Friday, September 1, 2017

Former Charlotte School of Law Professor Accuses the School of Ripping Off Taxpayers


http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article169769042.html

Accusations From Former Professor: On August 28, 2017, the Charlotte Observer published a Michael Gordon piece entitled “Charlotte School of Law bilked $285 million from taxpayers, former faculty member says.” Read the following portion:

“A lawsuit filed by a former professor of Charlotte School of Law accuses the failed school and its corporate owner of defrauding taxpayers out of $285 million by admitting hundreds of unqualified students, then manipulating records to keep them enrolled so the school could collect their government-backed tuition.

Barbara Bernier says the for-profit school, which closed last week, conspired with its owner, the InfiLaw System, to inflate enrollment and maximize profits. She says Charlotte Law lowered admissions and retention standards while misrepresenting both the state bar exam scores of their graduates and their success in finding jobs, according to a 2016 complaint that became public for the first time this month.

“The goal of the school has never been focused on education,” said Coleman Watson, Bernier’s Orlando, Fla.-based attorney. “The shareholder tended to be more important than the student body, and that’s why she came forward.”

Contacted by the Observer, Charlotte Law spokeswoman Victoria Taylor issued a statement that the school “will defend itself vigorously against the allegations in the complaint. Beyond that, we do not intend to comment on pending litigation.” [Emphasis mine]

What a stellar “institution of higher learning,” huh? Makes you wonder why they never coined themselves “the Harvard of North Carolina.” The school had weak admi$$ion$ criteria. Seems the main ones were gullibility and a pulse.

For $ome rea$on, the American Bar Association never investigated this member school. I suppose as long as the accreditation fees are collected, they don’t give a damn. After all, there are literally dozens of ABA schools in operation that are an embarrassment to the concept of higher education, let alone professional school. Yet, they remain in business – on the public’s dime, of course. 

http://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/charlotte-school-of-law-defrauds-taxpayers-285-million-lawsuit-says/599526239

Other Coverage: On August 29, 2017, Charlotte TV station WSOC, channel 9, ran a Paul Boyd story headlined “Former Charlotte School of Law student recalls predatory admissions process.” Here is the opening:

“The troubles surrounding the now-closed Charlotte School of Law are mounting, including allegations about the school's predatory admissions process.

Former student Talece Hunter has a college degree and a master's degree. She applied to Charlotte School of Law in 2015 and thought it was unusual there was no application process.

Hunter said she experienced aggressive predatory sales tactics after expressing interest in the law school.

"If you didn't call them or did not email them, they were leaving you voicemails two and three times a day," Hunter said.

She also said some her classmates were also less than qualified to be there, which is an allegation made in newly unsealed lawsuit that alleges the law school defrauded taxpayers of at least $285 million.

The lawsuit was filed by former Charlotte School of Law professor Barbara Bernier under whistleblower laws.

Bernier claims she has inside knowledge that hundreds of unqualified students were admitted to the school. She also alleges that student records were manipulated and that enrollment was inflated in an effort to increase profits through government-backed tuitions.

"Many candidates for admission (were) academically unqualified, and would be improbable candidates for admission in most other law schools," the lawsuit read.”

The suit that was filed in Florida District Court alleges Charlotte School of Law "repeatedly identified minority students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a major source of students and a revenue stream."

It also claims there was a period of time when an acceptable grade point average was "1.50." The lawsuit was originally filed in 2016 but remained sealed while federal investigators looked into the case.” [Emphasis mine]

That 1.50 GPA seems incredibly low, even by TTTTT standards. I understand that ABA-accredited dung heaps aggressively recruit students, but they also don’t force you to apply, pay fees, take the LSAT, enroll, sit in class, and stay in school. However, the school knows that this country is littered with dim bulbs who will jump at the chance for a “legal education.” And they know that the federal government will still issue student loans to those idiots.

Conclusion: CharloTTTTTe $chool of Law is no longer in operation, but it did reap a financial windfall for over a decade. More accurately, the shareholders of Sterling Partners took in the loot – with the “educators” and administrators doing real well for themselves too, in the process. The students were a mere mean$ to an end, i.e. big-ass bags of federal cash in the form of educational loans. Who cares if the debt is non-dischargeable for the pupils? They are just props anyway, so the schools can have a reason to exist. Amazingly, college graduates continue to apply to, and enroll in, such weak law schools. By the way, this diploma mill is under federal investigation. When will someone open the P.T. Barnum College of Law?

24 comments:

  1. The P.T. Barnum College of Law? There are dozens of those.

    Talece Hunter sounds like a dolt. How could she have fallen for a so-called school that had "no application process" but kept calling every few hours to badger her into enrolling? Could she really have expected a good professional outcome with a degree from a toilet school that was so desperate for matriculants as to resort to brazen hucksterism bordering on carny-barking? And did she expect to find well-qualified students at an institution with "no application process"?

    As for Bernier, it's interesting that she only now comes forward, right after losing her scam-job as profe$$or of law at Harlotte. Did she ever criticize the toilet school before it went tits up?

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  2. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article170503647.html

    We have reached a point where the media, university leaders, bar association leaders, and lawyer placement agencies recognize the problems in the legal market. They all agree a new law school is unnecessary. They recognize employers are only interested in grads of top schools and not low ranked toilet law schools. The reporter here didn't even need to call Paul Campos to find someone to comment on the law school scam.

    But if you check out the law professor blogs, law professors claim lawyers are averaging $130k+ a year, with solos making $100k+. They still tout the million dollar degree nonsense. They deny a decline in admission standards and bemoan the bar exam. They use euphemisms such as "access school" to describe the worst law schools. There are two possible reasons for steady stream of nonsense spewed by law professor swine. Law professors could be suffering from some type of delusional disorder. Or law professors are greedy swine looking to keep the scam going a little longer so they can cash a few more checks. The most likely explanation is the latter. Whenever these toilets close, we always hear from the laid off faculty that the school was a scam and they are heartbroken for the students. Except of course, the pigs never complained when they were still employed by the toilet.

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  3. So was this school able to get a bunch of idiots in without it counting against their already shitty LSAT average?

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  4. Damn, how does someone graduate college with a 1.5 GPA? I believe the Infilaw scamsters would take an applicant with a 1.5 GPA. I just don't know of an accredited undergrad institution that would allow a student to graduate with a 1.5 GPA. Perhaps the scam for-profit undergrad colleges?

    By the way, Cooley is still accepting applications for the fall semester.

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    1. Is Cooley still enrolling homeless people?

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    2. I think that that refers to a 1.5 GPA at Harlotte, not a 1.5 from an undergraduate institution.

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  5. How come this prof didn't come forward earlier with this info? It just doesn't make sense.

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  6. Comparisons are often made on this blog between law schools and med schools, ie the declining standards of law schools. But the Charlotte law school scandal is a new low for the ABA. An ABA accredited school was allowed to maintain their accredited status despite a Federal criminal investigation looking into the admission of unqualified students in order to exploit the student loan program! Ultimately, the school never lost their ABA accreditation. The school was shut down by the state. Could you imagine the outrage if a U.S. medical school maintained accreditation from the AMA and the Association of American Medical Colleges despite a Federal criminal investigation.

    The ABA has abdicated all responsibility for protecting the public from incompetent lawyers, protecting students from exploitive schools, and protecting the taxpayers who ultimately bear the cost of these scam schools exploiting the student loan program. The Bush administration had a more rigorous approach to corporate corruption and was more diligent when it came to regulating business, than the ABA’s approach to law school corruption and conduct. Consider how a normal organization responds to scandal. Recently, a Salt Lake City nurse was wrongly arrested by police for following the law. The nurse refused to allow a police officer to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient, because the officer did not have a warrant or consent. When this scandal broke, the mayor and the police chief apologized. The officer has been placed on leave. Leaders are embarrassed. But when a criminal enterprise bearing ABA accreditation is shut down, the ABA is silent.

    The disgraceful conduct by the ABA has gone on for years. Law schools relied on false job placement stats for years in order to attract students. That practice only stopped recently because of the scam blog movement. The ABA has never cared about the public, law students, or recent grads. Even medical graduates are not allowed to immediately practice without supervision. Could you imagine if anyone with an MD could just open up a solo practice after graduation like law grads? Would you go to a doctor in a dilapidated office building who offered all medical services such as performing neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery. Suicidal? No problem, they will write you a script for an SSRI even though they aren’t a psychiatrist. In pain? They’ll write you a script for Norco, even though that drug is addictive. The public would be outraged if the medical profession operated this way. But because there are not enough employers willing to hire and train law grads, they ABA is fine with bottom tier law grads opening up solo practices, and taking on cases without supervision or additional training.

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    1. Best post I've read in a while on the internet. The ABA at this point needs to be shut down and purged of all the corrupt people that have allowed this criminal activity to take place. They have literally destroyed the legal profession in American in a few decades and ruined thousands of lives.

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    2. Webster Hubble stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients. He was caught, convicted, disbarred and imprisoned. Upon his release he was invited to address the ABA's national convention, where he ranted about the prosecutors who protected the public by taking him down.

      And we trust the ABA to do the right thing?

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    3. Bottom feeding ambulance chasers have more ethics than these law schools.

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  7. In the immortal words of Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    But just see how fast your typical law professor becomes familiar with the law school scam once those checks stop coming in....

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  8. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article169880252.html

    Possible Criminal Charges: On August 28, 2017, the Charlotte Observer published a Mark Gordon piece entitled “Feds have launched criminal investigation of Charlotte School of Law, documents say.” Read the following portion:

    “Federal prosecutors in Charlotte appear to have been investigating Charlotte School of Law for more than a year, according to newly unsealed court documents in Florida.

    In a statement released to the Observer, school leaders say they have cooperated with the Charlotte-based investigators, providing “information that we believed satisfactorily answered the questions raised.”

    The filings by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida came in a 2016 whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a former faculty member of the failed, for-profit school.

    In her complaint, Barbara Bernier claims Charlotte Law and its owner, InfiLaw Corp. of Naples, Fla., defrauded U.S. taxpayers out of $285 million from 2010-15. Bernier’s lawsuit and other related documents were unsealed last week by a Florida judge.

    In an August 2016 court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Bloor of Orlando, Fla., asked the court to keep Bernier’s complaint under seal while the federal government decided whether to join the case. He added that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte “had initiated a criminal investigation” of both Charlotte School of Law and InfiLaw.

    Bloor asked the court for more time so the Justice Department could interview multiple witnesses identified by Bernier as having “knowledge relevant to this case.”

    “The government intends to interview these witnesses, as well as obtain and analyze relevant (Charlotte School of Law) records and data,” Bloor said.

    Two weeks ago, when he filed a motion to have the case unsealed, Bloor said that while the United States was not intervening in the case at that time, its investigation continued.

    How that involves federal prosecutors in Charlotte remained unclear Monday. A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose said the office “does not comment on the existence or status of any possible investigation.”

    Word of the federal investigation adds to the mounting legal problems for Charlotte Law, which officially announced it was closing last week.

    Dozens of students already have sued the school in state and federal court. The N.C. Attorney General’s Office confirms that it has launched a consumer-fraud investigation of the school.”

    Sadly, if this in$TTTTTiTTTTTuTTTTTion was still in operation, plenty of fools would still be lining up to pay outrageous sums in tuition – to attend the dump. But law students are “sophisticated consumers,” right?

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  9. It's all about where you get the degree. If it's not an elite school you're looking at shitlaw. At best.

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  10. Pretty much standard operating procedure for all the 5th tier law skewls.

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  11. I think art school is more selective than many ABA law skools.

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    Replies
    1. Ouch. And you're right.

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    2. If you can draw the clown on the cover of this matchbook, you can get a JD from the Jefferson Cooley Appalachian Coastal Summit School of Law and Small-Engine Repair. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope and $150,000 to…

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  12. https://www.lstreports.com/schools/charlotte/admissions/

    Let’s take a look at the admissions criteria for CharloTTTTTTe SOL, courtesy of Law School Transparency. The figures below represent 25th percentile LSAT; 50th percentile LSAT 75th percentile LSAT; 25th percentile UGPA; 50th percentile UGPA; and 75th percentile UGPA, respectively:

    Fall 2016: 141; 144; 148; 2.48; 2.8; 3.07
    Fall 2015: 140; 142; 145; 2.51; 2.82; 3.17
    Fall 2014: 138; 142; 146; 2.53; 2.83; 3.18
    Fall 2013: 141; 144; 149; 2.59; 2.91; 3.25
    Fall 2012: 142; 146; 150; 2.65; 2.97; 3.32
    Fall 2011: 145; 148; 151; 2.6; 3; 3.31
    Fall 2010: 148; 149; 152; 2.73; 3.04; 3.34

    The numbers for Fall 2010 were bad enough. But by 2016, they had reached pathetic levels. Hell, the 25th percentile LSAT score in 2010 was the same as the 75th percentile in 2016.

    Who benefits from such an arrangement? Does the "profession" become better? Do potential legal clients get improved attorneys? The bar passage rates continue to drop around the nation. At this school, only the "professors" and administrators - and shareholders of Sterling Partners - made out well for themselves.

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  13. http://www.crumleyroberts.com/practice-areas/charlotte-school-of-law-class-action/

    At least, this school has led to an uptick in more litigation. Some ambulance chasing firm posted an entry labeled "Charlotte School of Law Class Action Lawsuit." Read this portion:

    "From spending hours in the library as a 1L to preparing for the bar exam after graduation, the path to becoming a lawyer requires passion and dedication, not to mention significant financial commitment. However, for some students and graduates of Charlotte School of Law, what was supposed to be a long-term investment in their future has turned into broken promises, future lost earnings, and financial hardship.

    Crumley Roberts Files Suit Against CSL Parent Companies

    At Crumley Roberts, we’ve watched complaints grow against Charlotte School of Law as students and graduates face more questions than answers. We know that’s not right, and our legal team is taking action.

    We’ve filed a class action complaint in conjunction with our co-counsel, Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo and Bohrer Brady, against Charlotte School of Law’s parent companies, InfiLaw Holdings and Sterling Capital Partners, seeking compensation for current and future economic losses."

    Yes, the "honorable profession" in action. This firms acts as though these students were on their way to remarkable futures in this field. Apparently, these attorneys fail to recognize that these marks were, at best, going to be practicing small law - for low wages. If the former pupils had a decent head on their shoulders, then they would immediately seek a discharge of their educational loans.

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    1. A Mickey Mouse degree from Harlotte was never "a long-term investment in the[] future" but a short-sighted calamity in the making. Forty percent of last year's graduates of Harlotte were unemployed ten months after graduation, and most—probably all—of the rest were not doing nearly well enough for the "investment" to pay off.

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  14. That sweet honeypot of risk-free (to the school) Federal largess, paid up-front and without discount, needs to be stopped at once! This school is the perfect poster-child for the need to stop these crazy wasteful Federal loans NOW!

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  15. LOL what a third tier toilet shithole!!!!!

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