‘At-Risk’ Law Students: A New Norm?

Law School Transparency and other legal experts are calling for more accountability from schools, the ABA, and even the federal government

Law School Transparency and other legal experts are calling for more accountability from schools, the ABA, and even the federal government

INFILAW SCHOOLS LEADING ‘BRAIN DRAIN’

To be sure, the six for-profit schools are largely to blame. Specifically, the three Infilaw schools of Arizona Summit Law School, Charlotte Law School, and Florida Coastal School of Law are targeted. “The Infilaw-owned schools enrolled classes consisting of between 75% and 100% at-risk students,” the report points out.

This comes days after University of Colorado School of Law professor, Paul Campos, called the schools a ‘scam‘ for the second year in a row. Infilaw’s schools are pumping out graduates who paid for a large majority of their degrees with federal loans and little means of finding gainful employment. Taxpayers, Campos claims, will have to foot the bill of federal loans that will remain unpaid.

The report also states why this will likely be the case. “For-profit school graduates have lower bar passage rates, worse job rates, and more debt. For-profit schools also graduate a higher percentage of students with debt and receive more total federal student loans on a per-school basis than public or private schools,” the report says.

“Based on available salary data from serious risk schools, graduates from these programs cannot service their debts without generous federal hardship programs. Even top earners at the more affordable schools face economic difficulty; the rest range from economic difficulty to catastrophe,” the report continues.

STRICTER ABA REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL LOAN CAPS

The report and Campos both call for stricter regulations for ABA-accreditation, federal loan caps, and more school accountability. “As long as the bar exam guards entrance to the legal profession, law schools should be held accountable for enrolling students who face significant risk of not passing that exam,” the report states.

But for now, at least, it appears Moeser is right and this will be the ‘new normal’ for a while.

“Bar passage rates will drop significantly over the next three years, leaving thousands deep in debt with few prospects for employment that will enable them to pay off their debt. These bar pass rates will not satisfy students or the public; neither will they reflect well on law schools and the legal profession,” the report concludes.

“We expect many schools to claim that they are placing bets on students seeking opportunities other schools won’t provide, but the reality is that these schools are placing a bet that the profession, accreditors, and government will stand idly by.”

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