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FAMU Law School Hearing with ABA Canceled

The accrediting board of the American Bar Association scheduled Friday, January 24 as a show-cause hearing for Florida A&M University, according to Tallahassee.com. Now, that meeting has been canceled.

Larry Robinson, the interim president at the school, and LeRoy Pernell, the dean of the law school in Orlando, were going to attend the meeting in San Diego.

The hearing had been scheduled because of the concern over the attrition rate at the school by the ABA. Attrition rate is the number of students who leave school before they earn a degree. The issue was for the college of law at FAMU.

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Pernell and the law school staff submitted new data to the ABA that shows attrition is no longer an issue at the school. This has led to the ABA cancelling the meeting in San Diego.

“This is very good news. The hearing didn’t mean bad news was coming, but not having the hearing is very good news,” Robinson said.

Pernell was named dean of the law school in 2008. The school is 10-years-old and Pernell continuously has to discuss misconceptions about his students, of which there are 514. Full accreditation was earned by FAMU’s law school in 2009. The school was being reviewed by the ABA for the past three years, which is required.

In the academic year of 2011-2012, the attrition rate at the school hit 16.5 percent. It was at 12.8 percent the year prior. Pernell said that the numbers changed when the school realized what the ABA wanted to see in the reports. Once the data was recalculated, the drop-out rate dipped to 12.2 percent for the 2011-2012 academic year.

“We toughened up our standards the year before (2011-2012) and there was an adjustment period,” Pernell said. “Our position is that the spike was not particularly alarming. We took a close look and reported back that we were able to show the basis for admission for every student. We are required to admit only students who have a reasonable chance for success. We showed that students succeed across the spectrum; we can’t pinpoint non-success to any set of entering credentials.”

Last year, the law school began a new program with the main campus of FAMU. The program allows students to complete their senior year at the law school campus in Orlando while they start law school. It is called the 3-plus-3 and it gets rid of one year of tuition for students who enroll.

“We’re reaching out in a more aggressive fashion to students who might be interested in going to law school,” Pernell said.

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