After the American Bar Association (ABA) placed the Charlotte School of Law on probation for what they considered to be overly lax admissions standards, a chain reaction was started which climaxed in the Department of Education announcing that the law school had lost its eligibility for students at the school to receive federal loans and other funds. In most states it is a requirement that a student complete their legal education at an ABA accredited school in order to be eligible to sit for the state’s bar exam and practice as an Attorney.
Law school has traditionally been seen as a ticket to wealth and prestige in the United States and students for years paid ever increasing tuition and borrowed large sums for the privilige to attend. According to ABA data, that changed after 2004, the year in which applications to ABA accredited law schools peaked at just over 100,000. For sever years application dipped only slightly each year – in 2010 there were still 88,000 applications – but after the recession applications fell more dramatically and in the most recent period tracked (2015) a total of 54,000 students applied to law school. The number of law schools, on the other hand, has not decreased. Today, the total stands at 204 across the country and in 2004 was 200.
Declining enrollment trends have forced law schools to make difficult choices between lowering admissions standards or admitting fewer students and reducing costs to offset the lower enrollment. Average LSAT scores of admitted students (the LSAT is a standardized test for admittance to law school) has fallen marginally in recent years but is still currently about 156. The median of 144 at the Charlotte Law School has been declining as well. Only about 46% of its students pass the North Carolina bar exam.
The law school was founded in 2oo6 and owned by a private equity firm that also owns law schools in Arizona and Florida.
For the time being, the current students of the school will suffer the most if the school cannot remain open or if students can no longer fund their education there. One possibility could be a so called “teach out” plan where instructors from other Universities visit the school so current students can complete their degrees.