Charleston School of Law directors staying out of CofC merger talks

Leadership points to clause in state license prohibiting merger

Posted by Paul Bowers on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 9:55 AM

As Charleston-area state legislators meet to discuss the possibility of a merger between the public College of Charleston and the private Charleston School of Law, members of CSOL's board of directors have said they will not participate in the discussion. In a letter to the Charleston County legislative delegation, board members Robert S. Carr and George C. Kosko point to a portion of the school's state-issued license that states that "in the event that the school, or its officers or agents, should make an attempt to cause the school to become a part of the College of Charleston or any other public institution, the license granted to the school shall be null and void and immediately revoked."

The idea of a merger between the two schools has been floated by legislators including Georgetown Republican Rep. Stephen Goldfinch, whose wife is on the board of trustees at the College of Charleston. The merger proposal came about after current and former students of the law school expressed outrage at a recently announced partnership with InfiLaw Management Systems, a Florida-based company with a mixed reputation in the legal community. But the CSOL board directors, who to date have not expressed any interest in a merger with the public college, will stay out of the discussion today, instead sending an assistant dean to the meeting along with a written statement.

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The statement, attributed to Kosko and Carr, goes into some detail about the school leadership's decision to enter a management services agreement with InfiLaw. The statement says that the board members "found ourselves in the position of needing to make a succession plan as the majority of the founders expressed their desire to pull back and retire." It also says that the school pursued several other options for the school's future, including sale to a private school, transfer to a non-profit institution, and sale to a current owner. The letter states that the board considered the non-profit route twice "but found it not to be a viable option due to a complex process and regulatory impediments."

The statement also reveals for the first time that the agreement with InfiLaw is "a one-year renewable management services agreement."

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