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ABA Sanctions Two Law Schools for Low Admissions Standards
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Photo courtesy of WSOC TV.

Summary: Two law schools have been reprimanded for their lax admissions standards.

The American Bar Association is fighting to stop schools from taking tuition dollars from students who will never pass the Bar Exam. Over the years, fewer qualified candidates want to go to law school, which is notoriously expensive but no longer has a guarantee of a high-paying job at the end. In response, many law schools have chosen to lower their admission standards, which means people who are not actually fit to practice are admitted to school but never make it as lawyers upon graduation.


This week, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced that it placed the Charlotte School of Law on probation and censured the Valparaiso University School of Law. They stated that the two schools were not compliant with ABA accreditation standards.

The ABA said that Charlotte failed to prepare its students to pass the bar, and that it’s first-time bar passage rate was a paltry 45%, while the statewide average was 66%.

According to WSOC Charlotte, Charlotte School of Law opened in 2006 without accreditation and it was given provisional approval in 2008 before granted accreditation in 2011.

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Valparaiso University School of Law was founded in 1987. Its dean, Andrea Lyon, told the Chicago Tribune that the school had received the notice about their admissions standards, which had evolved because of declining student enrollment. She said that at the school’s peak, they had 600 students but now the school had 375. She said that the school had been forced to cut faculty, and since the recession, the number of people taking the LSAT dropped by 50%.

Lyon expressed dismay about the ABA’s censure, and she said that the school had been working on compliance before the ABA’s October decision, which was announced this week.

“Everything they asked us to do we were doing long before they asked us,” Lyon said.

Valparaiso’s passage rate for the Indiana bar exam was 61%.

The ABA legal education section is demanding Charlotte and Valparaiso submit to the accreditation committee admissions data and methodology for the fall 2017 incoming class of students. They are also requiring both law schools to inform students of the school’s first-time bar passage rates.

The deans for both law schools said that they are quickly acting on the ABA’s requests, and it is noted that the schools have two years to regain compliance with ABA standards.

To read the notice to , click here.

To read the notice to Valparaiso University School of Law, click here.

What do you think of the ABA decision? Let us know in the comments below. 


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