Summary: Third year law students at Concordia Law School will not attend classes this semester while the school’s credentials are reviewed by the American Bar Association to determine the school’s eligibility for provisional accreditation.
As the third class at Concordia Law School gears up for its first year of law school, the third year law students are preparing for a break this fall, Boise State Public Radio reports.
Concordia Spokesperson Madeline Turnock stated “Approximately half of our third year law students are taking a break for fall semester while they await information on the accreditation process.”
Concordia, located in Boise, Idaho, is still trying to get provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA). The ABA has postponed provisional accreditation while it more closely examines the school and its credentials. The ABA is sending a fact finder to Concordia this fall. The absence of third year students should not impact the ABA’s review of the law school. Turnock is optimistic about the process. “The accreditation process continues to be on track. It continues to move forward in positive steps toward provisional accreditation,” she says. Spring graduates still have a chance of sitting for the bar exam if the provisional accreditation is granted in time. The ABA has not told the school when the accreditation decision will be made, however.
This can pose a major problem for the students set to graduate: according to Idaho state law, students of law schools that have not been at least provisionally accredited by the time of graduation are not allowed to take the bar exam. Therefore, they will not be able to become lawyers after undergoing three years of rigorous coursework.
For a law school to be accredited by the ABA, the school must undergo an approval process than can take several years. Students at new law schools take a huge chance when they enroll before the school has been at least provisionally accredited. It takes roughly two years for a law school to earn provisional accreditation, and full accreditation comes a few years after that. Graduates of provisionally accredited schools and graduates of fully accredited schools are viewed equally in the legal profession. Students of provisionally accredited schools can usually be rest assured that they will be able to take that state’s bar exam and practice law upon graduation.
The ABA has been busy in the past few years determining the accreditation of several schools. Belmont University’s new law school was provisionally accredited in 2013, just in time for the first graduating class to take the bar exam. Both University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth and La Verne University in California were both accredited in 2012. Interestingly, graduating from an accredited school is not mandatory for California attorneys. La Verne has been in operation since the 1970s. The school formerly had provisional accreditation but later lost it for not meeting ABA requirements. The University of California—Irvin was provisionally accredited in 2011, and four other law schools obtained full accreditation. Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law was denied provisional accreditation the same year.
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