The Florida Coastal School of Law announced earlier today that it requested the ABA’s permission to become a nonprofit law school. It also announced it was pursuing an affiliation with a nonprofit university though it declined to identify the school. (We are assuming the affiliation agreement talks are contingent on the successful transition to nonprofit status.)
Pursuing nonprofit status will mean a separation from parent company InfiLaw. Presumably, this isn’t an issue since a school that isn’t profitable doesn’t have any value to the shareholders. Currently, Florida Coastal is the only one of InfiLaw’s three law schools that is operating. Charlotte School of Law closed in August. Arizona Summit, the school with the dubious distinction of having the lowest bar passage rate of 59.7%, already has a teach-out plan in place.
Florida Coastal did sue the ABA and claimed the group was biased against for-profit law schools. (The school won its appeal and is remains accredited and free of any probationary status.) It’s certainly possible the school’s leadership believes becoming a nonprofit will also make it easier to maintain its ABA accreditation.
Florida Coastal Dean Scott DeVito summarized, “Moving to nonprofit is the right thing for our students, alumni, and our community. It will also strengthen the institution and open the door to our becoming affiliated with a non-profit university. We are extremely fortunate in having the support of all of our stakeholders as we transition to non-profit.”