Does the thought of taking the bar exam fill you with dread? Could you use an extra $5,000? Depending on what law school you go to, you might be in luck. According to reports from Above the Law and the National Legal Journal, three schools owned by the ever-infamous Infilaw are allegedly paying their graduates $5,000 to not take the bar exam. But it’s not just any graduates—these are the ones who will make theiralready bad bar passage rates worse.
In a recently filed lawsuit, Paula Lorona, a former assistant director for financial aid at Arizona Summit Law School, alleges that starting in May 2014, all three of Infilaw’s schools—Arizona Summit, Charlotte, and Florida Coastal—began paying students with a lower chance of passing the bar $5,000 to delay the exam until they’ve received additional test prep.
But just how do they identify students unlikely to pass? Turns out, there’s a formula for that. According to the lawsuit, Arizona Summit developed a “bar exam failure predictor formula” that takes into account students’ LSAT score, undergraduate GPA, and law school GPA. Essentially, they are gaming the bar passage rates for American Bar Association benefits and higher rankings.
“I needed to file this suit because I feel the school and Infilaw know they are taking advantage of students and potentially ruining students’ lives by saddling them with debt when they won’t be able to complete the program,” Lorona told the National Law Journal.
Indeed, the in-state bar passage rates for July 2014 test takers was abysmal—55% for Arizona Summit, 56% for Charlotte, and 58% for Florida Coastal. Lorona also accused the school of deceptive marketing. For example, some marketing brocures said the school had an 86% bar passage rate but the fine print clearly states that rate is for the Arizona bar and includes “first or subsequent” attempts.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t take fine print reading skills to comprehend attending an Infilaw school is probably not a good idea.
Source: Above the Law
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