Charlotte School of Law announces closure

Charlotte School of Law announces closure

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - School officials with Charlotte School of Law announced Thursday that the school will be closing their doors.

According to a spokesperson with the school, the school "no longer has a path forward" after their operating license expired on August 11.

"This closure has disrupted the lives of everyone in the CharlotteLaw community, particularly impacting our students' dreams of achieving their educational and career goals," school officials said.

The spokesperson said school officials are "continuing to work diligently to help our remaining students find opportunities to complete their legal education."

School officials released this statement:

"While this announcement is difficult to share, it does not undermine the accomplishments of our many successful graduates or the valuable contributions of the students, alumni, staff and faculty to the community throughout our eleven years. Even though the doors of the school are closing, the good work of Charlotte Law graduates will continue to positively impact the communities they serve."

The Charlotte School of Law did not receive a license from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, which was confirmed in a letter sent from the UNC Board of Governors to administrators at the law school August 15.

DOCUMENT: Read the letter from the UNC Board of Governors

The Board of Governors issues licenses to all private institutions of higher education in North Carolina. The board issued a restricted license to the Charlotte School of Law this past June. Among the requirements for the license to remain active was that the school re-qualify for federal student loans by August 10; a deadline the school did not meet.

As a result, the school's operating license expired August 11.

A spokeswoman for North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said his office would take steps to ensure the school did not operate without a license.

A spokeswoman for Stein said that the Attorney General wrote US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to notify her that the school was no longer licensed to operate in North Carolina under state law.

The move could potentially allow recently enrolled students to seek total forgiveness of the loans they took out to attend law school.

"I want to express my disappointment for the students and their families affected by Charlotte School of Law's failure," Stein said in a statement. "While good lawyers have graduated from Charlotte School of Law, the school too often failed to deliver for its students."

In addition to writing DeVos, Stein said his office was continuing to take other action on behalf of former Charlotte School of Law students.

"Second, my office stands ready to help students understand their rights at 919-716-6000 or 1-877-566-7226. Third, my investigation into Charlotte School of Law's adherence to North Carolina's consumer protection laws is ongoing," Stein said.

First word of the law school's closure came in an email from the president of the Charlotte School of Law Alumni Association sent an email to the group's members on August 15 saying the law school appeared to be closing immediately.

The email comes less than a day after the American Bar Association rejected a plan put forth by the school that would allow it to remain open and teach its remaining students this year while gradually winding down operations.

WBTV was first to report that the school's state operating license had expired. The school had been operating on a restricted license granted by the UNC Board of Governors in June. The restricted license required, among other things, that the school qualify for federal student aid by August 10, a benchmark the school missed.

Previous story: Accrediting body denies Charlotte School of Law teach-out plan

In his email to alumni sent August 14, CSL Alumni Association president Lee Robertson said he spoke with the school's interim dean regarding the recent regulatory developments and the school's future.

"It appears that there is no path forward. The administration and the faculty are aware of this, and I understand that the students will be informed today," Robertson said in his email. "Our law school, it seems, is closing, effective immediately."

The Charlotte School of Law website was had been taken down as of August 15.

On August 11, the school's dean sent an email to students claiming the school would still open for class this fall as planned. The email said school administrators were working with the UNC Board of Governors to extend its license, which had expired the day before.

On Thursday, school officials said they have "vigorously pursued ways to keep the school open and protect the interests of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are heartbroken that we were unable to achieve the desired outcome."

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