ABA Files Brief in Opposition to Duncan School of Law Complaint
CHICAGO, Jan. 3, 2012—In a brief filed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Knoxville Division, the American Bar Association responded to a complaint filed by Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law.
The response states that Duncan School of Law was not in “substantial compliance” with all of the section’s Standards for Approval of Law Schools. Standards with which the school was not compliant include the following:
Standard 203: Strategic Planning and Assessment
“[A] law school shall demonstrate that it regularly identifies specific goals for improving the law school’s program, identifies means to achieve the established goals, assesses its success in realizing the established goals and periodically re-examines and appropriately revises its established goals.”
Standards 303(a) and (c) and Interpretation 303-3: Academic Standards and Achievements
Standard 303(a): “A law school shall have and adhere to sound academic standards, including clearly defined standards for good standing and graduation.”
Standard 303(c): “A law school shall not continue the enrollment of a student whose inability to do satisfactory work is sufficiently manifest so that the student’s continuation in school would inculcate false hopes, constitute economic exploitation, or detrimentally affect the education of other students.”
Interpretation 303-3: “A law school shall provide the academic support necessary to assure each student a satisfactory opportunity to complete the program, graduate, and become a member of the legal profession…”
Standard 501(b) and Interpretation 501-3: Admissions and Student Services
Standard 501(b): “A law school shall not admit applicants who do not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its educational program and being admitted to the bar.”
Interpretation 501-3: “Among the factors to consider in assessing compliance with Standard 501(b) are the academic and admission test credentials of the law school’s entering students, the academic attrition rate of the law school’s students, the bar passage rate of its graduates, and the effectiveness of the law school’s academic support program.”
Finally, the response suggests that Duncan School of Law has not exhausted its right to appeal the decision by the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to deny provisional accreditation. That appeal, provided for by federal law and the section’s rules, should be satisfied before any review of the decision is undertaken, according to the response.
The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its Accreditation Committee are both recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) as the only federal accreditors for programs leading to the first degree in law. In this function, the Section and its Council are separate and independent of the ABA, as required by DOE regulations.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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