The law school at Lincoln Memorial University has been granted a five-year extension to acquire accreditation from the American Bar Association. The extension was granted by a state board in Tennessee. The extension now allows students at the John J. Duncan Jr. School of Law to sit for the Tennessee bar exam through the date of December 2017. The notice of the extension was sent to the school on Tuesday by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. The extension was granted not long after officials from the board spent a couple of days at the school during the month of March.
The Tennessee board originally accredited the Duncan school in 2009 under one condition; that the school obtain ABA accreditation before 2012 comes to an end. The school was denied preliminary accreditation by the ABA towards the end of 2011, prompting a lawsuit on behalf of the Duncan school that alleged due process and antitrust violations. U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan denied the school’s appeal on April 2 because the school failed to provide any new evidence or arguments. It was ruled by Varlan that the lawsuit be stayed through May 3 and is requiring a written notice about the appeal decision from the ABA.
On the website for the Duncan school a note was posted about accreditation: “makes no representation to any applicant that it will be approved by the American Bar Association prior to the graduation of any matriculating student.” When the ABA denied accreditation to the Duncan school some students decided to withdrawal from the school while one student decided to sue the school for ‘negligent enrollment.’ Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that permits students to sit for its state bar exam without obtaining a degree from an accredited ABA school. The alternative requirement is that the school receive accreditation from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.