law schools are run for the benefit of the “professors” and administrators.

      In the final analysis, there should be some form of a cutoff score for admission to law school. Yet, many diploma mills continue to admit students with 143 LSAT scores or 2.8 UGPAs with a weak major. As Professor Jerome Organ pointed out in his New York Times opinion piece, from September 24, 2015, “Incoming Law Students Have Weaker Exam Credentials”:

      “[B]eginning in 2011, there also has been acontinuing decline in the median LSAT scores of each entering class of law students.

      This is probably a response to the weakened economy. Starting in 2011, with increased transparency about employment outcomes, it became clear that there were more law graduatesthan there were law jobs. That knowledge appears to have led many prospective law students to reassess whether the investment of time and money in a legal education made sense.

      But for reasons that are hard to document empirically, graduates of elite colleges and universities with strong LSAT scores (who would likely still get good jobs upon graduation) have not been drawn to law school. Meanwhile, graduates of less elite schools, with weaker LSAT scores, have continued to enroll. Thus, law schools not only have enrolled fewer students over the last few years, they have also enrolled students with weaker test credentials.

      And here is the riddle. Lawyers are required to pass the bar in order to practice law. As classes with weaker and weaker credentials graduate in 2016, 2017 and 2018 — and likely experience lower bar passage rates — we may see continued declines in the number of graduates who get jobs as lawyers.”

  8. This school was a boiler room operation and it shutdown the same way a "fly by night" she'll company would (i.e., without notice, website replaced by "404 Error Code," etc.). Those individuals behind this school are true criminal masterminds. This is no different than pulling the HUD/FHA scam that made millions for crooks who gamed the government to access streams of income. I don't feel pity for the 100 dumb students who are left holding a bag of dog turd a week before the semester was supposed to start. Even a regard knows to follow the direction of scurrying rats on a sinking ship.

  9. Wow, Charlotte goes out just like a punk would. Delaying as much as possible and never owning up to anything.

    Hopefully, there will be a better template for winding down these wretched places in the future.


  11. About half the law skools need to shut down. They charge an arm, a leg, and an asshole in tuition. And the job prospects are lousy for most.


    JDU denizen “karlmarx” posted a thread labeled “Charlotte Law School Closes Effective Immediately” - on August 15, 2017 at 11:32 am. Here are some of the best comments from that discussion.

    User “wolfman” supplied this reply on August 15, 2017 at 11:42 am:

    “Bravo! Great news! Hopefully all Infilaw nightmares will follow in short order, to be followed by the majority of the "non-profit" scammers in due course (I realize this is probably too optimistic).”

    Followed by “defectoantesto” – on August 15, 2017 11:56 am:

    “Does this mean students currently enrolled there can now get their federal loans forgiven? What a gift. No blemish on their resume from this, uh, institution of higher learning, and no six figure debt.”

    From user “onehell” , on August 15, 2017 4:17 pm:

    “The sad thing is how the article says these students are "scrambling to transfer."

    According to the DOE, you can get a closed-school discharge of all your loans for the closed school, but NOT if you have succeeded in "transferring academic credits or hours earned at the closed school to another school."

    The LSAT and UGPA of students who transfer in doesn't count against a school for USNWR purposes, so I have little doubt that they can find some bottom-feeding fourth tier that will take them. But given the above, that's the last thing they should want to do.

    These kids have been given a mulligan, but most of them are not going to use it, so strong is the bias against "quitting."

    Someone should stand out in front of that school handing out brochures with information about closed-school discharge, and another graphic about the bimodal salary distribution. This is the chance of a lifetime to completely unwind what would have otherwise been a life-destroying decision. But if they transfer, they lose that opportunity. For the love of all that is holy kids, go do something else. Take this as a sign from God.”

    Courtesy of accountholder “williamdrayton”, posted Aug 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm:

    “very smart advice to take a chance to get a discharge and do something else. it's not like these kids are going to be accepted as transfers at HYS. being accepted at another commode does nothing but pile on more useless debt.”

    No one is going to miss this dump – other than the “professors,” of course. The pigs charged $44,284, for full-time tuition at this school – for 2016-2017. Hopefully, several of their former marks will decide to do something else. We already know that many of them will decide to continue their “education” at another ABA diploma mill, however.

    1. I think you can only get a discharge of federal loans. Maybe someone here knows more than I do, but I thought that the DOE suspended federal loans for spring semester in 2017, so students had to take expensive private loans, arranged by Sterling Partners, the owners of Charlotte. Maybe someone knows more than I do

    2. Valpo may be next. The school raised standards after their ABA censure and only enrolled 28 1Ls this fall. The law school must be an even bigger money loser for the university now.

  13. How much is tuition there this year?

  14. This school was about as prestigious as the three Puerto Rican schools.


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