Andy Abrams, president and dean of the Charleston School of Law, said he thinks a sale to the for-profit InfiLaw System is the best viable option for the school's future.
In a campuswide email Monday, Abrams said he has "come to realize that there is a significant difference between preferences and viable options" for the school's future. After exploring the issue for six months, he thinks InfiLaw presents the best viable option.
Abrams has been with the school since it opened in 2004, first as a professor, then as dean. In May, he also took on the role of president.
Law school owners in July announced that they had entered into a management services agreement with InfiLaw, which owns three other law schools. They subsequently announced that a sale was in the works.
That sale is contingent on InfiLaw being granted an operating license from the state Commission on Higher Education. The commission currently is reviewing InfiLaw's application for a license, and it won't consider or vote on InifLaw's application until May at the earliest.
Many people have spoken out against a sale to InfiLaw, including students, alumni, members of the state's legal community and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. Opponents have said InfiLaw schools have lower standards than the Charleston School of Law.
Abrams said InfiLaw has a lot to offer students. He spent the past several months talking with InfiLaw leaders and visiting the other law schools in its consortium.
InfiLaw focuses on students, and on hands-on learning, he said. And the company has the resources to put in place similar efforts at the Charleston school.
Abrams said he also is convinced that InfiLaw understands and wants to preserve the Charleston school's distinctive culture.
He said his goal now is to make the Charleston school "the crown jewel of InfiLaw's consortium of schools."
InfiLaw, he said will "retain the core and build for the future."
Daniel Cooper, president of the Student Bar Association, said he and other students remain unconvinced that InfiLaw will be good for the Charleston school. "There still hasn't been one student that stood up and said they support the InfiLaw decision," Cooper said. "We're going to fight until the CHE makes a decision, and even after that."
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.