Charlotte School of Law FAQs
How might pursuing student loan forgiveness or forbearance affect my potential claim or my degree after I graduate?
This is a top concern for many CSL’s students.
Scholarships seem to have been a big draw for most students. Many sacrificed nearly everything they had to uproot lives and move to Charlotte only to feel like they had been lied to. Some lost their scholarship once they were enrolled. The reasons varied. Sometimes, the terms changed, sometimes the students never got a logical explanation of why they lost their scholarships.
We are currently evaluating whether pursuing loan forgiveness makes economic sense on an individual level. Feel free to contact us at any time for updates to this important topic and to discuss your unique circumstances.
Helpful DOE Resources:
DOE Student Loan Forgiveness Website — Explains loan discharge, cancellation, and forgiveness
DOE Phone Number: (855) 279-6207
Can I continue as a student at CSL and still receive a loan discharge?
You can continue as a student and still receive a loan discharge. However, the student borrower must be a victim of the school’s misconduct. (For more information about who is eligible for borrower's defense fund visit Who Qualifies for Borrower Defense to Repayment Loan Forgiveness).
We recommend you ask that any terms for forgiveness be put in writing.
Will I lose CSL credits if I file a Borrower's Defense Discharge/Claim and if I take the teach-out or transfer to another institution?
There are two types of discharges: a Closed School Discharge and a Borrower Defense Discharge.
When a Closed School Discharge is filed the borrower will lose all of his or her credits. This claim is filed when the institution has closed and the student was unable to complete the degree. The student must file within 120 days of the school's closure. At this time, current and former CSL students are not eligible for this discharge.
When a Borrower Defense Discharge is filed the borrower will not lose their credits. If this discharge is granted, it will only apply to loans incurred at the institution that broke the law. Should you choose to pursue your education at another institution, some credits earned at the violating school may not transfer to the new institution.
The student can file whether they take the teach-out option or transfer to another school.
Is there a deadline to file a Borrower's Defense claim?
There is no deadline to file this type of claim. You may file while in school or after you’ve graduated.
My parents took out a loan on my behalf. Do they have a case against the school?
No. If you owe your parents, you have a claim. However, your parents are not in privity with the school.
How long does it take the DOE to approve my request for forbearance or loan cancellation?
Click here for up to date information from the DOE website.
How long does it take for the DOE to stop the collections process?Click here for up to date information from the DOE website.
Filing a CSL Law Suit (Class Action vs Individual Claims)
If I am a current or former CSL student aren’t I automatically covered under the class action suit?
No, you are not automatically covered in a class action just because you are a CSL student.
At this time, there is no class action suit that has been certified. There are several hurdles to go through to get a class action certified in Federal Court, and sometimes it can take several years. It appears to us that the Charlotte School of Law case is unlikely to meet the requirements of the Federal Court’s rules for a class action.
Why are you filing individual lawsuits instead of a class action?
We are filing individual law suits instead of a class action suit for a number of reasons.
First, based on the types and variety of damages, we do not think a class action is in the best interests of individual students. Each student has unique damages. In a class action, damages are limited to what issues are dictated by the class definition. We have seen far too many wide-ranging harms and damages for a class. Secondly, because a class action must be filed in Federal Court and must be certified as a class, the case takes longer. A class action case could take three to five years to begin working on the substantive issues. Third, the individual suits we have filed are already progressing. Forth, individual claims allow every aggrieved student of CSL to actually participate in his or her case and not be “represented” by a class representative.
We are filing individual cases in NC State Superior Court. Because judges in the NC State Court system can band the cases together for discovery (similar to a mass tort) this process is much faster and it can save discovery costs, giving you a better potential return, if we are able to win your case for you.
If you were enrolled in 2014 and after, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 to confidentially discuss your individual circumstances. We are representing more than 200 for current and former CSL students.
Why 2014? At this time, we are confident that CSL knew of its “misleading and dishonest” actions in 2014. Therefore we are filing cases from 2014 to the present, first. Call us for up to date information. Our phones lines are open 24/7.
I was a CSL student before 2014. Can I file a claim?
The statute of limitations for fraud in North Carolina is three years, and the ABA began their investigation of the school in 2014. While there certainly did appear to be questions of fraud and misrepresentation prior to 2014, the issue is whether any cases prior to that will fall within the statute of limitations. At present, we are filing complaints from students who were enrolled at the school in 2014 and beyond. If you attended CSL before 2014 and believe you have a claim, contact us. If we believe you have a claim, we will take your case. As we proceed in discovery, we may find evidence to support filing a complaint for you. Call us for up to date information. Our phones lines are open 24/7.
Who are you filing suit against?
We have filed a lawsuit against 1) the Charlotte School of Law; 2) school administrators; 3) Infilaw; and 4) Sterling Partners, which is the financial consortium that profits from the school.
What will it cost me out of my pocket to hire James Scott Farrin to handle my case?
We are lawyers – and each of us has had to go through law school, take the Bar exam, look for a job, etc. All that is hard enough without the added stress of what Charlotte School of Law has put its students through!
We are so incensed by what we believe transpired at the Charlotte School of Law we have decided to waive any and all expenses if we are not successful in obtaining compensation for you.
If we are able to obtain compensation for you, our compensation would come directly from your award. So nothing comes out of your pocket up front. We also have the opportunity to seek attorney’s fees for defendants under Chapter 75 of the North Carolina Court Statutes for Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices.
Transferring Law Schools
I want to transfer but am concerned I will not be accepted to another school and that CSL will not cooperate. Additionally, now that my funding has been cut off I may not be able to afford to transfer.
Having spoken with hundreds of students, we’ve heard many anecdotal stories of the school refusing to release transcripts or retaliating against students who were trying to transfer.
The good news is some law schools are now reaching out and appear willing to work with CSL students as special transfers, given the circumstances.
Considerations are on a case by case basis.
CSL Grade Manipulation
I am concerned that my grades may have been manipulated.
We have had a number of students report a suspicion of false grades, grades not being submitted, and allegations of rigged grades. One student offered proof that the online service had not submitted his exam to the school, yet he received a final grade in the class. Others say the tests were supposed to be administered blind, but the professors would know which results belonged to which student even before the students told them their exam number. Some students have reported that multiple students would have the same blind number, and the “better” student would end up with the lower grade. Others report being curved down to push them just under the grade needed to maintain scholarships. Students have also shared with us that they were classed in different “sections” and had to be in the top 25% of their section for certain things, but that they suspected the sections were rigged.
Many students have reported to us that there was a mandatory fail rate of 10% per class regardless of performance.
I am concerned that if I file suit the school will retaliate against me.
We have had a number of students say they have faced retaliation when they raised specific issues about the school or openly discussed transferring or suing. We cannot control what CSL does and given the allegations, this is a concern. However, filing your claim gets the courts involved, and it is possible this involvement could discourage any potential retaliation by the school.
What types of alleged misrepresentation have students claimed?
Based on conversations we have had with hundreds of students, many claim they were told by CSL representatives that the school had an 80% Bar passage rate in N.C. and that out of state pass rates were “very high.” Some students told us they were paid a $5,000 stipend to take the Bar exam in February rather than July, which is the month the Bar uses to calculate passage rates. Some said they were told scholarships were guaranteed. When students learned about the ABA probation and the DOE funding cut-off, some told us school officials led them to believe that ABA probation was “normal” and that federal funding would resume. Some students have noted to us that some of the ownership members are on the ABA Board. When students learned about the ABA investigation, some told us school officials led them to believe the ABA investigation was part of the “normal” accreditation process. Even more recently, once federal funding was cut off, the school reportedly claimed they had negotiated a deal and were confident that federal funding would resume.
If you have questions about any misrepresentation, please contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.
Having spoken with hundreds of CSL students, we see a pattern across the board concerning misrepresentation, deception, misconduct, and fraudulent activity by CSL.
Bar Exam Ramifications
The Bar application requests that I list any litigation I am currently involved in.
Just because you have hired a lawyer does not mean you have engaged in litigation. Read the questions carefully. If you have hired us, call us and we can try to help you answer this question for your particular circumstances. Once we file your suit, you are involved in litigation and should report the case on your application. Currently we are representing more than 200 students, but we are being meticulous about when we file each claim.
Trial vs Settlements
Will I have to go to court?
If your case is scheduled for trial, you will have to go to court and will be expected to participate in your case. While we expect most cases will settle, we do expect a number of cases to go to trial, and the results of those cases will likely determine what happens.
Federal vs State Court
Why are you filing cases in State Court instead of Federal Court?
The Federal Court system takes a lot longer, is more costly, and damages must be formulaic to apply to all class members. By the time you would get to trial in Federal Court it could be three to five years. In State Court we are more likely to get full recovery for damages, should we prevail, and it is often quicker to try a case.
What are you hearing from students about the harms CSL has caused them?
We have spoken with hundreds of CSL students since December. The stories are heart-rending, and many are horrific. Here are is what students have told us that CSL claimed, as well as the circumstances many of the students – not just a few – tell us they have been subjected to.
- The school had an 80% Bar passage rate.
- The school’s Bar passage rate was #3 in state. According to The Charlotte Observer, CSL is the state’s largest law school with the poorest record of Bar graduates.
- The school’s out-of-state pass rate was high.
- The school had worked out a deal with the feds to resume funding.
- The school reported outstanding job prospects upon graduation.
- The school provided rewarding clinical opportunities.
- The school has non-traditional classes that make transferring difficult.
- Students with disabilities were told the school could accommodate them, but students report the school was unwilling to offer proper accommodations once they arrived on campus.
- Grades were artificially lowered to try to keep people out of academic eligibility for scholarships.
- Grades that were not yet submitted online through an outside service, yet the school gave a final grade, claiming they’d received it from the service.
- Some tests that were supposed to be administered blind were not blind. Many students told us some professors would know which grades belonged to which students before the student disclosed their number. Sometimes multiple students would have the same number. Students were placed in sections such that they’d put many of the academic scholarship students together and they’d have a mandatory 10% fail rate. So even if everyone in that section got a B or higher, 10% would fail. That would cost people their academic scholarship, not to mention their academic standing.
- AAMPLE seemed to be a deliberate feeder system. Many students told us the school would have people go through AAMPLE, complete the program, only to be told by the school they did not complete it satisfactorily and they would not be admitted to the school. A couple of weeks later, some of the “rejected” students would get a letter of reconsideration with a scholarship. This, the students claimed, happened a lot.
- When some of the students began to see through the school’s tactics and complain, many were blackballed by the administration. Some of those students shared with us that they were pulled aside at the beginning of classes and told they would not be allowed to pass classes and they would not be coming back to the school – some of were Deans’ List students. Some tried to transfer and the school blocked them from transferring by not releasing their transcript or a letter of good standing. Those who were allowed to transfer found out that some of the classes they’d taken through CSL as a 1L wouldn’t transfer to any other school.