Friday, December 23, 2011

Duncan Law School Sues ABA

No surprise here. Duncan Law School, the Tennessee law school featured in last Sunday's NY Times article about the business of law schools has lost their bid for accreditation. See the post here for a link to that article and some details.

In today's article - New Law School Sues Bar Association - David Segal reports that one of the reasons for the ABA's refusal to accredit Duncan is that admission standards are not high enough to satisfy the current ABA standard. As Segal writes -
Specifically, the council found that Duncan, which is part of Lincoln Memorial University, fell short of a standard that prohibited the school from enrolling students who did not appear “capable of satisfactorily completing its educational program and being admitted to the bar.” The standard, say legal scholars, is to protect students from schools that are trying to cover their costs by admitting people who are unlikely to succeed.
Duncan's Dean, Sydney Beckman disagreed. As Segal notes -
Mr. Beckman countered that the median Law School Admission Test score of Duncan’s incoming students is 147 (out of a possible 180), which he said met or exceeded the scores of eight accredited schools. He added that the grade-point average of incoming students met or exceeded roughly 30 A.B.A.-approved schools.
Of course, if the students at Duncan are willing to practice only in Tennessee the school need not be accredited by the ABA. California has a number of law schools that are only state accredited. As financial realities continue to impinge on the ideal it is possible that more students will forgo the ABA accredited school in favor of lower tuition. That would be a free market economy development that might actually change the law school business model.

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