Law Schools

New Texas law school seeking ABA accreditation gets more time to make its case

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The University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law is getting more time to persuade the ABA that it deserves accreditation.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced on Thursday that the new law school’s accreditation application was being sent back to the section’s accreditation committee for additional review. The section statement is here (PDF). The Texas Tribune and the Dallas Business Journal published stories on Wednesday about the expected ABA action.

The decision follows a recommendation against accreditation by the section’s accreditation committee earlier this year.

Since then, the statement says, the ABA legal education section held a meeting attended by UNT Dallas law school representatives who offered new evidence. As part of the additional review process, an ABA fact finder will visit the law school to review and verify the new evidence, focusing on matters related to school admissions and finances.

The school has de-emphasized LSAT scores and has a mission to train lawyers for public service jobs or to serve lower income clients, according to the Texas Tribune.

UNT Dallas law dean Royal Furgeson tells the Texas Tribune that he expects a decision on accreditation near the time when the school’s first law school class graduates this spring. Texas doesn’t allow law grads to take the bar exam unless they come from an accredited school. But Furgeson has a backup plan.

He is asking the Texas Supreme Court to allow the law school’s first graduates to take the bar exam, even if the ABA doesn’t grant provisional accreditation.

Furgeson also tells the Texas Tribune that the school is seeking to address the committee’s concerns. Law school applicants who score less than a 142 on the LSAT, or who struggled academically at a different law school, will have to be approved by a supermajority of the school’s admissions committee, Furgeson said.

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