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Arizona Summit Law School Escapes Fraud Claims

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 04, 2017 12:13 PM

'Follow the money.'

That's a holdover quote from the Watergate scandal that bought down the President of the United States, and it means that the money trail leads to a motive. In the case of Arizona Summit Law School, the trail leads to InfiLaw Systems, a for-profit consortium of three law schools.

They won a legal battle this week, when a federal judge dismissed a fraud claim by a former employee and student alleging the Arizona law school misrepresented incoming students' grades and admission test scores. However, the judge said the plaintiff may continue her suit against the school for wrongful discharge and other claims.

While the case will proceed without further allegations about the law school's admission policies, they are central to a much bigger war for InfiLaw. All of its law schools -- Arizona, Charlotte School of Law, and Florida Coastal School of Law -- are fighting for their lives based on similar claims.

Won the Battle, but Not the War

In North Carolina, Charlotte has been placed on probation by the American Bar Association based on flawed admissions policies and failing to prepare students to pass the bar exam. Students have filed a class action lawsuit against the law school for misleading them to rake in tuition.

In Florida, students filed a similar class-action against Florida Coastal. And in an expose by the Atlantic, all three 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.

While the lawsuits and bad press have rocked InfiLaw, the federal government probably dealt a knock-out punch to one of its law schools last month. The U.S. Department of Education has revoked funding student loans to Charlotte for misleading students and others about the school's performance.

Last Round for Charlotte?

Last week, Charlotte administrators offered to transfer existing students to its sister school in Florida. According to reports, Charlotte is not accepting new students for the upcoming semester.

Meanwhile, the Arizona case will continue with allegations that the law school there fired the plaintiff for complaining about allegedly using false advertising and about the inability of many students to succeed in school and pass the bar. In her suit, the plaintiff said InfiLaw's schools pay poorly performing students $5,000 to delay taking the bar exam in order to prop up low bar-passage rates.

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