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November 13, 2014

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Kyle McEntee

John, how do you feel about the job outcomes from Charlotte and the ability graduates have to repay their loans in those jobs? Bar passage is important, no doubt, but only part of analyzing a professional school's performance.

anon

David - thank you very much for posting the slides! (This is the first anon that requested.) I thought it was a longshot and I appreciate your transparency on this issue. I skimmed them quickly but had to focus on Slide 12 and your notes "The corporate ownership turned a corner, they said, we don’t care if we lower our standards as long as you make more money." Wow. Dennis Stone is a shareholder in Infilaw so that may have prompted his entry. I've heard many dean/faculty presentations over the years but never one so honest.

anonprof06

The ABA Standards for law school accreditation require that faculty should enjoy "academic freedom." While they don't precisely define the term, it seems clear to me that FCSL, as described by David Frakt, does not meet this standard. If the ABA is serious about enforcing its standards, it will investigate this incident. But I'm not holding my breath...

(David, were you ever contacted by accreditation authorities about this?)

JPQ

David - I disagree with your statement that the data show one's best chances for passing are the first time. Generally, people who pass the first time do not take it a second time, while those who fail the first time take it a second time. So to give an example a bar exam in which the pass rate for first time takers is 75 percent and for second time takers is 60 percent. Of the universe of people in both samples -- 0 percent passed on their first attempt and 60 percent passed on their second attempt. The reason the first time pass rate is higher is because the smarter people are not taking the test twice.

JM

Prof. Kunich,

You work at the Charlotte School of Law. The Charlotte School of Law does not even claim to be a part of the UNC system. See http://www.charlottelaw.edu/

Furthermore, you are not listed anywhere as a faculty member of UNC. See http://www.law.unc.edu/faculty/directory/

A law school friend of mine got a sanction on his transcript for calling Staples and announcing himself as a professor in order to get some very basic sales info for a deals class project. He nearly got suspended. How is your misrepresentation any different?

Bary

"John, how do you feel about the job outcomes from Charlotte and the ability graduates have to repay their loans in those jobs? Bar passage is important, no doubt, but only part of analyzing a professional school's performance."

Seconded. John this school (and yours, soon to be owned by the same corporation) have, IIRC, very high tuition combined with lousy job outcomes.

I won't ask how you justify that, because I'm sure that you can (try). I'm pointing out that what happens in these schools is contradictory to the rhetoric.

David Frakt

JM -

Prof Kunich used to be on the faculty at Charlotte Law. He is now a lecturer at UNC Charlotte in the Political Science Department. John is a retired Air Force JAG and an honorable guy and has not misrepresented himself. Let's try to avoid the personal attacks.

Bary

Will do.

David Frakt

JPQ - Regarding repeat bar exam takers, take a look at the statistics from NCBE on repeat takers. The statistics for the last 19 years are here http://www.ncbex.org/publications/statistics/. The most recent report, from 2013, is here http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Bar-Examiner/articles/830114statistics.pdf The reports are not encouraging regarding repeat takers and do support my statement that one's best chances for passing are the first time. Just to take a few examples from that report, using the combined data from the February and July 2013 bars: (State, First Time takers pass rate, Repeaters Pass rate) California, 65%, 30%; Florida, 78%, 32%; Illinois, 88%, 51%; New York, 76%, 34%; Pennsylvania, 81%, 41%; Ohio, 86%, 42% The national average was 78% for first time takers, 38% for repeat takers.


Of course, an individual who failed the first time has a greater chance of passing the second time since they didn't pass the first time, but I'm not sure what that proves.

anon

David,
I carefully read through your powerpoint presentation. Did you honestly ever think you would get the job? I promise I don't mean that sarcastically. It seems that everything you are proposing runs directly counter to how Infilaw is running their law schools. Why would they hire someone that is going to fight with them?

confused by your post

No personal attacks here but those like Prof. Kunich who defend FCSL and Charlotte's admission and academic practices are dead wrong. He makes the standard defenses you hear from all proponents of "opportunity" schools. Such nonsense must be challenged every time it is uttered.

The claim that those schools rely "on a sophisticated blend of factors to predict a person's likelihood of success" cannot be taken seriously, given their de facto open admissions standards. Even if one were to take these Infilaw supporters at their word about Infilaw's excellent system of evaluating applicants using factors other than the LSAT, one would have to ask how are the results of that system?

Are the students admitted under the system happy enough that they aren't transferring out in large numbers?
Are they flunking out?
Are the students performing well on the bar exam?
Are employers showing they value Infilaw's student selection systems by actually employing Infilaw graduates in high paying jobs?

There are cold hard numbers that answer all of these questions. The admissions system used at Infilaw schools is an abject failure to its students. They flunk out, they transfer if they can, they do not pass the bar and they don't get decent jobs - all in alarming numbers.

Infilaw's academic programs and standards are also part of the problem although I do love that Professor Kunich used the word "panoply" to describe them (great word). The schools academic programs and standards are not something to crow about. In the big picture, they are designed to ensure an unreasonably high number of students do not, or cannot, complete their JD degrees. That way they are not around to sit for and inevitably fail the bar exam. This artificially inflates these schools' bar passage rates. Most other schools admit students knowing almost all those admitted will graduate and take the bar exam. They do not admit them knowing many can't pass the bar exam and then design academic standards, etc. knowing the effect of these standards will be to prevent these students from graduating and taking the bar exam.

Infilaw does not care about diversity or the success of minority law students. It cares about profits. These profits are obtained by admitting as many warm bodies as possible. These warm bodies then must sign up for potentially life ruining student loans to pay for Infilaw's profits. These are loans that will burden both the students and the US taxpayers for years.

Infilaw's system of admissions and academic standards are not a net benefit to its students, the legal profession or society as a whole. They are not something to be lauded. They are predation.

Just saying...

"They flunk out, they transfer if they can, they do not pass the bar and they don't get decent jobs - all in alarming numbers."

Confused.. do you have data to support this statement? I have no connection to Infilaw, but each of these occurrences, taken alone, would cause a school serious problems come an ABA site visit since the accreditation committee pays close attention to academic attrition, transfers, bar pass rate and employment rate, as we know. IF a school had substantial issues with all of these -- in alarming numbers, as you state, it would have problems.

What are the numbers you are relying on when making that statement? Of course, you cannot combine numbers from all Infilaw schools to reach your totals since each school is accredited separately.

Bary

anon: "I carefully read through your powerpoint presentation. Did you honestly ever think you would get the job? I promise I don't mean that sarcastically. It seems that everything you are proposing runs directly counter to how Infilaw is running their law schools. Why would they hire someone that is going to fight with them? "


David thought that the school was a school, rather than something several steps below an online diploma mill.

The One and Only Anon

Regarding the "opportunity" issue, what alternative do the scammers propose to solve the diversity crisis? Women and minorities continue to be few and far between at the top of the legal profession. If we have a world that depends largely on tests that have a bias against diversity the problem just perpetuates itself.

anon

@Bary. That seems incredible. A quick look at Infilaw shows that they are running a top-down organization that really doesn't want the radical change Frackt was proposing. For example, in the last decade the central Infilaw administration transferred the Dean at Charlotte to Arizona Summit, and at various times Dennis Stone (a librarian) has been Dean at Infilaw schools. (Including FloCo I believe). And interestingly the current interim dean is the general counsel of Infilaw. Clearly the ABA doesn't care that Infilaw is running a centralized operation with all power away from individual deals at individual schools.

Just saying...

One and Only... Your comment is insulting in that you seem to imply that women and minorities can only get into "opportunity" schools.

Women have compromised more than 50% of some law school classes (Rutgers, several years ago) and come close to 50% in many others every year -- including schools in the top tier. I doubt all are there only as a result of "opportunity" a/k/a affirmative action. Women need no help getting into good law schools. They are still subject to discrimination in firms and corporations, esp. when they decide to have children, but is another discussion.

Many white men are admitted to "opportunity schools" with low credentials, too.
If your point was accurate, then the composition of the classes in most low ranking schools (the one's chanting "opportunity") would be overwhelmingly minorities and women, and my experience on site teams to some of these schools shows that is not the case.

I have sat in many faculties when the issue of how to increase minority enrollment was discussed. Sadly, law schools compete with each other for the best candidates and they also compete with other professions for the top minority students. I think most minority students who are likely to succeed in law school and practice can, especially now, get into a reputable school with good tuition discount. Again, as with women, why more are not at the top of the profession is a separate discussion.

The only people going to too many of these low ranking "opportunity" schools should probably not be in law school, regardless of gender, ethnicity or race.

Just saying...

Another point, One and Only....

no one -- women, minority, white men are going to wind up at the top of the legal profession by attending an "opportunity" school.

David Frakt

Anon -

Did I honestly think I was going to get the job as Dean of FCSL? Not really. Before I went to visit, I thought I had a chance, but I knew I was one of 7 finalists being brought to the school, so I knew the odds were not in my favor. But my preliminary interviews went well and I thought FCSL might be genuinely interested in going in a different direction. I thought that the things that I had to say would appeal to the faculty and that with strong support from the faculty, I might have a chance. What I found when I got there was that the faculty had extremely minimal influence in the Dean selection process. InfiLaw management had directed the faculty to approve 6 of the 7 candidates that were going to be presented to them, unranked, and then InfiLaw management would select the Dean. So essentially, the faculty only had veto power over one candidate. After I had dinner with President Stone, I realized that I had virtually no chance to get hired because he had a lot of influence over the Dean selection and he and I saw things very differently. But I was already there and had put a lot of time and effort into preparing so I went ahead with the interview even knowing it was an extreme longshot, at best. It never occurred to me that I would get thrown out simply for providing a candid assessment of the school's situation.

As a postscript, the entire Dean search failed. Apparently none of the seven finalists were acceptable to InfiLaw and willing to take the job. They are running another Dean search now.
see http://law.academickeys.com/seeker_job_display.php?dothis=display&job%5BIDX%5D=58736

Jeff Anon Harrison

When people discuss Bar Passage rates I cannot help but wonder how large a sample of exam takers were involved. Florida is a pretty big law school but the February results that I have seen usually involve a handful of test takers and it would misleading tho use that number as representative of the overall passage rate. It would be helpful to know how many Charlotte grads took the exam in Feb 13 and 14 in order to know what to make of the percentages. I know that duke and Campbell are smaller but they each had single digit numbers of test takers.

Barry

Jeff, that's a very good point. And does anybody have an idea of the demographic differences?

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