Lincoln Memorial University, with its ambling and withered John J. Duncan School of Law, is hoping a new program, The Center for Leadership and Community Advocacy, will give it the step up it needs to bolster its law school performance and finally get accredited.
The new leadership program, which they have modeled on Pepperdine University in California, will focus on conflict resolution and mediation, said university President B. James Dawson, according to knoxnews.com. It will offer such degrees as an educational doctorate in executive leadership, a master’s in education in community agency counseling, a master’s of business administration and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
LMU will also offer a free course as part of their Admission Through Performance Program, a summer program for prospective students who don’t meet admission requirements, but who want to prove their mettle by taking the course. Ten students have expressed interest so far.
When the downtown Knoxville law school, Duncan Jr., was denied accreditation in 2011, and this on account of the viability of the program, as well as the number of students likely to find work after graduation, the school at first levied a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the ABA. It has since dropped the suit, and instead suited up, getting a new consultant and interim dean, who have some relation to the ABA’s accreditation arm and are working to get things ship shape. Their first class is graduating this summer and taking the bar, with 51 percent of the 80 or so graduates with jobs lined up, said Parham Williams Jr., the interim dean.
ABA accreditation members visited in March, will submit a recommendation report in June, will discuss LMU in October, and will make a recommendation to the full council in December. If they finally get accredited, the school may be able to salvage its struggling program.