The American Bar Association put Arizona Summit Law School on probation Monday for a variety of issues, including low passage rates on the bar exam and the school's admission policies.I want not to criticize a law school that obviously knows what it's doing. Staying in business at least thirteen years is a proud achievement for a small business, buoyed by delusions of greatness and scandalous federal loan programs or not.
The bar, in a letter on Monday, said that Arizona Summit is out of compliance regarding admission practices, academic standards, and support and bar passage.
The letter says the law school is now in a position where "only immediate and substantial action can bring about sufficient change to put the Law School on a realistic path back to being in compliance within the time allowed."
But sometimes I think law school marketing has got it partially wrong. Maybe, instead of everyone trying to be Harvard, we need a mix of law schools, diversifying the types of legal education available to America's future Justice League.
Just as any public high school worth its cheap tile flooring and rotating staff of soon-deflated freshmen English teachers has social cliques, maybe the law school community should have cliques of its own.
Just as Harvard and Yale are the snooty rich kids, schools like Arizona Summit and Charlotte can be the bad boy rebels who don't give a fuck. Perhaps one of the problems with such "toilet schools" is that they pretend to be something they're not, namely honor roll students with still-marrired parents and functional health insurance.
But law school needs diversity. If aspiring lawyers want to go to a law school that smokes at lunch and has taken up armchair nihilism with a wardrobe of black clothes, they should be allowed to enroll enroll enroll For such schools, probation would not be a mark of shame, but a worthy accomplishment.
For bottom-rung law schools feeling an enrollment pinch, it's hard to see the downside. Stop merely being bad, and start acting bad. Own it, fifth tier. Be bold. Be true to yourself. Drop out and get an 8th-grader pregnant. Many kids no doubt want to go to Harvard and Yale and, like, make money for the corporate-government meritocratic-o-matic. But others obviously are willing to take on unpayable debts and tattoo their resumes with bad-assery.
They should have a law school, too, and you can sell to them. Instead of saying "probation, oh no!" spit in the ABA's face, grow your hair out, and give the proverbial middle finger of admitting a thousand more underqualified prospects to have window seats on the Million Dollar Express.