Charleston School of Law owners are sending an unfortunate message to their alumni: We expect you to play an important role in shaping your community, but we don’t need your input about the future of your school.
Since last month’s announcement that CSOL was entering into a management services agreement with InfiLaw System, students and alumni have been largely ignored. They have run into a brick wall as they ask for information, and have been snubbed by the owners.
It’s no way to treat respected members of the Bar — especially those educated at and loyal to CSOL. Alumni can’t even find out if the intent is for InfiLaw to buy the school or just manage it.
The Charleston School of Law is private, and three of the five founders remain as owners. But while that might allow them to do business as they wish, it ignores the fact that the alumni, the city and the legal community have a stake in the school’s success. Alumni don’t want to see the value of their diplomas diminished. The Charleston School of Law, while still young, has enjoyed the support and earned the confidence of many in the legal community. InfiLaw might not command the same respect.
To keep the community in the dark is arrogant and shortsighted. The collective wisdom of interested groups might present opportunities and ideas that would be good for the school, the community and the owners.
Somebody needs reminding that, from the outset, the school has held itself up as preparing lawyers for careers of community service. Certainly alumni could be of service to the school at this critical pass.
Perhaps their idea about CSOL becoming part of the College of Charleston is doable. It is an alternative worth serious consideration.
Or what about another suggestion — creating a non-profit foundation to purchase and operate the school, as suggested by alumni head John Robinson in a column on today’s Commentary page? Why not look into it?
The Charleston School of Law leadership shouldn’t be too hasty.
Before deciding the school’s fate, the college owners should be willing to gather as much information as possible, including the insights of its dedicated alumni.