ABA legal ed section denies Florida Coastal’s nonprofit application; more info needed from school -

Legal Education

An application for InfiLaw’s Florida Coastal School of Law to convert to a nonprofit was recently denied by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

“There are additional items the council needed to be submitted in order to grant acquiescence. We believe we will have those items to the council prior to the November meeting,” Peter Goplerud, an InfiLaw executive, told the ABA Journal in an email.

Goplerud also confirmed that Scott DeVito, the for-profit school’s dean, is no longer employed by the law school.

“We have a lot of respect for Dean DeVito, but the conversion to not-for-profit has been long and arduous,” Goplerud said. “We remain committed to that path.”

The InfiLaw Corp., an entity of the private equity company Sterling Capital Partners, had three law schools until recently. But Florida Coastal is the only one that remains open and not operating under a teach-out plan. The law schools, in separate lawsuits, sued the ABA in May 2018 regarding accreditation findings. By April, all the law schools agreed to dismiss the actions.

Florida Coastal is the only InfiLaw campus that has not been placed on probation by the ABA legal ed section’s council. In 2017, the council found that the law school was “significantly out of compliance” with various standards regarding admissions and legal education programs. But by May, the council found that the school had demonstrated compliance with the standards in question.

According to Florida Coastal’s Standard 509 Information Report for 2018, its median LSAT score is 150; the median undergraduate GPA is 3.14. The document showed a total of 207 students. For the class of 2016, the ultimate bar passage rate was 64.54%, according to ABA data. In 2018, the law school had 185 first-time test takers, and the pass rate was 56.76%.

Also in August, the ABA legal ed section’s council accepted Michigan State University College of Law’s application to fully integrate with Michigan State University. Despite its name, the law school is a private, stand-alone school. It’s been affiliated with MSU since 1995, but it is a separate legal entity and is fiscally independent, Dean Lawrence Ponoroff previously told the ABA Journal.

Hat tip to Faculty Lounge.