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Troubled Kentucky Law School to Close

Posted Oct 23, 2008 8:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A troubled Kentucky law school will file for bankruptcy and close its doors at the end of the year.

The Barkley School of Law in Paducah, with 10 full- and part-time students, is “just not viable,” its dean, Larry Putt, told the National Law Journal. A statement by the school’s owner blamed the closing on financial obligations, mismanagement and negative publicity attached to its predecessor, the American Justice School of Law.

Putt told the National Law Journal that Barkley was saddled with debt from a mismanaged library built by the American Justice School of Law. The former school’s leaders “invested wildly in the purchase of materials that are not even essential to the building of a competent library," Putt said. "It boggles the mind."

Financial problems at the predecessor school had led to a lack of supplies and a lawsuit filed by disgruntled students. The suit, settled in February, said administrators delayed disbursing loans to students. It also contended there was no toilet paper in the restrooms, copiers and printers often had no paper, and the lights were once turned off in the library because the school couldn’t pay its bills.

Putt told the National Law Journal the financial problems were insurmountable. "I decided recently that given the burden left over from the previous operation, the school is just not viable," Putt told the publication.

Putt was more optimistic when he called ABAJournal.com in July. He said the school would not enter a first-year class this year, but it was rebuilding and hoped to have provisional accreditation by 2010 or even 2009.

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