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A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law

A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:54:18 AM »
I've seen a lot of people talking about their acceptances to PSL and I would just like to issue a helpful warning to my fellow potential lawyers:


I am a student who attended school there as a 1L last year. I was thankful enough to transfer out, but this is a rare circumstance. Allow me to bullet point my issues with that school and why it is a death trap:

1. The school is more a business than a school.

You would be surprised how many people do not realize (yes, even the students currently there) that PSL is a for-profit school. It is part of a consortium of schools run by infilaw. This enough should raise flags folks. You are not their concern. REVENUE is their concern. This will be explained further.

2. The school is a C-curve. Most good schools are a B.

When I first got into PSL I was wondering "why would a school this new want to make things *more* difficult for its students?". Then I learned the truth finally after transferring out. PSL keeps you at a C curve to - as other schools have elegantly put it - "trap" you there. Think about it: if it is harder to get good grades, how would you be competitive enough to transfer? The administration is fully aware that most students (as you should) care about their school's ranking. So this is kept in place for that reason and no other. It should also be noted that PSL has you take almost every single of your ABA required 1L courses as a part 1 and 2 (e.g. Contracts I in fall semester, Contracts II in spring semester). Most schools do not do this. And if you attempt a successful transfer, be prepared to get an email saying something to the tune of "congratulations on your acceptance! Oh, by the way, you are not caught up to what we consider a 2L, so you may have to take another semester of units before being back on track). Another trap ploy? You be the judge.

3. The school oddly enough doesn't have a high drop out rate.

This point ties into point #2 very well. What else would make the school look bad besides a mass exodus of people? A mass group of student dropping out. So back to the C curve again. Knowing that is is very tough to get good grades, it is easy to slip under that 2.0 average and be put on probation. So what is PSL's answer to balancing both of these facts? THIS IS A TRUE STORY: I spoke to a student who has stayed below a 2.0 THREE SEMESTERS IN A ROW. They kept readmitting him!  The only thing in the student handbook that can really fail you out is if you start your first semester below a 1.41 (really????) or you fail to maintain a 1.80 after being on probation for a semester - and I even question how much they hold to that!

4. We are in a recession. If grads from NYU are struggling to find jobs, what on earth thinks you can find one with a PSL degree?

PSL will sell all of you with their "Valley of the Sun" Program. This program is about connecting students with nice placement intern / externships in the downtown area. In fairness, I've seen this program have a certain level of success, but here is where it is misleading: A lot of companies are not hiring (see: recession comment) but will GLADLY take free work! So why would they turn you down? The question to be asked here is "well will they hire me AFTER I graduate an make connections by interning here?" and the answer is sadly "most likely no". From what I have personally experienced, PSL students are almost always put at the bottom of the priority list when competing against U of A and ASU law grads; not to mention students from other out of state schools too! So yes, they have a pretty good internship program...but who says you're getting hired there afterwards?

5. I do not get for the life of me how they hire professors.

A lot of the professors are stellar. I truly missed a lot of my 1L profs, but not all of them. PSL has a ton of money to hire good professors. They are a for-profit school, and can waive tons of money in the applicants faces. However, knowing this to be true, somehow they hire the polar opposite. This is the one thing that always perplexed me about the school. Half of them are amazing profs and people. Always available in office hours and really had a knack for teaching. The other half are deadbeats, awkward, constantly getting bad reviews from students yet are never fired, and people who have minimal years in practice but couldn't cut it. So would you rather go to a school with a world-renowned teaching staff, or a school where you are actively taking a gamble similarly to the freshman GE courses in undergrad? And here is the best part. PSL *must* know this. Why? Because after your 1L year when you get to chose classes, you are not told who your profs are until very late. Most students theorize it is because they do not want everyone swarming the good profs and leaving the bad profs classes empty during the add / drop period. Looking out for the students interests huh?

PLEASE NOTE: this posting is my opinion. Observations are not necessarily solid facts. But hey, this is a review is it not?


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Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 12:59:45 PM »
Before I say anything I am an anonymous internet poster just as you are so everything I say could be 100% wrong. However, I have gone through the law school process and would like to address some of your gripes.

First of all law schools and educational institutions are businesses first and foremost. Try not paying tuition at Yale and see what happens. Schools everywhere try to make money they are a for-profit school there are plenty of Non-Profit law schools that charge the same or roughly the same amount.

All students should realize this and negotiate for scholarship money etc and always remember your a paying customer schools are offering you a service that you choose to pay for.


Most law school have a pretty intense curve I went to a "Tier 2 school" big whoop and only 35% of the students could have a 3.0 at the end of their first year. You had to have a 3.0 to maintain your scholarship 65% of students didn't and this is not uncommon almost all law schools do this as evidenced by this NY times article.

Almost every lawyer is not satisfied with their grades as law school curves are difficult. Look at the curves of other schools most do not allow everyone to get an A or B particular in their first year.


When you get out of school you will realize how little this matters and that U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated, magazine that is offering an opinion. BTW they rank more than law schools. (New Mexico is the best place to live according to them) unfortunately so many law students life altering decisions based on this magazine thinking it is some authority.  My school since I graduated has gone from the 70's to Tier 3 and last year was in an 11 way tie for 84th. None of my clients, no judge I argue in front of, etc has any idea what my school is ranked and most have no idea what school I attended at all.

When you have a client that wants a result you better get them that result. If they go to jail for 10 years, lose 2,000,000 on a contract, whatever it is try consoling them by telling them you went to a Tier 2 school and not a Tier 3 school.

As stated above you are right schools are businesses and they do make it harder to transfer. PLS is not the only school to do this kind of thing THEY ALL DO. They want money PLS, Harvard, Yale, X school, all want money. They do not want transfers and so forth.

As to Contracts 1 and 2 my school did that and many do. When you take the Bar Contracts is a HEAVILY TESTED area and you will want to know all you can about it. I believe most schools do offer two semesters of contracts, but I can't speak for everyone. I know my school did.

Again most schools have low attrition rates for the same reasons I have repeated schools are business not just PLS. They have an obligation to kick someone out that they do not believe can pass the bar and perhaps that students took a special test or maybe that is a unique situation that is a problem. However, most schools don't want to kick out students they pay money and again SCHOOLS ARE BUSINESS. Law schools, nursing schools, business schools, undergrads, etc all charge tuition and want paying students at their school. This is not PLS phenomenon.

Again you can go to almost every law school or university period across the country and find amazing professors and bad ones. In any firm there will be lawyers and bad ones etc, etc. Your new school will have bad and good professors I am certain of that. I know mine did and every lawyer I have worked with from all caliber of schools loved some of their professors and hated others that is simply the way it goes.

I am an anonymous internet poster so everything I said could be complete B.S. and I have no repercussion if it is, but I would do a reality check your new school is going to charge tuition, have a strict curve, have bad professors, and so forth.

Maybe the curve is slightly better at the new place and maybe your Evidence professor will be amazing maybe they will be terrible you really don't know. Many of issues you stated are quite universal across all law schools and in education generally.

Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 01:20:59 PM »
With all due respect to your post, I would love to know when you graduated from law school. My guess (could be wrong) is that you are an older gentleman or lady (e.g. you haven't graduated recently) who did not have to deal with the market as it is now. To put it simply, getting accepted to law school and finding a job in, oh, say, 1995 is MUCH different than 2012....


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Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 01:39:12 PM »
I graduated a few years ago and finding my first job was terrible and I did some doc review, contract work, etc then after a few years I finally got a solid job. Most lawyers went through similar experiences very few lawyers get offers from Covington right of the bat.

Ask around to practicing lawyers maybe I am wrong and I have never been to Arizoina so I am not familiar with the market at all, but this is not the first time there has been an economic problem in the United States. Finding a job is always difficult it has always been and it is nothing like school.

Remember as you noted schools are businesses your paying to be there and they can have a lot more patience and be a lot less selective. When someone is paying you to be there and entrusting you with their clients it is a much bigger responsibility. Many students in all fields don't realize this and it took me some time as well.

I was at the top of my class, journals, mock trial, from a tier 2 school and I was not inundated with job offers much to my surprise and this was before the current economic conditions. After I got out of the law school bubble I realized I wasn't special and I had to prove myself as does every lawyer.

I wish you the best of luck and I am not attempting to say PLS is some phenomenal school I know nothing about it, but if you want to find reasons to complain about anything you can and certainly any educational institution.

Hopefully your new school is more to your liking, but I am speculating you will notice many of the same issues. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your final two years and bar review a legal career can be a rewarding profession, but it takes a lot of patience. It took me quite awhile to learn that as it does for most law students.

Also I could be full of it as could any other anonymous internet poster out there. Anyone can in the world can write anything they want about any subject on the internet without repricusion myself included so I recommend all things you read on law school forums, boards, etc be taken with a grain of salt mine included. For all you know I could a homeless guy strung out on heroin who goes into a public library and posts on law school boards to pass the time and this goes for any other posting you read out there.

Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 02:14:48 PM »
I understand where you are coming from, and your post does speak to the generic law student from a lower-tiered school. Also, congratulations on what you have accomplished. I would just like to point out that going to a "for-profit" law school is not as "normal" as you put it. Yes, a lot of the issues I have pointed out cover a vast majority of schools. But PSL is like the University of Phoenix of law schools. They are a private business much more than a non-profit school, and care about revenue far more than the needs of the student. I may have no been to other law schools, but I have been through post-high school academia, and I have consulted many of my other friends in law school around the country to come to this understanding. The bottom line is that a school like this deserves a warning. One is paying far too much for a legal education (as I am sure you know) to fiddly around with your life like this.

Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 03:22:57 PM »
To expand a bit on what Legend was saying, I also attend a lower tiered school and the motto is: "easy to get in, difficult to graduate from."  This is true even for the most disrespected law school, Cooley.  The attrition rates are terrible because they are taking incoming students with low numbers, but want the graduating class to be able to pass the bar.  I'm not sure about T1s, but most schools, including mine curve on a C.  75% of the students will get a C because that is how the curve works.   Unlike your school, though, I don't think my T4 would allow a student to return that many times with below a 2.0.

However, a student should never be trapped by a curve because all law schools have a ranking system.   Were you not told what your rank was?  Most schools provide ranking because first semester gpa's are not indicative of how well you did precisely for that reason.   Just as legend pointed out, only a top percentage of students will have a 3.0 or higher.  One of my classmates was in the top 25% with just a 2.8. 

As to the business aspect, all private schools - and even some public schools - are in it for the money.  There's a lot of crooked things that go on in the public sector - especially in Los Angeles.  When I researched schools before applying in California, UCLA, a state school, was just as expensive as my for-profit school and they graded on a curve just like my school.  The woman I'll be working for is probably one of the few people that went to a cheaper state school in Ohio.  However, they also graded on a C curve and I don't know of any school that does not. 

You may be thinking it's easier at other schools because the mean is a B, but even those schools keep a mandatory curve where at least 70% will get a C or B- at the most.  Just want to clarify that even if the mean is higher, a grading curve still puts the majority of students at a C, but it shouldn't trap you at the school because of the ranking system.


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Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 04:55:29 PM »
For what it is worth George Washington Law will not even put someone on academic probation until their GPA drops beneath 1.67, a quick look around other schools, this does not look to be unusual.


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Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 06:18:54 PM »
Fair enough in my law school experience and going to numerous mock trials and now currently as a mock-trial coach I see quite a few law schools and most students are upset about something or other at their school. It is worth nothing these are people that want to become lawyers, "so they are argumentative I could find numerous issues with my school and plenty of great things about it.

I looked up Phoenix tuition it is only 34k per year which is about the same as tuition for in-state residents in Califorina and significantly cheaper if your coming from out of-state. Hastings is 33k per year 43k for out-of-staters. Again, I have never been to Phoneix maybe it is as bad as you say you do have first hand experience, but many law students think there is some secret that everyone else knows, but there isn't.

Wait until you get to Barbri after the end of all this on that first day of lecture people will have their school sweatshirts etc within a week or so those are all gone and everyone just cares about passing. Maybe I am wrong, but honestly most law students myself included continually though there was something I was missing.

I remember as a 1L I went to a mid-level school then I remember seeing kids in law review etc, thinking they must have it all figured out. I then got onto law review and everyone was concerned about their futures and so forth. Then I remember seeing mock trial kids they must have it figured out I did that and same thing they were all freaking out and so forth about the future.

Then I did internships with students from "higher ranked" schools than me again I thought they had it all figured out, but the bosses treated us equally and honestly didn't necessarily know where we went to school they cared whether we got assignments done and if one of us didn't know what was going on which was often nobody said I went to X school. Instead I again came to realize nobody knows what they are doing.

I worked for Judges in law school to and a lot of them were worried about doing the wrong thing concerned and so forth and a couple I had no idea what school they went to. They never mentioned it they could have been online law grads for all I know it just never came up. However, they were often worried about doing the wrong thing and so forth.

Then when I took Barbri back in the day I saw Vanderbilt, Harvard, Yale sweatshirts and I remember thinking they must know all this stuff. Low and behold we were all asking eachother for help in between lectures and freaking out. Then one of those schools had NEVER done multiple choice in law school and they were upset about it. My school didn't offer a bar related subject I was upset everybody had complaints about what their school should have done differently under the stress of the bar.

When I got out there same thing applied again I worked alongside all caliber of schools and

I mention this because I continually thought there was something I was missing and everyone else at X school, or who did X activity had it figured out, but the reality is NOBODY in the law really knows what they are doing.

Maybe Phoenix does not work for you and maybe it really is some terrible school I cannot say I have no first hand experience, but if your only talking to law students particularly 1L's the amount of misinformation going on in their heads it astounding as I was there myself.

Again, I could be 100% wrong and my experiences are my own and they did not take place in Arizona or involve Phoenix law school in anyway. America is a pretty big country and things are different city to city, but in my anonymous internet poster opinion there really isn't much difference between school X and school Y.

I am sure plenty of reasonable people think otherwise.

Julie Fern

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Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 08:09:59 AM »
low and behold, eh?  why not high and behold?

Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 03:34:24 PM »
low and behold, eh?  why not high and behold?

Enquiring minds want to know (catchphrase developed to promote the National Enquirer)?

The word 'lo' as used in this phrase is a shortening of 'look'. So, lo and behold! has the meaning of look and behold. Lo in this and its other meaning, which is more akin to O!, has been in use since the first Millennium and appears in the epic poem Beowulf.