Paul L. Caron

Saturday, June 4, 2016

InfiLaw And The Three Myths Used to Justify Predatory Law School Admission Practices

InfiLaw (2016)David Frakt (Law Office of David Frakt, Orlando, FL), Three Myths Used to Justify Predatory Admission Practices — The Instructive Example of InfiLaw:

For some time now, I have been warning of the catastrophic consequences of admitting students with very poor LSAT scores and correspondingly low grades because such students are at very high risk of failing the bar even if they manage to make it through law school.  The plummeting bar passage statistics from the last several administrations of the bar exam have borne out these warnings.

The Law Schools engaged in these irresponsible admission practices have offered a variety of explanations for admitting significant numbers of students with very low indicators.  These explanations of what are really exploitative admission practices typically fall into three general categories or themes, which I call the “Magic Formula Myth” the “Miracle Worker Myth” and the “Fairness Through Failure Myth.” Often, predatory law schools will use these themes in combination. ...

Although many law schools have been using one or more of the myths above to justify their admission practices in recent years, far and away the biggest promoter of these myths are the InfiLaw law schools: Charlotte Law School, Florida Coastal School of Law, and Arizona Summit School of Law.  As a group, these schools, which have very similar corporate headquarters-driven admissions practices,  have enrolled more very high risk students than any other three law schools combined in the country over the past five years.  The admissions departments at these schools, the marketing materials from these schools,  senior administrators at these schools and InfiLaw corporate spokespeople all have utilized the themes discussed above both to aggressively recruit unqualified students and to defend the admissions practices of InfiLaw schools against critics like me.  The recent bar examination results of InfiLaw graduates demonstrate why none of these mythical justifications should be believed. ...

The combined first-time pass rate of InfiLaw graduate in their home states on the February bar was 35.7% (79/221).  Although some of these 142 J.D. holders will eventually pass the bar, most of them probably will not.  (The pass rate for repeat takers from low performing schools is typically about half the first-time pass rate for  that graduating class.)  This is a massive human tragedy caused directly by corporate greed.  And it is only going to get worse, as the 2014 and 2015 entering classes at InfiLaw schools were even weaker than the 2011, '12 and '13 entering classes.  It is high time for the ABA to step in and put a stop to the exploitative admission practices of InfiLaw and the other schools peddling these admission myths.

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Ruster, it's not just the for profits that would collapse without federal loans. I wouldn't be surprised if half the law schools went out of business.

Posted by: PaulB | Jun 7, 2016 10:15:37 AM

I've always wondered where the for-profits would go if Uncle Sam pulled the plug on unlimited, no-questions-asked, federal student loans.

Posted by: Old Ruster from JDJunkyard | Jun 6, 2016 2:58:41 PM

Florida Coastal had a 60 percent bar pass rate in July 2015. Not too shabby.

Many of the rest will probably pass on the second or third try. Maybe "UNE" is misinterpreting what he thinks the LSAT predicts.

Posted by: data | Jun 6, 2016 2:16:59 PM

One wonders if "data" can put data in context; notably the Infilaw schools' median LSAT scores in the low 140s (and 25th percentile scores knocking on the 130s) in relation to ABA Standard 316 regarding bar passage (generally speaking, >75% of grads who take a bar must pass it) & studies showing that below the mid-140s, students are very unlikely to ever pass a bar exam, and ABA Standard 501(b) "A law school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing
its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar."

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 6, 2016 8:10:14 AM

The July pass rates, when most students sit for the bar, are much higher than the February pass rates. I could see taking the weighted average of both rates or only using the July rate--since that's the main event--but only using the February could be misleading.

Posted by: data | Jun 5, 2016 7:08:01 AM

JFK Jr flunked the NY Bar before passing, maybe he flunked it twice. Keep on trying! He proved ANYONE with half a brain can do it.

Posted by: CE BURKE, Esq | Jun 5, 2016 1:23:28 AM

This Sterling Partners really knows how to exploit lower functioning, weaker members of society. One of their investments is a MISA program. For you folks not schooled in social service, I will explain. It is for dually diagnosed folks, typically with substance abuse and some form of mental health/illness issues. MISA stands for Mental Illness Substance Abuse. They are typically non-profit programs. These cool dudes found a way to make a profit from it. God Bless America.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jun 4, 2016 1:40:38 PM

Infilaw is owned by Sterling Partners, a private equity investor group. If you go to their website, you will notice photos of their investors, principals, staff, founders and four dudes sitting at couches discussing their pile of money. One guy has his feet propped up on the table. How quaint. At its Arizona property, Infini law touts DIVERSITY, Diversity is the selling point. Those photos at Sterling don't appear very racially diverse to me. Spike Lee, a gifted film maker broached the subject of exploiting diversity for profits. He profiled a fried chicken franchise shilling a Gospel Pack. Same thing Sterling is doing here.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jun 4, 2016 12:41:42 PM