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Sunday, November 27, 2016
ABA Sanctions More Schools Over Admissions
The American Bar Association, the regulatory body in charge of policing America's law schools, has recently disciplined two more schools over what it characterizes as lax admissions policies.
The public censure was directed at the Valparaiso University School of Law and Charlotte Law School. This brings to three (including Ave Maria School of Law) the number of schools that have been disciplined by the ABA since August of 2016.
Part of the ABA's roll is to make sure that law school admissions is stringent enough to filter out students who are unlikely to excel academically in law school and pass the bar exam after graduation. Quality control, if you will.
But some of the censured schools raise interesting rebuttals. The downturn in the legal profession has caused a severe curtailing in enrollment. The response of law schools to that has taken on many forms, from laying off staff to increasing tuition. Another trend has involved relaxing admission requirements. Though few schools will admit to doing so, experts have cited declining LSAT scores and bar pass rates as evidence that law schools are evolving through this crisis.
There are 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S. Losing accreditation has different effects on students, depending upon the state in which they are located. However, many states will not allow students from unaccredited institutions to sit bar exams or practice law.
The disciplined schools have two years of probation during which they must meet with ABA standards in order to maintain accreditation. Their failure to do so may have long and lasting impacts upon their students.
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