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Debt-laden Jefferson law school gets "junk" bond rating

Standard & Poor's knocks independent law schools

Standard & Poor's has put out a new study questioning the stability of private law schools. Enrollments grew during the recession because young people could not find jobs, so they went to law school. But as the economy has recovered, there has been a "significant reduction" in enrollments, says S&P.

San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law has expanded enrollments until there was a slight decline in fall of this year. "However, operating surpluses have not boosted financial resources fast enough and, as a result, the law school has violated its balance sheet covenants for fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013," notes S&P. Management doesn't think the school will meet its financial covenants until 2018.

Jefferson's large amount of debt and high debt service, resulting from construction of a new facility that went into sevice in 2011, are weaknesses, says S&P. It gives Jefferson's debt a B+ rating with a negative outlook. That's a junk rating. S&P's AAA, AA, A, and BBB are considered investment grade. Ratings of BB, B, CCC, CC, and C get the junk tag.

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Standard & Poor's has put out a new study questioning the stability of private law schools. Enrollments grew during the recession because young people could not find jobs, so they went to law school. But as the economy has recovered, there has been a "significant reduction" in enrollments, says S&P.

San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law has expanded enrollments until there was a slight decline in fall of this year. "However, operating surpluses have not boosted financial resources fast enough and, as a result, the law school has violated its balance sheet covenants for fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013," notes S&P. Management doesn't think the school will meet its financial covenants until 2018.

Jefferson's large amount of debt and high debt service, resulting from construction of a new facility that went into sevice in 2011, are weaknesses, says S&P. It gives Jefferson's debt a B+ rating with a negative outlook. That's a junk rating. S&P's AAA, AA, A, and BBB are considered investment grade. Ratings of BB, B, CCC, CC, and C get the junk tag.

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Comments
14

loss -- cool

Dec. 7, 2013

viewer: I'm not sure I understand your comment, but there is already a surfeit of lawyers and some are going to lose a lot of money, while others will never practice law. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

viewer: I try to avoid breaking posters' threads. I guess I failed this time. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

Go get a (chat) room.

Dec. 8, 2013

Duhbya: Where are the applications? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 8, 2013

Not sure - I'm out of practice.

Dec. 8, 2013

I don't know what that means viewer. Don - My first husband went there many years ago. I worked and gave him money for his tuition etc. When he said he was done he told he changed his mind about being a lawyer. Obviously he was not prepared (or interested in acting like an adult) Just all around dishonest but I didn't understand at the time. He might not have even been going to school. He had - so he said - a philosophy degree from State. After that I know he got the elementary school teaching credential cause we were at school together. That's when he continued to law school cause he changed his mind about teaching. I think he couldn't handle the working world because after the divorce he started a lawn gardening business and still whines about not having any money.

Dec. 7, 2013

viewer: If shirleyberan reads it, it's very possibly cool. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

shirleyberan: Being dishonest does not disqualify some people from practicing law, particularly securities law. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

Inquiring mind

Dec. 7, 2013

shirleyberan: An inquiring mind is an asset, although not for some lawyers, particularly defense lawyers. In such cases, it's not wise to ask questions of your client. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

Everybody has a story - I like telling mine to Don.

Dec. 7, 2013

shirleyberan: And you have many interesting stories to tell. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

After the public and other established, ABA accredited law schools have had the opportunity to sift through the applicants and choose (with their own pecking order) those they will accept, schools such as this one get the culls. Harsh talk? Darned right, but darned accurate. They charge as much as, or more than, the highly rated schools and turn out a mixed bag of graduates. Many grads do just fine and are competent attorneys, but others don't do well at all and don't make strong attorneys.

Where does all the money that they charge the students go? Faculty pay? I really doubt that. Marketing? Some for sure. Building palatial facilities that impress the rubes? Well, that's the excuse here.

It does appear that Thos Jefferson is doing everything wrong. It is sued for misrepresentation of the employment record of its grads, and now its debt is junk. Maybe time for it to go away? Naw, nevahappen.

Dec. 7, 2013

Visduh: Jefferson has plenty of problems. That shiny new building with all the debt on it is just one problem. As you mention, Jefferson is being sued for misrepresentation. It consistently has low rankings. If the surfeit of lawyers gets worse, Jefferson could suffer enrollment drops that essentially doom it. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2013

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