Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ohio State Professor Strikes Back for InfiLaw

If there's one thing I have to tell you about InfiLaw, it's that empires don't fall easily.  Yesterday afternoon, Prof. Steven Davidoff (Ohio State/Moritz) struck a blow for InfiLaw in the New York Times.  Put on your shades, kids, 'cause these gems are brilliant:
The complaints that InfiLaw operates schools of lower quality than Charleston seem overheated. 
In fact, InfiLaw’s statistics for its students are largely comparable to Charleston’s for tuition, salaries, jobs, low loan default rates and passage of the bar. Not only that, but InfiLaw has a track record of improving schools....
With everyone looking to profit, the private equity accusation may be shorthand for a more real fear about the acquisition — that a private equity firm will lower standards. InfiLaw has a broader focus and appears much more willing to admit students with lower scores on the Law School Admission Test.
Lost among the dispute is the fact that a lower-tier law school like Charleston — whoever owns it — can not only produce capable graduates but help students start careers they couldn’t have without a law degree.
InfiLaw will not be Harvard, but for those who go in with open eyes, it may be a path to being a lawyer. The point is really to make sure that students know the costs and benefits before they matriculate so they can make a sound judgment about whether to attend. In other words, if InfiLaw or Charleston cannot provide an education that helps students obtain jobs, then presumably students will know and not attend. 

As Professor Davidoff eloquently points out, Charleston Law School was doing just fine in terms of training lawyers, EXCEPT that its owners were making too much money at the expense of students.  InfiLaw can add more bang for the buck while improving the law school and allowing for easier access to justice, all while operating in a free market of caveat emptor-minded, sharp consumers.

InfiLaw may have withdrawn its application, but the war is hardly over.  Read Sun Tzu, people.

A lesser writer may have argued that Charleston Law School has no reason for continued existence and that the school should fold while having the legislature seek reciprocal in-state perks at Georgia and North Carolina schools to satisfy any demand that USC cannot meet.  A lesser writer may have pointed out that neither Charleston nor InfiLaw's slate of schools are reasonable options for anyone, for-profit or non-profit or whatever.  A lesser writer may have raised the actual market demand for lower-tier law graduates.

Thankfully, Prof. Davidoff hasn't bought into the cynicism.  While he sees that students may have been paying too much, he understands the need for large secondary law schools in a small state and encourages a market-driven, caveat emptor approach.  Why, if the judges could profit handsomely, InfiLaw should get a turn.  Heck, InfiLaw could make it better.

Look, I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and by gum it put them on the map!

'Merica.  Free Market.  Diversity.  Openness.  Think of the students.  Scam on.


  1. "presumably students will know and not attend"

    All right then, let's help some students know about InfiLaw and not attend its schools.

  2. Stephen Davidoff is a a dolt, if he believes - for a second - that a for profit corporation which operates several FOURTH TIER diploma mills is going to provide "more bang for the buck." Does this ass-clown think that Infilaw is going to willingly reduce tuition?!?!

  3. There you have it.

    "track record of improving schools" = "willing to admit students with lower scores"