TJSL

Early last week, we broke the news that the Thomas Jefferson School of Law had missed a payment on its revenue bonds, triggering a default event under its current Loan Agreement. Luckily for the school, it was able to strike a deal with its bondholders to delay the unseemly business of ceasing its operations, at least until October 17, 2014. In the interim, TJSL is discussing “various potential structures and restructuring alternatives” with its bondholders, and is “confident” that it will be able to reach an accord in the near future.

When we last checked in with this overly optimistic law school, TJSL was hoping that it would be able to “continue to prosper” after settling up with its creditors. But how is the law school supposed to reach this happy fate when its credit rating with Standard & Poor’s keeps getting downgraded lower and lower?

Perhaps it’s time for Thomas Jefferson Law to remove its rose-colored glasses and embrace the fact that it shares the same financial woes as its own namesake. Will the school die in debt like our former president?

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While it’s true that things have been spiraling downwards for law schools since the Great Recession, it wasn’t until 2011 that things really got out of hand. That was when the very first class action lawsuit about deceptive employment statistics was filed against the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Little did we know that it would prove to be a harbinger of doom for the school.

About a year ago, we brought our readers the sad news that TJSL had conducted faculty and staff layoffs in an effort to free up funds. Not only had it suffered a blow to its enrollment, but it was also struggling to pay off the $133 million debt it accumulated after opening its new campus building in 2011.

To make matters infinitely worse, in December 2013, Standard and Poor’s released news that it had downgraded the credit ratings of a slew of stand-alone law schools. TJSL was one of the downtrodden schools whose credit standing was downgraded to B+, junk bond status with a negative outlook.

Now, we’ve got news that could have disastrous effects for the law school. It seems that TJSL has defaulted on its bonds, and it may be unable to remain in operation due to its financial predicament…

Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.

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* Sort of, not really spoiler alert: Saul Goodman apparently left New Mexico and joined Covington’s D.C. office. That’ll be a good fit. [Legal Cheek]

* There’s a Broadway version of A Time to Kill? And Fred Thompson is in it, because this is a lot better than putting in that modicum of effort it takes to mount a campaign for president. [A Time to Kill on Broadway]

* A bestselling author is suing USC for discrimination. I find that hard to believe. If USC turned any discriminating eye toward hiring, they wouldn’t employ Lane Kiffin. [Courthouse News Service]

* Check out the new book by former firm partner Liz Brown about the process of leaving the legal profession. [Life After Law (affiliate link)]

* A humorous take on the Supreme Court’s preparations for the new term. Justice Ginsburg is basically a Time Lord. [McSweeney's]

* Class certification is denied for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law grads alleging the school misled them with false and inaccurate employment statistics. The case was doomed from the beginning, because there’s nothing “typical” about TJSL students! [San Diego Courts]

* A profile of Ted Cruz by Jason Zengerle. It’s unfair to call Cruz a “Wacko Bird from Texas”; he’s a “Wacko Bird from Canada.” [GQ]

* Lawyers defending the accused rapists of a Naval Academy Mid asked the victim to describe her oral sex technique, if she “felt like a ‘ho,'” and if she wore underwear. The goal was to teach Afghanistan to be more like the U.S., not to teach the Navy to be more like the Taliban. [Jezebel]


Suing a school for giving you bad grades seems ludicrous. On the other hand, there’s something respectable about filing a 60-paragraph complaint in response to a law school telling you that you’ve failed Legal Writing and Civil Procedure. It’s kind of meta when you think about it.

The crux of the story is that a the law school demanded that a 3L retake CivPro II: Electric Boogaloo because he got a D the first time around. This interfered with his plans for his 3L year, so he decided to take them to court. In the process, every complaint he has about the school worked its way into the filing.

Which law school is getting sued?

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Back in July, following the news of the possible purge of junior faculty at Seton Hall and the staff massacre at McGeorge, we wondered: “Which law school will be next?” With law school applications still in free fall, something, somewhere, had to give, and it certainly wasn’t going to be beautiful buildings, the price of tuition, the number of tenured professors, or their similarly splendid salaries.

No, the easiest way to save money — $4.4 million of it — is by dropping the unimportant human weight, and the most expendable souls seem to hail from the adjunct faculty and staff ranks at the latest law school to conduct layoffs. Which esteemed academy of legal education could it be?

We’ll give you a clue. The school is no stranger to controversy, seeing as it served as the origin of the very first law school lawsuit over deceptive employment statistics ever filed….

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Plaintiffs and the class are now stuck with a law degree they did not bargain for. That degree cannot be resold or transferred like real estate. It will never be recalled or repaired like a carburetor. And, unlike almost any other product, the debt associated with a degree from TJSL cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy.

Brian Procel of Miller Barondess LLP, on behalf of the plaintiffs in Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in a motion for class certification. The Alaburda case has already survived a demurrer in California, and will likely set the tone for the other pending law school lawsuits if certification is granted.

(Keep reading to see some of the evidence offered against TJSL.)

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In Morning Docket yesterday, we mentioned that Standard & Poor’s has joined the chorus of people who are noticing that stand-alone law schools are shaky investments. When the S&P notices, you can bet that law school administrators feel some heat.

The national trends of declining law school applications and shrinking law school class sizes have now affected S&P’s outlook rating for one stand-alone law school. It’s not a huge shift, but given the trend lines, we have to wonder if we will eventually see some diploma mills actually close down…

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Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the law schools that traditionally made up what used to be the alphabetically listed third tier. It was only very recently that the law schools that once constituted the “third tier” received the gift that keeps on giving (no, not herpes): numerical rankings.

Today, we’ll be talking about the schools that used to comprise the fourth tier, but now have a new name. These days, this segment of the U.S. News list is referred to as the “second tier,” and although they’re all ranked, those rankings aren’t published (presumably because no one wants to brag about going to the worst law school in the nation — as if being tied for 144th place is better).

Let’s use this post to discuss these schools, collectively or individually, and to compare and contrast….

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You’d think that the “longest serving law school dean in America” would have had plenty of time to share all of the bad or misleading information with prospective students that he wanted to.

But apparently Rudy Hasl, the dean of Thomas Jefferson School of Law who is retiring at the end of the academic year, had a few more drops of confusion to share.

Hasl suggested that the media is underestimating the value of a law degree by focusing on pesky statistics like whether or not people are employed nine months after graduation.

Sigh….

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Hey, don’t blame us. We didn’t make this list of the worst law schools in the country.

In the Above the Law Career Center, we just give law schools letter grades, based on user surveys completed by ATL readers. But the Daily Caller has compiled a list of the ten worst ABA-accredited law schools. Mwahaha.

One really strong point about this list is that it’s more outcome-oriented than other rankings. It’s not looking at LSAT scores and GPAs; it’s looking at bar passage rates, cost, and employment data.

So, send your angry emails to the Daily Caller, or your own administrators, if you are unlucky enough to be going to one of these schools…

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