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March 28, 2017


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Frakt, when identifying proper candidates for probation/sanctions, always identifies certain law schools, but omits other, more obvious choices (at least, at the outset of this post and, if memory serves, others).

Here, he signals TJ. But, in California, is he aware (he is) of other law schools, previously on ABA Probation relating to bar pass standards, whose bar pass rates now appear to merit another sanction (and, given repeat offender status, perhaps a harsher sanction at that)?

If so, why not mention these? Does Frakt represent interested parties?

If so, this should be disclosed.

David Frakt

anon -

I know, from your many prior comments, that you are fixated on Golden Gate. I have no affiliation or interests in Golden Gate. And I certainly agree that, based on their bar passage rates they do not appear to be meeting the ABA Bar pass standard. However, the ABA has not sanctioned any schools in recent years for failure to meet Standard 316 because the Standard is so riddled with loopholes that it takes several years before a school can be found to be out of compliance. The proposed new Standard 316 passed by the ABA Council would have corrected this problem and made it possible to immediately sanction schools like Golden Gate, but it was shot down by the ABA House of Delegates and now we must wait for a while to see if the Council will resubmit the standard or propose a new one. So for now, the primary basis for placing schools on probation (as demonstrated by Charlotte and Arizona Summit) is predatory admission practices. The reason that I mention Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Cooley over some other candidates like Golden Gate and Whittier, is that the ABA has tended to hold off on sanctions or impose lighter sanctions on schools which voluntarily self-correct their errant ways. (That is why Valpo was only censured by the ABA, rather than placed on probation, and why Ave Maria was forced to take remedial actions, but received no punitive sanctions.) If you look at the 2016 509 reports, Golden Gate's admission standards are up across the board -- 152/149/146 compared to 151/148/145 for 2015. Similarly, Whittier raised its standards from 150/146/143 in 2014 to 150/148/146 in 2015 (although they slipped a bit in 2016 back to 149/146/144). In contrast, Thomas Jefferson's 2016 class is at 147/143/141, the lowest it has ever been despite four straight years of very poor and declining bar passage rates. Clearly, Thomas Jefferson has not self-corrected. Thomas Cooley's class is even worse at 147/141/138 (yikes!), identical to their 2015 entering class which was likely the weakest entering class in U.S. history. For this reason, I consider these two schools the likeliest next candidates for probation. I do not have any personal inside knowledge from the ABA about this. This is just my educated guess.


You mean Thomas Jefferson with the new female dean? See, Glass Cliff.

David Frakt

The incoming Dean is definitely facing a very challenging situation.

a different anon

This is interesting info. What about Laverne? Weren't they put on probation once?

Elizabeth K.

Can someone out there tell us 2L and 3L students are going to do? Summit itself won't tell us jack. Unlike many of my classmates, I had an 160 on my LSAT and a 3.2 from a respected undergraduate university, and multiple other scholarship opportunities from real schools such as Santa Clara (I picked Summit because I own my home in AZ, I was offered a full ride and did not want to move...dumb, I know). I am planning to graduate in May 2018, but what happens if they lose accreditation? I am too far along to transfer to ASU or UA. Any help would be appreciated.



There are TWO law schools in CA that were "recently" on ABA Probation.

Your arguments are not particularly persuasive.

You argue that repeat offenders (there aren't that many, so, your accusation of fixation may be just due to reality, not any untoward motive, as you suggest), should be treated BETTER if they "voluntarily self-correct their errant ways."

You then ignore the evidence of DECLINING performance (after a brief period of improvement), you minimize what you characterize as NONCOMPLIANCE and you claim, quite implausibly, SELF CORRECTION based on this:

1. for 2016, Golden Gate reported 152/149/146 up from 151/148/145 in 2015;

2. for 2016, Whittier reported 149/146/144, down from 150/148/146 in 2015.

Aside from the fact that it is really strained to claim that these differences are material and will account for better performance of these law schools' graduates on the bar (JUST LOOK AT THE ACTUAL BAR PASS RESULTS!!!!), the evidence isn't even uniformly what you say it is ("self correction")! Your evidence of "self correction" is self contradictory!

Above the Law recently reported as follows:

"Here’s a list we’ve created of pass rates for first-time takers on the July 2016 administration of the exam for all 21 ABA-accredited ...
•Golden Gate: 31 percent ...
•Thomas Jefferson: 31 percent
•Whittier: 22 percent"

YOu say you have no affiliation or interests in Golden Gate. Can you say that you are not applying for any position there or at other law schools? Of course, there would be nothing wrong with you doing so.

That said, is it not fair to ask, given that the last we heard from you, we appear to have learned, if memory serves correctly (and correct me if this is wrong) that you were actually representing persons vis a vis a subject of your prior posts?

If you are commenting and posting and advocating not only as an objective observer, but instead as a lawyer and a job seeker, is it not fair to question the reason you seem to focus more on some schools than others? Your choices should be transparent. If you have no such conflicts, then for one, I would take your word for it and be done with the inquiry. I am not accusing you of any impropriety: I just wonder about your choices and would be reassured if you simply let readers know that you have no personal stake in targeting or not certain law schools for your "educated guesses."

It is conceded that you have attempted to explain the reasons for your focus above. However, these explanations seem a bit thin, frankly, and it would help to clear the air if your stake, if any, was either disclaimed or acknowledged.

(BTW, I would still read your posts with interest even if you do disclose a stake. I haven't reached any conclusion that a stake would make posting here "wrong" in any sense. And, a stake also wouldn't make you wrong, in the accuracy sense. But, sir, it is relevant, no?


BTW, one could legitimately question the reason that a person posting anonymously would question the disclosure by a person who isn't.

Fair question. The answer is that, were I to come forward and offer myself as a candidate for Dean of a law school, associate with LST, acquire posting privileges on the FL, and repeatedly post about law schools subject to various levels of scrutiny, then I would say that I had held myself out as an expert and that others could legitimately ask about my interests.

Not every person asking a public figure about such interests, however, should be required to so the same. It is the level of voluntarily putting oneself on the line that separates the two I think.

SOme will say that the anonymous commentator is a coward. Others might say no one would dare ask such impolite questions otherwise.

Either way, this site permits it. And, David can delete the comments as he sees fit.

David Frakt

anon -

I am not currently a candidate for Dean at any law school and have not been for some time. I did not apply for the Deanship at Thomas Jefferson or Golden Gate. The only law school position that I applied for recently for which I may still be under consideration was a position related to public interest law at the University of Virginia. (Probably I didn't get that one either since I interviewed in December and haven't heard anything back.) I have represented faculty members at Concordia Law School (settled), Indiana Tech Law School (settled) and Charlotte Law (settled on behalf of one faculty member, in discussions about representing another). My opinions about which schools are likely to be subject to sanction (which is slightly different from those schools which deserve to be subject to sanction) is not affected by my representation of any individuals or any other interests.

David Frakt

Elizabeth K. - I will reply to you privately.



Thank you. I consider that issue no longer an issue.

Captain Hurska Carswell, Continuance King

I don't see what the problem is here. A lot of people are on probation. They drop clean and don't pick up anything too serous and they "beat their case." It's beautiful.

Deep State Speical Legal Counsel

This post gave me a serious case of acute ear worm. "Moved to Arizona from Babalonia, King Tut, DO DO DO. If I attended this law school, I would have shopped at Unpainted Arizona for my dorm room furniture.

Anon JD/MD

Elizabeth K.,

I doubt the DOE is going to terminate Arizona Summit’s access to the student loan program like they did to Charlotte, now that Betsy DeVos is in charge. I can’t imagine the ABA will terminate Arizona Summit’s accreditation before you graduate. I’m not aware of the ABA ever terminating accreditation. Unless you have a job lined up already or are planning to go solo, I would be more concerned about how legal employers will view you with a degree from a school that has been put on probation by the ABA. The job prospects are already poor. In 2015, over 20% of graduates from Arizona Summit were unemployed. Only 40% found full time, long term, bar passage required employment. How will employers react to the latest problems at Arizona Summit?

I feel for you because I’m like you. I went to a non-elite law school in the early 2000s because it was close to home. All law schools claimed 99% of grads obtained jobs and private practice salaries averaged $100,000. So I didn’t think it mattered where I went to law school. It appeared all grads got jobs. I graduated long before the market collapsed. Despite having good grades and working as an editor on my school’s law review, I was rejected for every big law firm, judicial clerkship, small law firm, federal, state, prosecutor, and public defender job I applied. I lost track of the number of resumes I sent out and the number of interviews I had. I went to job fairs where legal employers refused to even accept my resume. Many of my friends struggled to find work and had to go solo or they took non-legal jobs. The career services office was worthless and told me to keep applying to jobs. The next year, the school posted the same bogus employment numbers.

So I went to medical school after that. Other people I know got MBAs, became police officers, or pursued other careers. Funny how the legal profession looked at me as a loser with a degree from a non-elite school. But I’m qualified to be a doctor.

My point is, you are entering into a highly competitive, elitist profession. Despite your intelligence, many legal employers will look down upon you because you went to Arizona Summit. I’m not saying it will be impossible to get a job in the legal profession. I’m just advising you to think long and hard about whether a degree from Arizona Summit will help you to enter the legal profession. And think about alternative careers.

Law Prof

Let's not forget Western State College of Law; a California law school "performing" on par with GGU, Western, and TJ.

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