Law School Seeks Restraining Order Against ABA
A law school previously found “significantly out of compliance” with American Bar Association (ABA) standards is now seeking a restraining order against the ABA.
Florida Coastal School of Law filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida asking the court to postpone requirements imposed by the ABA, Law.com reports.
Requirements Imposed By The ABA
The ABA imposed a number of requirements in April, after it found that the school was significantly out of compliance with standards including program objectives, academic advising, and admissions policy, according to the ABA Journal.
Requirements imposed by the ABA, according to Law.com, include the following:
- Disclosing to all admitted students that the school has been found out of compliance with the accreditation standards and it was required to take remedial action. The two-page public notice must also be posted to Florida Coastal’s website.
- Informing each student of the school’s first-time bar pass rates in Florida and Georgia—broken down by class quartiles—as well as which quartile the student falls into based on their most recent grades.
- Appointing a fact finder to visit and examine, among other things, admissions policies, attrition rates, bar exam results, student loan default rates and the school’s finances.
Florida Coastal Puts Up A Fight
In May, Florida Coastal sued the ABA arguing that its accreditation standards are “unlawfully vague and enforced inconsistently across schools.” The school is owned by InfiLaw, which also own two other for-profit law schools, Charlotte School of Law and Arizona Summit School of Law.
In its arguments, Florida Coastal claims that the ABA ignored changes made by the school, including an improvement in its most recent bar exam results, when 62% of first-time takers passed the February 2018 exam – the fourth highest in Florida’s 11 law schools, according to Law.com. Additionally, Florida Coastal further argues that its incoming students since the fall of 2016 have improved their academic credentials. The ABA found these changes to be “too recent and inefficient in finding the school out of compliance with its standards.”
Since August 2016, the ABA has picked up its enforcement of law schools with lax admission standards. During that time, according to Law.com, the association has sanctioned 10 law schools including Appalachian School of Law, Arizona Summit Law School, Ave Maria School of Law, Charlotte Law School (now closed), Cooley Law School, Florida Coastal School of Law, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, and Valparaiso University Law School.
Sources: Law.com, ABA Journal, Law.com