Students Sue Charlotte Law School for $5 Million

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on December 23, 2016 3:00 PM

If Charlotte School of Law reopens for the spring semester, a different class will be facing administrators: a class action.

Students Robert Barchiesi and Lejla Hadzic have sued the law school for taking tuition without telling students that the school was on probation for failing education standards. The American Bar Association cited the school in July for substandard admissions practices, which contributed to consistently low bar pass rates, and ordered administrators to advise its students.

In the class action filed Friday, the students say the school did not comply with the ABA's order and instead covered up their failures so they could take in more money. The law school charges about $60,000 a year in tuition and fees.

"If CSL had complied with its obligations, then it would have resulted in students not paying CSL tuition on or after Aug. 1, and defendants would have incurred substantial financial losses," according to the complaint, which alleges deceptive and unfair trade practices, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.

For-Profit, for Now

Days earlier, the U.S. Department of Education revoked federal student loans for Charlotte and accused president Chidi Ogene of misrepresenting the school's performance. CSL students received almost $50 million in federal loans during the 2015-16 school year.

The embattled law school has a high acceptance rate and a low bar pass rate, yet charges more than many higher-ranked schools. It ranks 195th overall among 208 law schools ranked nationally.

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 can become lawyers without preparing them for the reality.

For now, Charlotte students are facing the possibility that school may really be out.

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