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Charleston School of Law Flirts with InfiLaw
The Charleston School of Law has been in the market to merge and is looking for another school to combine with. Some would like to see the institution merge with the publically funded College of Charleston, but the Charleston School of Law is also talking to InfiLaw. The Florida based company InfiLaw is a for profit law school that has a reputation, according to republican representative Stephen Goldfinch, “as a diploma mill,” according to the Charleston city paper. Goldfinch continues by saying that he wouldn’t want that institution with its terrible reputation in his locality. “We want the utmost integrity, and the best lawyers we can get,” he comments.
The Charleston School of Law clearly has a decision to make. The school can continue with InfiLaw, the company that owns three for profit law schools in Phoenix, Charlotte, and Jacksonville or merge with the College of Charleston and become a part of a public non-profit institution. Students are in uproar. They are fleeing the school and transferring in drovers. They don’t want their credits associated with a school that has been handing out degrees to whoever can take out loans fast enough. Even the discussion with the infamous institution has caused prospective students to turn away.
For profit law institutions are accused of padding their numbers and of manipulating the truth. For example, Florida Coastal School of Law attracted prospective students with their high employment rates for postgraduates, at around 90 percent. What they didn’t specify, was what type of employment graduates form their school had attained, be it babysitting, or working in the mailroom of a law office. Former and current students have sued the Florida Coastal school of Law for fraud. Ultimately the plaintiffs feel that if the school were honest about the percentage of graduates who attained full time permanent positions for which a JD was required, their employment rates for graduates would probably be below 40 percent.
InfiLaw’ CEO, Rick Inatome believe that the lawsuit is “without merit” and he feels that an independent firm audits the schools numbers, and that everything is consistent with the ABA and the Dept. of Education. The lawyer representing the group suing the Florida Coastal School of Law realizes that “its an industry wide problem” and that for profit educational institutions are ubiquitous.
InfiLaw’s CEO declined to comment on whether money would be exchanged with the Charleston School of Law, or the details of his agreement with the school. He did however say that “any comments about the future of our relationship with [the] Charleston School of Law would be speculative.”
Below are a few charts with data from the Law School Admissions Council which illustrate how the University of South Carolina School of Law and the Charleston School of Law compares to InfiLaw’s three schools, the Florida Coastal School of Law and the Phoenix School of Law, and InfiLaw’s average.