Law Schools

NCCU Law to shrink next first-year class in response to ABA accreditation issues

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NCCU School of Law

North Carolina Central University School of Law. Photo by RDUpedia, via Wikimedia Commons.

The law school at North Carolina Central University, which was recently found to be out of compliance with an ABA accreditation standard regarding admissions, announced Saturday that its first-year class for the 2018-2019 school year will be smaller.

The statement was made by university officials speaking with an alumni group, the Herald Sun reports. The law school sees itself as an opportunity school, and Johnson Akinleye, the university’s interim chancellor, said that they will continue giving chances to applicants who don’t have top LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs.

“That tradition and that legacy has not changed. And it will continue. This is what we are all invested in,” he said.

The historically black university’s law school was notified by letter in January that it was not in compliance with Standard 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1, which states that factors to consider in determining compliance include academic and admission test credentials, the school’s academic attrition and recent graduates’ bar passage rates.

Out of 104 North Carolina Central law school graduates who took the North Carolina state bar for the first time in July 2017, there was a 56.73 percent pass rate, according to information released by the state’s board of bar examiners. The overall pass rate for North Carolina first-time test takers in July 2017 was 72.2 percent.

The law school’s median LSAT score is 145, according to its Standard 509 Information Report for 2017, and its median undergraduate GPA is 3.22. Seventy-five people, 59 of whom were people of color, left the law school through nontransfer attrition, the report states.

“A lot of the questions we’re getting is us trying to justify to them that we’re not being predatory, ” said Kyle Brazile, the assistant dean of law school admissions, according to the Herald Sun.

The law school was asked to submit a report to the ABA Section of Legal Education by Feb. 1 and appear before the accreditation committee in June. Akinleye told the alumni group that the law school is working with outside reviewers, whose advice will include how to be a law school of opportunity and meet ABA accreditation standards.

Greg Doucette, president of the law school’s alumni association, told the Herald Sun in an earlier article that NCCU Law’s nontransfer attrition is not unusual for the school. According to him, the school grades on a “C curve” and sends home first-year students who can’t maintain a 2.0.

He also told the newspaper that students who finish their first semester with a GPA under 1.4 are asked to leave.

“It’s not like running the tab for three years and then laughing to the bank as graduates flounder,” Doucette said.

The law school did not comment Monday on an ABA Journal information request regarding what its LSAT or cut scores will be for the 2018-2019 first-year class.

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