TOP LEGAL NEWS OF THE WEEK

Thomas Jefferson law school’s accreditation at risk

The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced June 10 that it has voted to withdraw ABA accreditation of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.

In its decision, the council cited continuing issues with several of its standards related to the school’s resources, level of legal education and admissions policies and practices.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law  (photo by Matthew Broncato)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law (photo by Matthew Broncato)

In November 2017, Thomas Jefferson School of Law was placed on probation and informed of its non-compliance with several ABA legal education standards. A statement last week by Barry Currier, managing director of ABA Accreditation and Legal Education, said “substantial process and review has continued since that report.”

“The ABA accreditation process provides meaningful opportunities for a law school to establish that it is operating in compliance with the accreditation standards,” Currier said. “When the council concludes that a law school is operating out of compliance with a standard, the school is given time to act and demonstrate that it is back in compliance. If a school does not demonstrate compliance, the council follows an established process, which can lead to sanctions such as probation or the withdrawal of approval.”

Thomas Jefferson School of Law has until July 10 to appeal the decision to an appeals panel of the council. The withdrawal of accreditation will not be effective until that date or, if an appeal is filed, until the panel makes its decision. The school is required to file a plan to phase out classes, but that requirement will be delayed if it appeals.

The council, which acts as an independent arm of the ABA, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit law schools nationally. Most states require graduation from an ABA-accredited law school to take the bar and practice law in their state.

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