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InfiLaw Files Third Lawsuit against ABA
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Arizona Summit Law

Summary: Arizona Summit Law School has filed their own lawsuit against the American Bar Association, alleging abuse of power and unequal treatment.

The American Bar Association has received a third lawsuit filed against them by an InfiLaw school. Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix, Arizona filed suit, alleging the national accrediting body had treated them unequally, abusing their power. The three lawsuits have been filed in federal court over the past two weeks.

  
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The lawsuits claim the ABA “arbitrarily” applied standards on their law schools while overlooking other law schools that had lower numbers, according to AZ Central. Arizona Summit, formerly known as Phoenix School of Law, was put on a two-year probation back in March 2017. The ABA cited the law school for being out of compliance with admissions policies and academic standards and for not keeping a rigorous program that supported students being able to pass the bar exam. The school was also told in January 2018 that they were out of compliance in regards to insufficient finances.

Arizona Summit Interim Dean Penny Willrich said, “[The] ABA deliberately has turned a blind eye to our achievements, mission, and results – which include bar examination performance that at times had led the state and, despite a recent decline, remains consistent with nationwide trends and in compliance with accreditation standards.”

Willrich claims that those law schools with similar or lower admission standards have not been cited for being out of compliance. Arizona Summit President Don Lively called the ABA standards as “vague, indeterminate and subject to manipulation.”

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A law school with accreditation means that its graduates are unable to take the bar exam in most states, which graduates must pass in order to be practicing attorneys in most states. There are 204 law schools in the United States currently accredited by the ABA.

InfiLaw was created by Don Lively, an attorney and law school professor who wanted to increase the diversity in the legal profession. He believes Arizona has fully complied with the ABA standards. They raised their admission standards with an increase in test scores. They have added counselors to help students. The law school is also putting an emphasis on bar exam preparation. Officials noted they also conducted fundraising efforts to improve the school’s financial situation.



When Arizona Summit opened in 2004, its first class had a 97 percent passage rate on the Arizona Bar Exam on the July 2008 exam. Since then the school has struggled but no more than some law schools in other states.

Florida Coastal, one of Arizona Summit’s sister schools, was found out of compliance in October. In their lawsuit against the ABA, they contend that they “repeatedly asked the ABA for clarification, specificity and definition regarding specific actions it must take to demonstrate compliance with the association’s standards, but the ABA has declined to provide such guidance.”

The other InfiLaw school is the now-shuttered Charlotte School of Law. Their downfall was swift and hard. They have sued the ABA for violating their due process after they were put on probation and promptly lost access to federal student-loan funding.

Arizona Summit’s law school is asking for the probation to be lifted since it was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated their due process.

Do you feel that the ABA has targeted the InfiLaw schools? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about Arizona Summit, read these articles:

Photo: usatoday.com



 

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