Law Schools

Fall Classes May Be Ditched at Troubled Kentucky Law School

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Updated: The construction schedule for a new, expanded library will determine whether fall classes will be held at the troubled Barkley School of Law in Paducah, Ky.

School spokesman Ray Lane told the Paducah Sun that classes will be canceled if the new $5 million library and the renovation of a classroom building are not completed in the next two months. Contracts for all 15 faculty members at the school have not been renewed.

Classes will resume next year, however, after completion of the construction projects that are planned with the goal of winning ABA accreditation, Lane said.

The law school’s new dean, Larry Putt, later clarified in an interview with that only first-year classes will be put on hold. About 20 second- and third-year students will continue to attend classes this fall.

The construction projects aren’t the only changes at the school, formerly known as the American Justice School of Law. Besides the new dean, the school also has a new name and new owners, a physician who owns a pain management center and a lawyer who was on the school’s board of directors.

Putt is planning to change the curriculum and upgrade academic standards before a new first-year class is admitted in 2009. “Barkley will be a new school built from the ground up, as they say,” Putt said. “Nothing, I repeat nothing, is left untouched. It’s an entirely different school. It’s not a name change.”

The school lost five professors—about a fourth of its faculty—when they announced their resignations in February. Many students were also unhappy. About 30 of them sued the school saying administrators sought to enrich themselves at their expense. The students said they paid $13,250 a semester for tuition, but 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.

The suit was settled in February. The school says it has since refunded more than $250,000 in tuition.

Updated on July 29 to add link to more recent interview with Dean Larry Putt.

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