Legal Education

While one law school plans for closure, two others receive full ABA accreditation

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A teach-out plan for Valparaiso University Law School, which calls for it being accredited until the end of August 2020, has been approved by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The Indiana university’s board of directors in November 2017 announced that it would suspend the admission of first-year students at the law school in light of “severe financial challenges” and falling enrollment. In October 2018 the law school announced that it would close, after a plan to gift it to Middle Tennessee State University was scuttled.

David R. Cleveland, the law school’s interim dean, did not respond to an ABA Journal request for comment. According to a notice posted by the ABA, the council in February approved Valpo Law’s teach-out plan, which was submitted in December. The accreditation is for the limited purpose of allowing current students to complete their JDs at the school, or as transient students at other ABA-approved schools. If the law school’s state license is withdrawn or terminated, the council has the authority to remove its accreditation, the notice states.

The board’s November 2017 announcement came a few days after the council removed a 2016 public censure, which at the time stated that the law school was not in compliance with admissions standards.

According to Valparaiso’s Standard 509 Information Report for 2015, its median GPA was 2.93, and the median LSAT score was 145. On its 509 Report for 2016, the median GPA was 3.02, and the median LSAT score was 147. With those improvements, the school’s 1L class shrank from 139 students to 28 students between 2015 and 2017. On its 509 Report for 2018, the law school lists a total of 103 students.

In other ABA accreditation news, the council has granted full approval to Idaho’s Concordia University School of Law and Tennessee’s Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law.

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