The Buzz

May 1, 2014

Vote delayed on InfiLaw's license to run Charleston law school

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

A state regulatory panel delayed voting on InfiLaw's request to run the Charleston School of Law on Thursday to allow more time to review documents and public comments.

The Naples, Fla.-based law school operator has an agreement with founders to buy the nine-year-old privately run school. But InfiLaw needs to get a state license first.

Members of a S.C. Commission on Higher Education licensing panel said they received more than 100 pages documents over the past three days and asked for additional time. Several members came with lists of questions for InfiLaw officials.

The panel will hold a special meeting on May 19 and present their recommendation to the full commission at its June 5 meeting.

Charleston School of Law alumni and parents of students came to the meeting in Columbia. Some of them along with Charleston officials have decried the for-profit InfiLaw as a diploma mill.

A higher education commission staff report, released to the public Wednesday, said a review found that InfiLaw met the academic, facilities, financial and reputation standards set forth in state regulations.

Staff recommended a license for three years with the following conditions:

• Winning approval from the American Bar Association for the ownership transfer and keeping its accreditation at the school. • Submitting a three-year business plan to the commission annually. • Banning state funding requests or mergers with a public college, which also were part of the school's original charter.

InfiLaw already works as a management consultant for the Charleston School of Law, which opened in 2004 and received American Bar Association accreditation in 2011. The school has more than 500 full- and part-time students.

The state has one other law school at the University of South Carolina, which has more than 600 students.

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