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August 18, 2014

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anon

"I believe that each of these schools provides a solid legal education, on par with many of their peer schools.” Nice. Diploma mills on par with their peer diploma mills. I see what you did there.

Oh, yea; I’m not clear on “'opportunity' law schools.” Could you explain what the "opportunity" is? And if “opportunity” = "statistical chance,” how would that “opportunity” statistically vary from going to the nearest roulette table in Jacksonville and putting $200K-which would otherwise be tuition, cost of living (not to mention opportunity cost) and other sundries-on red? Compared to FCSL’s FT/LT Bar Passage Required figures, I’m sure many of its debtors (i.e. former students who sought to use their JDs) would have been happy to have taken a gamble as (relatively) safe as a 47/53 shot.

Honestly, I’m eager to hear the defense of FCSL. I’m intrigued by any defense of an institution that can’t make it into the top 75% of other institutions.

John Kunich

I concur with Professor Frakt's analysis. My experience with Dennis Stone and the InfiLaw System strongly corroborates the conclusion that the quest for profit far outweighs any and all other considerations. The InfiLaw schools' supposed commitment to "serving the underserved" and producing "practice-ready" graduates cannot be reconciled with their admissions and retention policies.

Dennis Stone (law librarian-cum-"Interim Dean" and "President" of two InfiLaw schools) can scream at newspaper reporters, publicly insult faculty members, and eject a qualified dean-candidate in mid-presentation, but his juvenile antics won't change the facts. The InfiLaw schools, stuffed with hundreds of students whose LSAT scores fall into Frakt's "extreme risk" category, can try to delude applicants with the illusion that they have a good chance of graduating, passing the bar, and securing employment sufficiently lucrative to enable them to repay their enormous student-loan debt. But will that ever happen, in reality? As Hemmingway wrote, "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

JM

David: Thanks for the very interesting first-hand report. It appears you recognize that FCSL has no standards in its admissions policy, that its exclusive, goal is to make money, and that they were disrespectful to you for pointing out the truth. Yet, you somehow still support these institutions. Why not just recognize that the top 100 or so law schools could supply the US with more than enough attorneys, along with a few to spare, and that Infilaw is just a scam without any redeeming value?

Anon

I am very pleased that Professor Frakt has shared his thoughts on this issue, but I am amazed at his conclusions. The data shows that FCSL admits a class in the "extreme risk" category for bar pass, and he admits that faculty have no role in admission policies ("My concern about InfiLaw has primarily to do with its admissions policies over the last four years. During this time, InfiLaw schools have admitted hundreds of students with extremely low LSAT scores and mediocre GPAs. This clearly appears to be an administrative policy as the admission numbers look very similar at all three of their schools.").

Yet Frakt concludes: "As to their for-profit status, I don’t believe there is an inherent, unresolvable conflict between for-profit education and quality education." Actually, that conclusion is exactly what your data shows - that the for-profit nature of FCSL leadership have made choices entirely inconsistent with quality education. In fact, that is the ONLY conclusion I can reach, having read his analysis.

Why the disconnect, Professor Frakt? Isnt it the for-profit status of the school that leads the administration to admit poorly qualified, high- or extreme-risk students, when it is clear that that is a poor idea, considering bar pass three years hence? Why else would they do it?

Finally, on another topic - I would like to hear more about the employee surveys, because with this level of faculty governance (zero), I would be surprised if morale was anything but abysmal (zero). Am I right?

twbb

Well to be fair, he says explicitly that FCSL gives quality education; I think his point is that such an education probably does not help someone who scored a 135 on the LSAT.

Barry

Seconding Anon here - Dan, you did a very dishonest mid-argument switch, analagous to Deans who defend law schools by switching between 'employment' rates, 'average salaries' (for those who got real jobs) and 'median lawyer salaries' (ignoring the massive failure rate at the start, and the massive failure rate in the first several years).


Also: " I have seen no evidence that the educational program at InfiLaw is any less rigorous than the typical J.D. program. "

The market has something to say about that, and what it says is that InfiLaw schools are very, very bad. They rank very low on the job stats, ***far below*** the 'typical' JD program.

BoredJD

Federal regulations define a "diploma mill" is any school that offers fake degrees. Obviously, none of the ABA law schools do that. But in the law school context, students and young grads use the term "diploma mill" to describe a school that is expensive and graduates far more JDs than there are jobs (that can service the debt) for them. This has nothing to do with the quality of the education or the pedigree of the faculty. By any rational measure, a school with a 29.5% FTLT JD employment score that costs 246K all-in (before schollies) meets that standard.

I'm unsure why you think for-profit law schools will be able to divorce themselves from putting profit before students in the long-run. Compared with established schools, they are never going to be able to deliver good job outcomes for students at a low price when because employers do not hire based on "quality" of the education, whatever that means. Even if they did, it's unlikely that any law school could produce a "quality" education that is so above and beyond what other schools provide that it turns clay into superstar lawyers. That non-profit law schools and universities act so much like profit-making industries is a sad commentary on how much the for-profit mentality has infected our higher ed system. It's not carte blanche to keep squeezing young people.

David Frakt

Dear Readers:

I have said what I wanted to say about Florida Coastal and InfiLaw and am going to try to refrain from replying directly to comments or questions on this thread. In the coming days, I will post some of my thoughts about legal education in general which will touch upon many of the issues and themes being raised in the comments.

Thank you.

David Frakt

Just saying...

Just one question, Prof. Frakt: Did you formally contact the ABA Section of Legal Ed about your treatment and provide them with the data you presented to the faculty and your conclusions on what that data indicates for FCLS students' future success?

Seems to me it the accreditation process is to have any credibility, the Section should be sending in one of its SWAT teams ASAP.

matt

I don't understand why Mr. Frakt would not have similar concerns about the institution where he teaches. He is a professor at Barry University's school of law where, according the Law School Transparency, the median LSAT score is 147 and the 25th percentile is 145. Moreover the median GPA is 2.9 and the 25th percentile is 2.6.

Not surprisingly, Barry also has poor employment outcomes. According to Barry's website, only 83 out of 201 2013 graduates got jobs requiring a JD. Moreover, 14 of these jobs were as solo practitioners and 37 were in firms of 2 to 10 people. 31 were unemployed and employment status was unknown for 43. Tuition is approximately $38,000 per year.

David Frakt

I have not been employed by Barry Law School since May 2012. I am not sure why my faculty bio is still on their website.

David Frakt

Dear Readers,

I do not want to discourage continuing comments on this thread. If you use a real e-mail address when you post, I promise I will reply to your questions and comments privately. Otherwise, I will try to address the issues raised in my future postings.

Regards,

David Frakt

anon123

I am curious if anyone has data by school on whether admitted students took the LSAT more than once, and whether they used a commercial prep service.

Anon

The attack on for profit schools would possibly carry more weight if it was not also the case that the same people who criticize that model apply the same kinds of arguments against startup schools like U.C. Irvine.

It is also odd that the critics argue vociferously for more practical faculty yet attack schools like the for profits that likely have far higher proportions of faculty who actually practice law while teaching.

antiro

I'm very interested in the Colonel's perspective. I would like him to expound on the value proposition of low-ranked private law schools which routinely indebt their graduates well over $100,000 for poor job odds.

He writes that he doesn't see a big difference between for-profits and non-profits on the low ranked end, and I agree. Law schools, regardless of tax status, have behaved exactly the same in raising tuition extremely high and accepting graduates of increasingly lower and lower GPA and LSAT scores. This wouldn't be an issue if all law schools had good job prospects that included good salary-debt ratios and good bar passage rates, but this isn't the case.

Barry

Steven Diamond (or Brian Leiter, or one of any number of wh*resons): "The attack on for profit schools would possibly carry more weight if it was not also the case that the same people who criticize that model apply the same kinds of arguments against startup schools like U.C. Irvine.

It is also odd that the critics argue vociferously for more practical faculty yet attack schools like the for profits that likely have far higher proportions of faculty who actually practice law while teaching."

No, it's not. People are protesting against garbage schools with high tuition.

anon

I'm not sure what threads "Anon" follows. I haven't seen anyone attacking UC Irvine on the basis that it admits unqualified students, from whom it extracts inflated tuition, knowing these students will have poor employment prospects while saddled with six figure debt. I haven't seen anyone state that UC Irvine thus operates unethically and in violation of ABA standards.

But, Anon has, apparently.

Anon also thinks that the faculties at "for profit" law schools "practice law while teaching."

Anon, please name ten faculty members at "for profit" law schools who "practice law while teaching."

anon

Last “anon,”

About teaching while practicing; this is a red herring. An argument that the TTTT establishment is worthless does not rely upon evidence that TTTT faculty practices while teaching.

TTTT faculties are worthless because they can’t do anything, on the whole, to increase the FT/LT JD required prospects or their pupils.

Fix the employment outcomes of low-ranked schools, and nobody will care about the LSAT/GPA inputs factors, nor extracurricular activities, of faculty at the TTTT schools.

Secretion Diaz

Frakt was lucky enough to escape from Barely Law School. Not sure why someone so qualified would want to work at these loser TTTT schools.

anon

anon | August 19, 2014 at 07:33 PM

I was responding to Anon, who stated:

"It is also odd that the critics argue vociferously for more practical faculty yet attack schools like the for profits that likely have far higher proportions of faculty who actually practice law while teaching."

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