Law Schools

Law school at University of Puerto Rico out of compliance with academic support standard

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University of Puerto Rico

The University of Puerto Rico. Photo by y Ashig84, via Wikimedia Commons.

The University of Puerto Rico School of Law is out of compliance with an accreditation standard regarding academic support, according to an Oct. 10 letter posted online by American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The standard, 309(b), requires accredited law schools to allow students a reasonable opportunity to complete a legal education program, graduate and “become members of the legal profession.”

Academic support has been an concern about the law school, according to a statement to the ABA Journal from William Vázquez Irizarry. Last year, the law school campus was hit with Hurricane Irma in September, and before the school could reopen, Hurricane Maria arrived. Working with Legal Ed, the University of Puerto Rico and five mainland law schools came up with a limited course load of approximately seven credits for students, which were offered free of charge at the participating mainland schools.

“Our law students are among the best and more able to complete their legal studies and find a professional job,” Vázquez Irizarry said in his statement. “However, we are well aware of the challenges students and law graduates are facing due to the economic and fiscal situation in Puerto Rico. Needless to say, these challenges have been aggravated in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.”

The council reached its decision at its September meeting, according to the letter. The law school has been asked to submit a report by Jan. 15, and appear before the council when it meets in May.

The law school has taken steps to improve services and resources, Vázquez Irizarry wrote. “We will be supplementing information to the Council regarding concrete actions being taken. We are committed to address such challenges and to timely provide the Council the information showing our full compliance with ABA standard 309(b).”

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