Law Schools

Law prof blasts 'downright predatory' poaching of his school's students; top transfer schools named

  • Print.


Image from Shutterstock.

An American University law professor is criticizing George Washington University’s law school for poaching American’s students, calling the practice “downright predatory.”

GW enrolled 97 transfer students, and more than half came from American University’s Washington College of Law, the GW Hatchet reports.

In Facebook post picked up by TaxProf Blog, American University law school’s associate dean for faculty and academic affairs, Anthony Varona, says GW’s “backdoor transfer trick” hides the academic background of its student body because transfer students’ college grade point averages and LSAT scores don’t have to be disclosed.

“Speaking only for myself and not in my official law school capacity, I view this practice as downright predatory,” Varona wrote. “No other law school is similarly raided anywhere else in the United States.” The poaching of students from his school, Varona said, causes “quite a bit of disruption.”

“GW Law is an excellent and honorable law school,” Varona adds. “This practice is far beneath its illustrious history and reputation. Thank goodness it has an outstanding, and ethical, new dean in Blake Morant.”

George Washington isn’t the only law school with a significant number of transfer students from one particular feeder school, says University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Jerry Organ in a Legal Whiteboard post noted by TaxProf Blog.

More than 95 percent of Idaho’s 57 transfer law students in 2014 come from Concordia University, nearly 95 percent of Michigan State’s 33 transfers came from Cooley, and 67 percent of Arizona State’s 66 transfers came from Arizona Summit. Concordia University did not receive provisional accreditation from the ABA, apparently spurring the high number of transfers, Organ says.

In raw numbers, Organ says, Georgetown had more transfers than George Washington in 2014, with 113 students compared to 97 for George Washington.

In percentage terms, Arizona State had the most transfer students, at 51.6 percent of its previous first year class, followed by Idaho at 51.4 percent. George Washington was sixth on the list, at 20.2 percent.

Story corrected on Jan. 16 to identify Organ’s law school as the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.