Florida Coastal School of Law

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Florida Coastal School of Law
FLACSL Seal.jpg
MottoLex Ubique Est
(law is everywhere)
Established1996
School typePrivate for-profit[1] law school
DeanPeter Goplerud[2]
LocationJacksonville, Florida, United States
Enrollment184 (total)[3]
Faculty13 (full-time) 37 (total)[3]
USNWR ranking147th-193rd (bottom 25%)[4]
Bar pass rate53.3% (Florida bar exam, July 2021 first-time takers) [5]
Websitefcsl.edu
FlaCoastal.jpg
The entrance to FCSL on Baypine Road
The lakeside of FCSL at night
Four knowledge bars serve students by providing a forum for students and professors to continue conversations outside of the classroom.[6]
The sun setting on the lake behind FCSL

Florida Coastal School of Law was a private for-profit law school in Jacksonville, Florida. It was established in 1996[7] and is the last operating of three for-profit law schools of the InfiLaw System owned by Sterling Partners.[8][9][10] Because of funding and accreditation issues, the school closed its doors after summer classes were completed in 2021.[11]

Accreditation[edit]

The school was accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2002.[12] In October 2017, the school received a letter from the ABA stating that Florida Coastal was not in compliance with several ABA academic standards, and requiring the school to submit a report by November 1, 2017, regarding the school's efforts to return to compliance, in advance of an appearance before the ABA Accreditation Committee in March 2018.[13] The school's dean sent a letter to the student body, responding to the ABA letter, in order to dispel what he deemed to be "misconceptions" about the ABA's letter.[14] At its May 2019 meeting, the ABA found Florida Coastal fully in compliance with the ABA standards.[15] Florida Coastal remained a fully ABA accredited law school.[15]

On May 15, 2020, the council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar met remotely and determined this school and nine others had significant noncompliance with Standard 316.[16] This standard was revised in 2019 to provide that at least 75% of an accredited law school’s graduates who took a bar exam must pass one within two years of graduation.[16] The school was asked to submit a report by Feb. 1, 2021; and, if the council did not find the report demonstrated compliance, the school would be asked to appear before the council at its May, 2021 meeting.[16] By August 2020, Florida Coastal School of Law was able to demonstrate compliance, asserting that 75% of its 2018 graduates had passed a bar exam, and the 2019 cohort was on track for similarly-qualifying results.[17]

However, a new problem arose in Spring 2021 when the U.S. Department of Education terminated the school's access to federal student financial aid and directed the school to file a teach-out plan with the ABA.[18] The plan submitted in April was rejected by an executive committee of that ABA section as lacking several required items and not providing sufficient detail as to other items.[19] A revised plan was considered in May but that plan was also rejected.[19][20]

The school resubmitted its application for Title IV eligibility but the U.S. Department of Education turned down the request.[19][10] Richard Cordray, the department's federal student aid chief operating officer, said in a press release, "Florida Coastal School of Law operated recklessly and irresponsibly, putting its students at financial risk rather than providing the opportunities they were seeking. Our commitment is to stand up for all students and ensure their institutions are held to the standards our students and communities expect and deserve."[10] The press release also said that school owner InfiLaw had relinquished its ownership and audited financial statements for the school raised substantial doubt that it could continue operating.[10]

A teach-out plan was finally approved in June, 2021, with the school to offer no further classes after the end of the Summer, 2021 term.[11] Some students will transfer to other law schools, while others will attend classes elsewhere but graduate with Florida Coastal degrees.[11] The school’s accreditation will be continued until July 1, 2023 for the limited purpose of allowing currently-enrolled students to receive course credits at other accredited law schools.[11]

Notwithstanding that the school acknowledges that it is bound by the teach-out plan, Florida Coastal in July of 2021 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education alleging the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously by terminating the school’s participation in the loan program.[21]

Academics[edit]

In addition to its curriculum for a juris doctor, Coastal Law offers several certification programs in specialized areas of the law. Coastal Law currently offers an environmental law certificate, sports law certificate, international comparative law certificate, family law certificate, and an advanced legal research and writing certificate. Additionally, Coastal Law, offers accelerated dual degree programs, with Jacksonville University, that allow students to complete a juris doctor and a M.B.A. or a M.P.P. in four years.[22]

Awards[edit]

  • In 2010, Coastal Law was the recipient of the American Bar Association E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award.[23]
  • In 2011, the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) awarded Coastal Law the Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award for its partnership with JALA and its commitment to pro bono legal aid to the Jacksonville community.[24]
  • In 2013, the National Jurist ranked Coastal Law among the top innovative law schools.[25]
  • In 2014, Coastal Law made the American Bar Association's "Top Ten List" of law schools teaching the technology of legal practice.[26]
  • In 2015, the National Jurist gave Coastal Law an "A+ or A" for being one of the twenty best law schools for practical training.[27]

Bar passage and ranking[edit]

Bar passage[edit]

The Florida Bar passage rate of Coastal Law graduates compared to the average passing rate from other Florida law schools.

Exam Coastal Law State Average
Feb 2014[28] 72.9 72.9
July 2014[29] 58 71.8
Feb 2015[30] 74.5 64.3
July 2015[31] 59.3 68.9
Feb 2016[32] 32.7 54.8
July 2016[33] 51.9 68.2
Feb 2017[33] 25.0 57.7
July 2017[34] 47.7 71.3
Feb 2018[35] 62.1 57.9
July 2019[36] 71.0 73.9
Oct 2020[37] 57.6 71.7
Feb 2021[38] 68.4 62.4

Ranking[edit]

US News and World Report ranks Coastal Law 146-192, the bottom quartile of law schools.[39]

Post-graduation employment and debt[edit]

Student debt[edit]

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average indebtedness of 2016 graduates who incurred law school debt was $158,878 (not including undergraduate debt), and 70% of 2016 graduates took on debt.[40]

Employment outcomes[edit]

Coastal Law's Law School Transparency score is 48.4%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2018 who obtained full-time long-term jobs practicing law within nine months of graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[41]

ABA Employment Summary for 2018 Graduates [42] Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
52.1%
Employed - J.D. Advantage
14.0%
Employed - Professional Position
8.0%
Employed - Non-Professional Position
8.0%
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
2.2%
Unemployed - Not Seeking
2.2%
Unemployed - Seeking
18.8%
Employment Status Unknown
1.1%
Total of 186 Graduates

Tuition and cost[edit]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Coastal Law for the 2019-2020 academic year is $63,022.[43] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $217,870.[44]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Moot Court[edit]

Each year, the University of Houston Law Center's Blakely Advocacy Institute ranks the top moot court programs in the United states by assessing the quality of the competition a school participated in, the size of the competitions, and the school's performance in those competitions.[45] Florida Coastal has consistently ranked in the top 10 in those rankings:

Academic Year Rank
2018-2019 2[46]
2017-2018 9[47]
2016-2017 20[48]
2015-2016 15[49]
2014-2015 1[50]
2013-2014 1[51]
2012-2013 2[52]
2011-2012 5[53]

Mock Trial[edit]

Coastal Law's Mock Trial team competes with law students across the state of Florida and the United States. The team members present their case before a judge and jury. Acceptance into the team is based upon a competitive meritocratic process that judges the student's ability and talent. Students are only eligible to try out for the Mock Trial team during their 1L year in law school.[54]

Law Review[edit]

The Florida Coastal Law Review is a legal journal edited by second and third year law students under the guidance of law professors. The journals are retrievable through the legal databases LexisNexis and Westlaw.[55][56] The journal is published three times a year. Students can join by being in the top 5% of their class or by submitting a high quality writing piece to law review.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "College Navigator". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  2. ^ "Peter Goplerud named dean of Florida Coastal School of Law | Jax Daily Record". Jacksonville Daily Record - Jacksonville, Florida. January 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Standard 509 Disclosure". www.abarequireddisclosures.org.
  4. ^ "US News & World Report Best Graduate Schools - Florida Coastal School of Law". U.S. News. Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  5. ^ https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/content/download/788827/file/09-20-2021-FBBE-Full-Press-Release.pdf
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2017-09-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Changing the Face of the Legal Profession: Two Law Schools' Commitment to Serving the Underserved". INSIGHT Into Diversity. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  8. ^ Infilaw Corp. (2012). "Home". Infilaw Corp. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Sterling Partners (2011). "Portfolio:InfiLaw". Sterlings Partners. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d "Florida Coastal's financial aid reinstatement request denied; private equity firm pulls out". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, May 13, 2021. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d "Teach-out plan for Florida Coastal approved; classes will end after summer term". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, June 9, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  12. ^ "ABA grants Florida Coastal School of Law accreditation". The Florida Bar News. Tallahassee, Florida: The Florida Bar. September 15, 2002. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  13. ^ "October 2017 Florida Coastal Notice of Noncompliance" (PDF). American Bar Association. October 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "Should Florida Coastal Be Sanctioned by the ABA?". The Faculty Lounge. November 8, 2017.
  15. ^ a b American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (June 12, 2019). "Council Decision Notice of Removal of Requirements of Specific Remedial Actions Florida Coastal School of Law" (PDF). American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
  16. ^ a b c "10 law schools are out of compliance with bar passage standard, ABA legal ed section says". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  17. ^ "2 law schools dinged for bar pass standard are now found to be in compliance". Stepanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, August 25, 2020.
  18. ^ "As Florida Coastal tries to get student loan funds reinstated, ABA seeks teach-out plan". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, April 6, 2021.
  19. ^ a b c "Florida Coastal's proposed teach-out plan dinged by ABA's legal ed section because of lack of details". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  20. ^ "Florida Coastal's teach-out plan rejected again; another school demonstrates compliance on bar pass rates". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  21. ^ "After being denied Title IV funds, Florida Coastal sues Education Department". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, July 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  22. ^ Law, Florida Coastal School of. "Dual Degrees". Fcsl.edu. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  23. ^ Archive Reward Recipients Archived 2015-09-08 at the Wayback Machine, American Bar Association, (Retrieved January 28, 2015).
  24. ^ "Florida Coastal recognized by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid". Daily Record. January 9, 2012.
  25. ^ "PreLaw - Back To School 2013". Nxtbook.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Teaching the Technology of Practice: The 10 Top Schools - Law Practice Division". Americanbar.org. Archived from the original on 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  27. ^ "Best law schools for practical training: 2015". National Jurist. February 6, 2015.
  28. ^ "February 2014 Examination Results and Statistics". Florida Bar Exam. April 14, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  29. ^ "July 2014 Examination Results and Statistics". Florida Bar Exam. September 22, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  30. ^ "February 2015 Examination Results and Statistics". Florida Bar Exam. April 13, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  31. ^ "July 2015 Examination Results and Statistics". Florida Bar Exam. September 21, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  32. ^ "February 2016 General Bar Examination". Florida Bar Exam. April 11, 2016. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017.
  33. ^ a b "February 2017 General Bar Examination". Florida Bar Exam. April 10, 2017. Archived from the original on April 15, 2017.
  34. ^ Zaretsky, Staci (September 18, 2017). "Florida Law Grads Weathered The Storm When It Came To The Bar Exam". Above The Law.
  35. ^ Florida State Bar (April 26, 2018). "Press Release: February 2018 General Bar Examination". Florida State Bar.
  36. ^ "July 2019 General Bar Examination". Florida Bar Exam. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  37. ^ "OCTOBER 2020 BAR EXAMINATION" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  38. ^ "FEBRUARY 2021 GENERAL BAR EXAMINATION OVERALL METHOD" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  39. ^ "US News & World Report - Florida Coastal School of Law". Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  40. ^ "Which law school graduates have the most debt?". U.S. News.
  41. ^ "Florida Coastal School of Law". Lstscorereports.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  42. ^ "Standard 509 Disclosure". abarequireddisclosures.org.
  43. ^ "JD Tuition and Expenses". 1stscorereports.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  44. ^ "Florida Coastal Profile". 1stscorereports.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  45. ^ "TaxProf Blog: The Top 20 Moot Court Programs (2010-2016)". taxprof.typepad.com. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  46. ^ "Rankings". www.law.uh.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  47. ^ "Rankings". law.uh.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  48. ^ "TaxProf Blog: 2016-17 Moot Court Rankings". taxprof.typepad.com. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  49. ^ "TaxProf Blog: 2015-16 Moot Court Rankings". taxprof.typepad.com. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  50. ^ "Rankings". law.uh.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  51. ^ "Rankings". law.uh.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  52. ^ "The National Jurist - October 2013 - No. 1 in moot court". nxtbook.com. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  53. ^ "2011- 2012 Rankings". law.uh.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  54. ^ Law, Florida Coastal School of. "Mock Trial". Fcsl.edu. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  55. ^ "Westlaw Sign In - Thomson Reuters". directory.westlaw.com. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  56. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-09-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  57. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2017-09-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°13′58″N 81°34′49″W / 30.23278°N 81.58028°W / 30.23278; -81.58028