“Charlotte’s the largest US city without a law school,” reads the headline in the Charlotte Observer. Elon University filed paperwork with the ABA seeking approval to expand its existing Greensboro law school into Charlotte. On the one hand, the world needs lawyers and prospective students in Charlotte currently have no options other than the six other law schools in the state including Elon’s existing campus. On the other hand, law schools are university cash cows. At least one of these motivations drives this application.
But have we all forgotten what happened last time?
There used to be a Charlotte School of Law. It struggled for years, had some of the worst bar passage rates ever (along with Elon for what it’s worth!), lost its access to federal loans, needed to set up a food bank to feed students, the dean they hired to turn it around quit after a month, saw its accreditation imperiled and used Paul Clement to sue the ABA for having “standards,” before the STATE had to step in and yank its license, ultimately ending the school “effective immediately.”
Thanks, Obama! (No, seriously, one of the loonier excuses out there tried to pin the school’s failures on Obama).
Now, Elon University might prove a more capable steward than InfiLaw — the for-profit education company that ran the erstwhile Charlotte school as well as a couple other failed law schools. But it’s possible that this isn’t a question of management. With relatively lax admission standards, Charlotte School of Law still couldn’t get the critical mass together to sustain itself as a law school churning out graduates in a position to secure a license and practice law.
Should we consider that the market for prospective attorneys interested in North Carolina law schools might already be served? Or should we embark on the resource intensive project of expanding a law school that boasts a bar passage barely over 50 percent?
Y’all have been watching the law school industry long enough to know what’s gonna happen.
Earlier: Zombie Law School Sued By Students
Students Suing Failed For-Profit Law School Reach Shockingly Low Settlement Due To Parent Company’s Financial Straits
Another Terrible Law School Has Sued The ABA For Pointing Out That It’s Terrible
Charlotte Law Needs A Food Bank For Students
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.