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December 18, 2014


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I agree with you. I would also like to know how many of these students took the LSAT more than once and the reported score is their second attempt. If some kid takes the LSAT "cold" and just decides to go to law school, I don't think that is the wisest thing, but I am much more concerned with the kid who took a review course, etc., and took the LSAT twice, but still cannot do better on LSAT. The latter student, one who tries hard, but just doesn't get it, is not likely going to succeed, either in law school or on the bar.

Anon prof

You are a brave man. You are a credit to the faculty lounge, too. Everyone else here should take a lesson from you.


Infilaw is owned by a private equity firm; their job is purely to make money. I'm sure they know perfectly well that there is no way they can keep going, so all they can do is pull in everyone they can who qualifies for student loans until someone stops them. They're not a university who risks collateral damage to their reputation, so there's no impetus to make changes on their own.

Remember, facilities-wise it's pretty easy to open a law school, which also makes it pretty easy to close a law school.


Frakt was recently honored by the ACLU for taking a courageous stand on torture so it doesn't seem he'd be scared of Infilaw. Check out the video at this link and the articles he posted recently here on TFY

David Frakt

Thank you Anon Prof and ACLU. Good points, TWBB


With respect to: "FCSL had gone from an acceptable 153/150/147 in 2008 and 2009," I have an anecdotal objection.

About two years ago I met a FCSL graduate - who was visiting Washington DC looking for a job, in somewhat casual circumstances where he was not it seems initially aware that I was a lawyer (though he ought to have guessed it to be pretty likely.) He had graduated a few years earlier so he was a pre-2008 enrolee. The venue, inter alia, without going into more detail, was such that his presence there showed that he had some well-off and probably influential connections.

The experience was seriously disturbing. This young man from a middle class legal background (father a judge of some variety) had struggled to pass the bar - taking multiple sittings, and had secured limited contract work, document review. Nonetheless he spoke expansively about legal practice, misusing common jargon, while trivialising the importance of key tasks for lawyers - complaint and motion drafting for example. He was rather self-evidently not intelligent, but more troublingly the contempt he expressed for potential clients was also surprising as was his general air of self-regard. He used the phrase I hate most to describe everyday legal practice for the regular public, i.e., "shit law."

After about a 45 minute conversation, my conclusion was that this young man should not have been admitted to any law school, because he was not intellectually equipped or of suitable character to be a lawyer. Now that may sound pompous, but I really was astonished at some of the things he said, quite casually.

Now I don't know if he was a typical FCSL graduate - but that encounter has stuck in my mind. It led me to wonder very hard about who the low ranked law schools are letting it, and, despite the self serving comments about enlarging the public's access to justice, whether poor-clients are well served by graduates of these law schools. He was, I'd guess, admitted to FCSL in 2004-7

Just saying...

David: I see no difference between Infilaw and non-profit schools in terms of their actions in admitting clearly unqualified students. In fact, I find this behavior on the part of non-profit "institutions of higher learning" even more unconscionable than that of Infilaw.

Let's stop distinguishing between non and for profit schools that behave in the exact same way. After all, as we all know, law schools were profit-making units for their universities for many years, and those universities sure liked the money.

David Frakt

Just Saying -

You are quite right that the behavior of these other schools is also reprehensible, but, with the exception of Thomas Cooley, the other schools at the bottom have only admitted a small number of students at 144 or below. Cooley matriculated a class of 445 and they are at 149/145/141, so probably around 200 are at 144 and below. And Cooley doesn't appear to be making a lot of money. They had to close one campus and lay off a bunch of faculty and staff. Cooley went from 582 matriculants in 2013 when their LSAT numbers were 150/145/141. So Cooley did not drop at all at their 50th and 25th percentile, while shrinking their class size by nearly a quarter. Florida Coastal, by comparison, barely shrank at all, going from 441 new students in 2013 to 426 in 2014, a 3% drop, while their standards dropped across the board. When you add up all the 144 and below students that the three InfiLaw Schools matriculated this year, the number is somewhere between 600 and 650, three times more than Thomas Cooley and probably ten times more than any single campus law school. Tuition at InfiLaw schools is over $40k per year, and the average discount price for students in the bottom half of the class is somewhere between $30 and $35k. So a conservative estimate would be that InfiLaw schools are bringing in over $20 million in revenue from 1Ls alone at 144 and below. I think there is big difference between a law school with a long history of public service trying to ride out a bad economy and a for-profit company that is raking in millions from students who do not understand what their real chances for success are.


Is there any lower limit that Infilaw will not go? Could we see 25 percentile scores of 136 next year? 134? 132? As long as there are no accreditational issues there really doesn't seem to be a limit. As long as most of the 130s scoring folks fail out before the bar then Infilaw won't have to worry about bar pass standards. Seems like an easy, if unethical, way to make some money. If reputation doesn't matter, and honestly it doesn't to Infilaw, then taking 10s of thousands of student dollars from doomed 1Ls is probably a pretty sound business idea.

confused by your post

No action will be taken by the Deptartment of Education, ABA, state bars or anyone else in connection with "opportunity" schools enrolling any warm body who can qualify for student loans. None. In fact, this predatory behavior will continue to get worse and worse in the months and years to come.

More and more students will allowed to attend law school without having had to take the LSAT score at all. That is the next worsening of the trend to enroll ever less qualified students to law schools. Get ready for more and more schools to request and receive waivers for the LSAT requirement from the ABA.

Very soon we will get to the point where law schools are dragging the homeless out of shelters and bus stations and into their admissions offices.

Watch what is happening to legal education now. Does this benefit anyone other than a tiny group of "elites" at the expense of society? This is how a profession destroys itself.


confused by your post

Agree on some points, not all however.

The Bar Exam will remain something of a gatekeeper: that is, until even the next to meaningless ABA standards for bar pass rates are undeniably breached.

Then, the excuses will come and the loosening there. This will take time.

Meanwhile, however, the damage to the legal profession will be profound.

Because law faculties don't like practice and don't like practitioners, they seem to say "good riddance." Here is the rot to the core of the legal academia that is responsible for the present sorry state of affairs.

For, students are voting to stay away because the law academy cannot connect to the legal community in a responsive and cooperative effort to improve the delivery of legal services to modern America (and thus improve the market for lawyers).

Law faculties are instead concerned with "knowledge generation" in the "intersections" between law and mindfulness and meditation (i.e., subjects of interest to almost no one in the legal community, produced by persons interested in any subject BUT law who possess little or no experience in or connection to the legal community).

So sad, because the politics of most members of the law academia makes their position (though, concededly, most are not even aware of their de facto stance) an example of supreme hypocrisy, arrogance, and, as you say, elitism.

By the way, did you see the latest poll? Tulane has surpassed San Diego on the "hors d'oeuvre served at faculty dinners" metric by three points (admittedly, the poll showed that many votes ranked Tulane above Yale, a preposterous notion as Yale is better than ANYONE, always, but, never mind that ...)! I've heard several people say, who visited there, that these tidbits were quite delicious!

John C. Kunich

The more fundamental question, which the initial post fails to address, is who should have the power to decide whether an autonomous, independent adult person is free to apply to, and be accepted by, any accredited law school. If we desire to divest hundreds of competent individuals of that choice, and allow self-proclaimed arbiters of merit to usurp that authority for themselves alone, that is a revolutionary abrogation of personal accountability in favor of rule by the elite.

As a former InfiLaw full-time tenured law professor for several years (at Charlotte School of Law), I saw many phenomena at work. Some things I supported, and others I questioned. But since leaving InfiLaw I have visited perhaps half of all U.S. law schools as an invited guest speaker/debater (with the Federalist Society) and I have never seen a more multi-faceted, prolonged, and consistent program designed to afford every student the highest possible probability of academic success in law school, success on the bar exam, and ultimate success as a practicing attorney. Many of these students were nontraditional, and many were members of racial and ethnic minorities.

Prof. Frakt may not like the concept, but the InfiLaw schools use their Alternative Admissions Model Program for Legal Education (AAMPLE) to identify students with atypical numerical credentials, but who still may have the potential to succeed in law school and beyond. AAMPLE is not a panacea, but it is an impressive initiative aimed at providing nontraditional students with tools and skills very early in their law school experience, to help prepare them to meet the additional challenges they might face. AAMPLE is particularly useful as a complement to the usual near-total reliance on the LSAT/UGPA criterion for admission. It can find capable applicants among people who would be excluded under the ordinary metrics (due to learning differences and/or capabilities that elude numerical capture), and then provide supplemental assistance to facilitate their success. It isn't something found in most law schools, and not everyone may agree with all of the underlying predicates, but I've seen AAMPLE make a genuine difference in students who probably would not be given a chance under a more standard admissions paradigm.

My students at Charlotte had LSAT and UGPA credentials decidedly different from those of my classmates at Harvard Law School, and from students at many of the law schools I've visited during the last few years. But I would never deny them the freedom to pursue their sincerely held ambitions, particularly when supported by the robust panoply of support systems featured by all InfiLaw schools. Not every law school has the luxury of cherry-picking the top of each demographic group for its own entering class. Schools with non-elite reputations cannot survive without accepting students who would never get a moment's consideration at the wealthy and prestigious top-tier institutions. Perhaps the United States could get by with half the current number of law schools and half the number of new attorneys we graduate each year. But who should wield the authority to rule these schools and their willing applicants out of existence?

Diversity (of race, ethnicity, age, background, and wealth) and individual liberty are important values. Schools without immense endowments, without legions of affluent alumni, and without taxpayer-provided funding are at a distinct disadvantage. InfiLaw has chosen to offer an opportunity to applicants who are willing, and even eager, to try their best for a career in law. InfiLaw supports each student with an enormously costly and well-crafted Academic Success program. No person is compelled to apply to an InfiLaw school, nor is anyone forced to accept an offer of admission from them. Are we to retain law schools, and law school graduates, that represent the overwhelming majority of Americans who are not wealthy, politically connected, lavishly pampered, and schooled in elite private institutions from pre-K onward? If so, we would do well to broaden our scrutiny to the many law schools that, well notionally not-for-profit, in actuality annually raise tuition, their own salaries, their own benefits, and disburse large revenue surpluses to their host universities, all the while congratulating themselves for their putative selectivity and academic rigor.

Respectfully submitted,

John C. Kunich

University of North Carolina at Charlotte


David: "I think there is big difference between a law school with a long history of public service trying to ride out a bad economy and a for-profit company that is raking in millions from students who do not understand what their real chances for success are."

David, Cooley only looks good compared to the Infilaw group, which is like saying that Joe looks good compared to a serial killer.

By now it's clear that a third or more of law schools, whether public or private, affiliated or standalone, have decided to bottom feed to whatever extent needed to keep the doors open a few more years.

And I haven't seen too many signs of the ABA pushing back on that.

The path is clear, that these people will hold on to the bitter end, and cause the most damage in their last years.

Just saying...

I agree, Barry. I don't think the students see a difference in terms of who saddles them with the debt. A non-profit using the bottom dwellers to "ride out a bad economy" is as shameful as what Infilaw is doing. They are using student they would have scorned for wanting to go to law school, in years past

David Frakt

John C. Kunich -

If you have read my previous posts, which I know you have, you know that I am actually a defender of opportunity law schools. I had no problem with FCSL or Charlotte Law when they were admitting students at the 153/150/147 level. I taught at two schools, Western State and Barry, that were admitting students with very similar profiles. I also have no problem with law schools admitting a small number of 146 and 145s, maybe even 144s and 143s, if they have a strong undergraduate record or some other history of personal success, through an admission by performance type of program, as long as it is designed to be rigorous enough to identify those who have the aptitude and work ethic to succeed in law school despite a poor LSAT. But until evidence is presented that students at 144 and below with mediocre to poor college grades have a reasonable chance of success in law school and on the bar, my position is that admitting such students is unethical, no matter what kind of school is admitting them. (Don't expect to see any such data anytime soon.) Such students do not have the demonstrated capacity to engage in the type of sophisticated legal reasoning needed to be a competent attorney. Those students that Charlotte used to take a chance on when you were there, the students that other schools wouldn't admit, now represent the top quarter of the class. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that if there is a student willing to pay tuition, then there is nothing problematic about giving them a chance. Do you believe that anyone who wants to go to medical school ought to be able to go, even if they were in the bottom ten percent on the MCAT, and bottom 20% of their college class at a mediocre state college? I have visited or guest-lectured at many law school around the country as well, including Akron, American, Cleveland State, Case Western, LaVerne, Whittier, UCLA, Stanford, Florida Coastal, Duke, NYU, Harvard, Washburn, Seton Hall, Mercer, Nova Southeastern, SIU, Pitt and Georgetown, and I found that everyone had ethnically diverse student bodies from diverse backgrounds. The idea that Charlotte and FCSL are doing some kind of public service by "serving the underserved" is farcical.

David Frakt

Barry -
I wasn't referring to Cooley with my comment "a long history of public service." I disagree that a third or more of law schools have decided to bottom feed. As long as schools are only admitting students with a reasonable chance of success, then there is nothing wrong with temporarily dropping admission standards, so long as the faculty understands they will have to adjust their teaching styles, and the administration provides more robust academic support programs. But there are at least a couple of dozen schools which are admitting students with no reasonable prospect of success, and this should be a clear violation of ABA standards. Unfortunately, the ABA standard is vague and the ABA seems unwilling to provide any clarity about what acceptable admission standards are. Perhaps the ABA was relying on some level of self-regulation at accredited law schools, or perhaps they thought that putting bar passage standards in place would be enough to ensure that schools would have responsible admissions standards. But the actions of several bottom feeder schools has clearly shown that self-regulation won't work when the potential survival of the school is at stake.


John --

You say "and without taxpayer-provided funding are at a distinct disadvantage"; that is clearly in error. The vast majority of enrolled students at Infilaw schools rely on taxpayer-provided funding.

And you say "Are we to retain law schools, and law school graduates, that represent the overwhelming majority of Americans who are not wealthy, politically connected, lavishly pampered, and schooled in elite private institutions from pre-K onward?"

That is a strawman. Non-wealthy/politically connected/lavishly pampered students have an enormous number of options, i.e. the vast majority of law schools. What Infilaw is doing now is admitting students who do not have the ability to pass the bar or to practice what is, if not rocket science, a profession that requires a fair degree of intelligence and preparation. Students getting low 130's to low 140's on their LSATs are people who have trouble reading and understanding materials that are far less complicated than statutes or caselaw. This does not mean they are stupid, just that they, for whatever reason, have graduated college without obtaining an actual college education and are not prepared for the practice of law.


I have always had a profound dislike of euphemism that cloud the reality of behaviours. "Opportunity school" is such a euphemism, because it fails to address whether a real "opportunity' is being provided to those the school (at $40-50,000 per year in tuition) is gracing with its ministrations.

How is a student being granted an opportunity - if they lack the genuine ability to pursue the career? I have heard about the Alternative Admissions Model Program for Legal Education (AAMPLE), but nothing that makes me believe that it is anything more than an effort to identify "marks" who are willing to go into debt in pursuit of a career they cannot actually secure, and would not secure if they went to even a top tier law school. Moreover, the young man I described earlier was from a well off white middle class background - his father was a judge - he was by no means non-traditional - just not bright enough to be a lawyer AND OBVIOUSLY SO! How did AMPLE fail to notice this detail. This was someone who clearly had the influence and background to apply to higher ranked schools - and they said no!


John, you are just embarrassing yourself. Have you followed up with Charlotte students who scored below 145 on the LSAT? I have, at my law school, and though we only admit a small handful of 144s each year, I have yet to see a 144 who was happy 6 months or more after graduation. A number of our 144s never graduated, many failed to pass the bar the first time, and none (other than one with a wealthy family and connections) found employment that paid more than a job they would have been qualified with only an undergraduate degree. In some cases they were turned town from better paying jobs because they were "over-qualified" with a JD.

This is not an "opportunity" but rather selling a dream to those who don't know better and are too dumb to do the proper research on their chances. This is all very similar to selling lottery tickets. Yes, maybe a very few will be better off, but for the most part the lottery is a tax on the poor and ignorant.


I have problems with governmental figures or ruling elites telling anyone that they can or cannot do something that is otherwise legal. That, however, is a strawman argument.

The problem here is that approximately 50 schools exist mainly for the purpose of suckling at the teat of Uncle Sam; yet they invoke diversity, opportunity, and the underdog. That is blasphemy. We would have seen many schools close but for the funding changes that occurred post-2007. I have a real problem with taxpayer-backed lending to subsidize schools to operate in a market where customers otherwise would not be willing or able to purchase your good or service. It is doubly troubling when do-gooder bullstuff is used as the language to operate a bait and switch scam on more-vulnerable members of our society (the less intelligent, minorities, recent immigrants, first generation college attendees, etc.)

Rather than enabling opportunity, well-intended governmental educational programs have been used to fleece taxpayers and leave graduates as bag-holding loan conduits with fewer options at exit than they had at entrance.

Part of the reason for the recent, dramatic turn of fortune for law schools (read "market correction") is transparency brought to the process by the Internet. The data are bad, and college graduates can see and understand the data.

Thus while I'm uncomfortable with the Man saying, "no law school for you" to anyone, I whole-heartedly embrace the federal government saying "no unlimited governmental money for law school attendance" to everyone.

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