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 former CSL students.
Scholarships seem to have been a big draw for some 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 scholarships once they were enrolled. The reasons varied. Grading curves may have changed; other students never got logical explanations 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.
Potentially Helpful DOE Resources:
DOE Student Loan Forgiveness Website — Explains loan discharge, cancellation, and forgiveness
DOE Phone Number: (855) 279-6207
If I continued as a student at CSL after the DOE revoked CSL’s ability to participate in loan programs, can I still receive a loan discharge?
If you continued as a student, you may be able to receive a loan discharge. However, the student borrower must be a victim of CSL’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.
If you filed a Borrower's Defense Discharge/Claim, took a teach-out, or transferred 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 may lose some of their academic credits and is subject to loan reinstatement if they resume work toward the same degree at a different school. This discharge may be granted when the institution has closed and the student was unable to complete the degree. The student must have left the school within 120 days before the school's closure. Students who left CSL after mid-April are eligible for the Closed School Discharge.
When a Borrower Defense Discharge is filed, the borrower will not lose any academic 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, that institution will decide which of your credits to accept.
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?
We are not aware of any particular deadline to file this type of claim with DOE, but it may be time-limited by the statute(s) of limitations that would apply if it were raised as a claim in a civil action or affirmative defense to a collection action.
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. Your parents are not in privity with the school and therefore cannot sue on your behalf.
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 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.
There are several hurdles to go through to get a class action certified in Federal Court, and sometimes it can take a year or more. It appears to us that no Charlotte School of Law case is likely to meet the requirements that flow from Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
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 of this size must be filed in Federal court and must be certified as a class, the case takes longer. A class action case could take three years to begin working on the substantive issues. Third, individual suits we have filed are already progressing. Fourth, individual claims allow each aggrieved student of CSL to direct his or her own case without key decisions being made by a class representative.
We are filing individual cases in NC 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 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 at CSL in 2014 and after, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 to confidentially discuss your individual circumstances. We are representing nearly 200 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 lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for fraud in North Carolina is three years, and the ABA began its investigation of the school in 2014. While there did appear to be questions of fraud and misrepresentation prior to 2014, the issue is whether any claims based on earlier conduct would still be within the limitations period. 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 that is not time-barred, 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.
Whom are you filing suit against?
We have filed lawsuits against Charlotte School of Law; InfiLaw Corp.; InfiLaw Holding; LLC; Jay Conison; Chidi Ogene; Donald E. Lively; two entities known as Sterling Capital Partners; and Rick Inatome.
What will it cost me out of my pocket to hire the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin to handle my case?
We are lawyers – and each of us 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 fees from liable defendants under Chapter 75 of the North Carolina General Statutes, which define and govern unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Transferring Law Schools
I want to transfer but am concerned I will not be accepted to another school.
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 have reached out and appear willing to work with CSL students as special transfers, given the circumstances. Furthermore, CSL transcripts may be obtained through a national clearinghouse.
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.
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 CSL graduates’ 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, whose bar passage rates are more widely reported. 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 have influence with ABA governing bodies. More recently, once federal funding was cut off, the school reportedly claimed it had negotiated a deal and was confident that federal funding would resume.
If you have questions about any misrepresentation or believe CSL misrepresented something to you, 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. We currently have approximately 300 claimants, but we are being meticulous about when and how we file each claim.
Trial vs Settlements
Will I have to go to court?
If your case reaches the discovery phase, you will have to give sworn testimony outside of a courtroom. If your case is scheduled for trial, you will have to go to court and will be expected to give testimony and otherwise participate in your case. While some cases may settle, we do expect a number of cases to go to trial, and the results of those cases may determine certain aspects of how similar pending cases are treated.
Federal vs State Court
Why are you filing cases in State Court instead of Federal Court?
The federal court system takes a longer, is more costly, and damages in a class action 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 believe 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 2016. The stories are heart-rending, and many are horrific. Here 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.
- That CSL had an 80% bar passage rate.
- That CSL’s bar passage rate was #3 in state. CSL was the state’s largest law school with the poorest record of bar graduates.
- That CSL’s out-of-state pass rate was high.
- That CSL had worked out a deal with the feds to resume funding.
- That graduates had outstanding job prospects.
- That CSL provided rewarding clinical opportunities.
- CSL had non-traditional classes that made transferring difficult.
- Grades were artificially lowered to try to keep people out of academic eligibility for scholarships.
- Where grades were to be submitted online through an outside service, CSL gave a final grade, claiming it had received the grade from the service.
- Some tests that were supposed to be administered blind were not blind. In some instances, a student told us some professors would know which grades belonged to which students before she disclosed her 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 CSL 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 CSL. 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.
- Some students who began to see through the CSL’s tactics and complain 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 CSL – some had been Deans’ List students. Some tried to transfer and CSL 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 at CSL as 1Ls wouldn’t transfer to any other school.