“The Rooster Bar” is John Grisham’s new book, and it’s a sharp jab at for-profit law schools for exacerbating the enormous debt load law students are shouldering. The Foggy Bottom Law School is the focus of his novel, which, thankfully, is fictitious. But here’s a look at the real-deals accredited by the American Bar Association, some of which Grisham has said inspired his newly published work. Read on, and you’ll see why.
Arizona Summit Law School
Grads with Full-time, Long Term, J.D. Required Jobs: 38%*
Graduating Class Size: 221
The bar pass rate at the Phoenix-based school for the July exam was 26 percent, according to news website AZCentral. The statewide pass rate in Arizona was 69 percent. The ABA put the school on accreditation probation in March for its admissions practices and academics standards. The school is affiliated with nonprofit Bethune-Cookman University.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School
Grads with Full-time, Long Term, J.D. Required Jobs: 35%
Graduating Class Size: 143
Earlier this month, the ABA sent the school a letter informing the school that it was “significantly out of compliance” with accreditation requirements, specifically admissions policies, according to Above the Law. The school’s student loan default rate in 2014 was among the highest among free-standing law schools, at 2.3 percent, the ABA Journal reported last month.
Charleston School of Law
Grads with Full-time, Long Term, J.D. Required Jobs: 53%
Graduating Class Size: 141
In January, the school was identified by the ABA as failing on the Department of Education’s “gainful employment” list, imperiling its access to federal student loan money. It was removed from the “naughty list” in June, the Post Courier reported.
Charlotte School of Law
Grads with Full-time, Long Term, J.D. Required Jobs: 24%
Graduating Class Size: 340
Closed since August, the school is defending three class actions brought by former students who claim it misrepresented its ABA accreditation status and bar pass rates. Those cases were consolidated earlier this month in North Carolina, Bloomberg reported. At least 20 related state cases involving more 80 individual plaintiffs are pending.
Florida Coastal School of Law
Grads with Full-time, Long Term, J.D. Required Jobs: 36%
Graduating Class Size: 299
Like Atlanta’s John Marshall, Florida Coastal also received a letter this month from the ABA about its failure to comply with accreditation standards, including admissions policies, Above the Law reported. On the July Florida bar exam, 51.3 percent of its grads passed. The average Florida pass rate was 71.3.
Western State College of Law at Argosy University
Grads with Full-time, Long Term, JD Required Jobs: 33%
Graduating Class Size: 91
The Irvine, Calif., school received a “zone” rating by the Department of Education in January, meaning that it came close to missing the department’s “gainful employment” test. The school must pass that test at least once in the next four years to remain in the government’s good graces, Above the Law reported.
*Employment statistics are from the ABA and are based on 2016 graduates.