Summary: The ABA has sanctioned 10 law schools for low admission standards.
Since August 2016, the American Bar Association has publicly cracked down on 10 law schools. The ABA has issued warnings or probation to these universities because of alleged lax admission standards, which has resulted in thousands of graduates who are unable to pass the bar and are thus saddled with high debt and little job prospects.
According to Law.com, the ABA’s moves have been “unprecedented” because historically crackdowns in admissions are rare. However, when law schools began accepting students with poor grades or LSAT scores as low as 150 (out of 180), the negative results were hard to ignore.
Law.com compiled a list of the ten schools reprimanded by the ABA since 2016, and the list includes Charlotte Law School, which has since shuttered.
10 ABA Sanctioned Law Schools
- Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia
- Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix
- Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida
- Charlotte Law School in North Carolina (closed)
- Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan
- Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville
- John Marshall Law School in Atlanta
- Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego
- Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston
- Valparaiso University Law School in Valparaiso, Indiana
Some of the schools on the list such as Arizona Summit, Charlotte, Florida Coastal and John Marshall faced public criticism for being for-profit institutions, while others such as Valparaiso improved their standards and were found to later be in compliance and had their sanctions removed.
Barry Currier, the ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education told Law.com, that the law schools remain accredited during the disciplinary process and they are given time to comply with the rules.
“It is logical to ask these schools to demonstrate that the students who are coming into their programs have a reasonable likelihood of success with academics and on the licensing or bar exam, and that the schools have programs to maximize the students’ likelihood of success,” Currier said.
Since the economic crash in 2008, the interest in the legal field has waned, and the number of law school applications have dropped. Some schools have responded to this by decreasing their class sizes while others have allowed students with less impressive academic records to enter.
Law.com spoke with deans from Florida Coastal, Thomas Jefferson, Arizona Summit, and Ave Maria. The deans said that their schools were now fully compliant or were working towards compliance.
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