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Charlotte School of Law Official Caught on Tape Admitting Bar Passage Scheme
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Summary: A new recording has shed light on Charlotte School of Law’s questionable strategy to increase bar passage numbers.  

An explosive new audio leak has shown the tricks Charlotte School of Law did to boost their bar passage rates. The troubled law school was already under scrutiny by the American Bar Association for its low admission standards and a bar passage rate that was just as dismal.


Charlotte School of Law consistently had the poorest pass rate in North Carolina, and the school’s official passage rate for first-time students on the February 2015 bar exam was listed as 42%. However, damning audio obtained by WFAE showed that the school’s actual rate would have been in the 20s if school administrators hadn’t concocted a way to increase their numbers.

In a secret recording made by a Charlotte professor in 2015 (click here for the audio), the school’s assistant dean for student success, Odessa Alm, admitted to a group of faculty members that they worked to defer 21 students from taking the test in order to not end up with the horrendous statistic.

“You know if we didn’t have the extended program last time – if we all didn’t work really hard to defer the 21 people we deferred, our pass rate would have been 20-something percent,” Alm stated on the tape.

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The school allegedly pushed faculty to divert troubled graduates into a deferral program that also paid them almost $11,200. While optimists could say that the intention was to help students in need, many in the legal world see the gesture as trying to hide that the school doesn’t prepare its graduates to actually become working lawyers.

Former Charlotte School of Law professor Andrew McAdams spoke with the Charlotte Observer about how the school pressured faculty to encourage at-risk students to participate in the Path to Success bar deferral program instead of taking the bar after graduation. He said that he felt uncomfortable giving that advice.

“I didn’t feel comfortable approaching them, but the expectation was that we would approach them. And I felt like if this is something we’re doing, I think for transparency purposes, it should be documented and we should be able to communicate, this is what it is,” McAdams said.

While this recording is shocking, the school has been battling a poor reputation for quite some time. Charlotte School of Law is a for-profit university owned by the Infilaw Law School System, which The Atlantic called a “scam” and “predatory.”

“[InfiLaw School officials] are now admitting huge numbers of students with credentials including lower LSAT scores and GPAs that would have barred them from getting into these schools three years ago,” The Atlantic wrote in 2015. “The admissions process at the InfiLaw schools is now close to a fully open-enrollment system, that inevitably matriculates many people who have little chance of ever passing a bar exam.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Education said that the school’s students would no longer be eligible to receive federal student loans because of its performance issues. In November, the ABA placed Charlotte on probation because it was not compliant with ABA standards.

When asked about the leaked tape, Charlotte School of Law stated that the topic is dealing with pending litigation so they could not comment. The school is facing a class action lawsuit brought on by students who said they were misled into enrolling.


Photo courtesy of WSOC-TV

Source: WFAE

What do you think of Alm’s comments? Let us know in the comments below.


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