STRUGGLING LAW SCHOOLS ANNOUNCE RELOCATION PLANS
A law school struggling with enrollment may have found a new home.
Valparaiso University recently sent a non-binding letter of intent to Middle Tennessee State University with hopes of transferring its school location to Murfreesboro, the Daily News Journal reports.
“Our exploration of this proposal is in keeping with MTSU’s tradition and strategic priority of pursuing innovative partnerships that create meaningful opportunities for our students, our region and our state,” MTSU’s president Sidney A. McPhee says in a press release.
Last fall, Valparaiso saw only 29 newly enrolled students. The university announced that it would no longer be admitting new students and would seek to merge with another university, where it may have higher odds of attracting more students, Inside Higher Ed reports.
In October 2016, the law school ran into trouble with the ABA. According to a released ABA letter, the ABA gave Valparaiso a public censure for not being in compliance with admissions standards. The public censure followed a New York Times story that reported how out of the law school’s 131 class of 2015 graduates, only three had secured jobs within large law firms.
ABA GOES AFTER NON-COMPLIANT LAW SCHOOLS
The ABA hasn’t been shy in going after law schools with laxed admission standards.
According to Inside Higher Ed, between June 2016 and December 2017, the ABA has notified 11 total law schools that they had been “censured, placed on probation, found to be out of compliance with standards or that they needed to take remedial action.”
Below are law schools that have been publicly scrutinized by the ABA:
- Ave Maria School of Law
- Valparaiso University School of Law
- Appalachian School of Law
- State University of New York University at Buffalo School of Law
- Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
- Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School
- Cooley School of Law
- North Carolina Central University School of Law
- InfiLaw schools
But, according to Inside Higher Ed, the ABA hasn’t necessarily been “increasing” its policing of law schools. Rather, its decision to publicly post decision letters has placed a spotlight on law schools with weak standards. Previously, the ABA didn’t publish letters sent to law schools.
“The public postings are, basically, what follows under our rules when schools get to a certain step in the enforcement process,” Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, tells Inside Higher Ed.
Currier tells Inside Higher Ed that the ABA’s accreditation process gives cited law schools an opportunity to improve itself to meet compliance.
“The accreditation committee and the council have taken appropriate steps to require schools that have been operating out of compliance with the standards to come into compliance, or to face sanctions if they do not,” Currier tells Inside Higher Ed. “The council is considering changes to allow the accreditation process to move with more dispatch. But, in general, the first step the council has taken when it has concerns about a school is providing the school with an opportunity to bring itself back into compliance. That seems an appropriate step to take.”
Sources: Daily News Journal, Inside Higher Ed, Inside Higher Ed, American Bar Association, New York Times, Inside Higher Ed