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Charlotte School of Law Is Expiring

For Charlotte School of Law, the funeral march started a year ago.

It began when the American Bar Association suspended its accreditation. Then the Department of Education stopped its federal student loans. Now its license as an educational institution has expired.

"[T]o ensure that CSL does not inadvertently run afoul of North Carolina law, we have taken down the school's website to avoid any perception that we may be engaged in unauthorized conduct," the law school president and dean told students in an email.

So that's it. The bitter end.

Now What?

State Attorney General Josh Stein said his office will make sure the school does not continue to operate without a license.

"I want to express my disappointment for the students and their families affected by Charlotte School of Law's failure," Stein said in a statement. "While good lawyers have graduated from Charlotte School of Law, the school too often failed to deliver for its students."

Even so, the law school told students it would confer degrees and post course credit to students who completed requirements before its license expired. The school said it will also "undertake non-degree related activities and various administrative functions to assist students, such as processing transcripts and providing career and counseling services."

The school said nothing about financial help, despite earlier reports that the Department of Education would restore funding if the school put up $6 million in collateral and refunded students' tuition. However, Bloomberg reported that students may cancel their student loan debt because the school is closing.

Last Gasp

The handwriting has been on the wall for years, as media reports have laid out the desperate state of for-profit law schools and the students who go there.

Charlotte opened in 2004 as part of The InfiLaw System, a consortium of for-profit law schools that includes Florida Coastal School of Law and Arizona Summit Law School. In an expose by the Atlantic, the schools were cited as examples of the "law school scam" that sells students on the idea that they can become lawyers without preparing them for the reality.

It is the ugliest underbelly of measures that law schools have taken during economic challenges facing legal education. Many have lowered admissions standards; some have produced lower bar pass rates; and others have simply closed.

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