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March 30, 2022


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Another problem, suggested by your post, is hiring decisions regarding ASP faculty. Offering a salary of $60,000 with no contractual stability limits the pool of applicants. You will not attract an experienced academic/ bar support instructor with those employment conditions. As a result, the successful candidate is learning the field as the clock ticks on producing students who can pass a bar exam.

Compounding this problem, hiring one or two such instructors, ostensibly to move the needle on 100+ students, is an unwise approach.

Taking academic/ bar support seriously has led to results. See Muller and Ryan's recent article with solid empirical evidence to support that point. Belmont comes to mind, but too few schools take that approach.

Another Law Professor

AnonProf could not be more accurate. Law schools get confused and think another JD from Y,S,H will move them up in USN+WR. They skimp on ASP and bar--programs that actually help students, in order to pay for more podium profs they think will get them in the first tier. Get your students through 3 years and pass the bar, then invest in more Y,S,H grads.

David Frakt

Anon and ALP - I was thinking about law schools failing in terms of going out of business, but there are plenty of law schools that are still operating that are failing some of their students, or at least not doing as much for their students chances of success as they could be. For example, several law schools routinely underperform on the bar exam based on the entrance credentials of their students; this suggests they are failing the students in terms of their educational program. I will address bar pass results in a future post. In the meantime, if other readers have thoughts on how law schools are failing to be the best they could be, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Greg Sergienko

David, I am sorry to see you write that the problem at Concordia was student admissions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Concordia students attained a cumulative bar passage rate of 100% two years in a row, tying it with Yale for best in the country, and better than all other law schools.

The real problem with Concordia was a deal with HotChalk entered into by university-level management that gave HotChalk a large share of tuition revenue. Lawsuits are pending on this. The Oregonian has coverage on this, and you and others can read about it there.

I am, of course, speaking for myself, and not as a representative of Concordia or any other institution.

David Frakt

Greg - great to hear from you and thanks for the clarification. I have edited the post to remove this assertion. I can't seem to find the numbers for 2013, Concordia's inaugural class, but Concordia's numbers in 2014 were respectable at 157/152/149. Nevertheless, the school was still denied provisional accreditation that year. After that, the admissions standards dropped steadily. 2015: 154/150/146. 2016: 151/149/145. 2017: 151/147/144. In fact, in 2017, Concordia made my bottom 10 least selective law schools list with a bottom 25% LSAT of 144. Concordia made my bottom 10 list again in 2018 at 6th place with LSATs of 151/148/144. After some initial issues with bar pass, Concordia did do very well on the bar for a couple of years as you note, but this was only after Idaho significantly lowered the bar cut score. So perhaps poor admissions standards did not contribute to Concordia's ultimate decision to close, but a steady decline in admissions standards and being mired in the bottom 10 is hardly a recipe for success either.

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