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American Bar Association Grants LMU-Duncan School of Law Provisional Accreditation
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LMU's Duncan School of Law has received provisional accreditation from the ABA.

Summary: The ABA has granted provisional accreditation to LMU-Duncan School of Law. The school may apply for full accreditation as early as December 2016.

The students, faculty, and staff of Lincoln Memorial University John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law (LMU-Duncan School of Law) have received some good news: the American Bar Association has granted the school provisional accreditation, according to


Provisional accreditation will provide students the same recognition as students at fully accredited schools. Students who attend the law school while it is provisionally accredited will be seen as graduates of an accredited law school. After a law school receives provisional accreditation, a school may apply for full approval at least two years later, and must be fully accredited within five years after receiving provisional accreditation. Therefore, the school may apply for full accreditation no earlier than December 2016.

Read about the steps the school took to gain accreditation.

Lincoln Memorial University’s president, B. James Dawson, said, “For an institution with over a century of rich history, there are few achievements that surpass this milestone for Lincoln Memorial University. I commend Dean Parham Williams, his administration at LMU-DSOL, Vice President for Academic Affairs Clayton Hess and the many other University officials who worked tirelessly toward this goal. All our pursuits are focused on our students and I’m happy to be able to celebrate with them today.”

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The ABA is changing its accreditation standards. Read more here.

To become accredited by the ABA, a school must show that it is in substantial compliance with all of the ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools. The Department of Education recognizes the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions as the accrediting agency for educational programs that offer juris doctor degrees.

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The school has an impressive track record when it comes to Tennessee’s state bar exam: Since the first class graduated in May 2013, an impressive 91 percent of the school’s alumni have passed the exam. During the latest bar exam, the school earned a 77.14 percent pass rate for first-time testers, which was five percentage points higher than the first-time test average not just for Tennessee test-takers, but for first-time test-takers across the country.

Read about the ABA’s visit to the law school.

Interim Dean and Vice President of the law school Parham Williams said, “For our students, our faculty and the dedicated administration of Lincoln Memorial University, this is a result five years in the making. The adversity encountered in seeking accreditation has made the institution stronger, our program of legal education better and our administration wiser. Our mission will always be to provide our students with the very best legal education possible.”

Provisional accreditation grants LMU-Duncan School of Law all the rights of a fully accredited school, and will allow its alumni to take a bar exam in any U.S. jurisdiction. To obtain full accreditation, the school has five years at most to demonstrate that it fully complies with the ABA Standards of Approval of Law Schools. The school has already proven its compliance in the bar passage standard. The school’s pass rates on the Tennessee bar exam show that the school fulfills each of the bright-line bar passage requirements the ABA requires for full accreditation.

Further, the law school has gained approval from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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