Saturday, September 8, 2018
ABA Journal, Florida Coastal Still Out of Compliance With Accreditation Standards, ABA Legal Ed Council Says:
The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has affirmed its findings that Florida Coastal School of Law is out of compliance with certain accreditation standards—increasing the likelihood that the matter will be settled in court.
The decision rebuffs an appeal from Florida Coastal, which the ABA originally found out of compliance in October of 2017. The council found after a March hearing that it had come into compliance with one of the standards but maintained that most of the problems it had identified still existed.
Florida Coastal appealed that decision, which was rejected at an August meeting of the Accreditation Committee of the section’s council.
The decision may revitalize a lawsuit over the matter. Florida Coastal sued the ABA in May, saying the council is biased against for-profit law schools. A federal district judge for the Middle District of Florida denied the school a temporary restraining order in July, saying action wasn’t appropriate while the appeal was pending. ...
Florida Coastal has pushed back against these findings, arguing that its bar passage are were above average compared to other Florida law schools. In court, it has argued that the ABA is biased against law schools owned by Florida Coastal’s parent company, InfiLaw, “because of its proprietary status.” Florida Coastal also argued that the U.S. Department of Education, under then-President Barack Obama, pressured or encouraged the ABA to take adverse actions against for-profit law schools. InfiLaw is owned almost entirely by a private equity company, Sterling Partners.
Two other InfiLaw schools, Arizona Summit School of Law and the Charlotte School of Law, have also sued the ABA; all three argue that the council denied them due process. Arizona Summit lost ABA accreditation approval in June, and the school is not holding classes this fall. Charlotte School of Law lost its accreditation and was forced to close under North Carolina state law.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- After 71% Enrollment Decline, Florida Coastal Plans To Further Shrink 1L Class To Raise Minimum LSAT Score By 7 Points And Avoid Fate Of Arizona Summit, Charlotte Law Schools (July 3, 2017)
- ABA Notices To Law Schools About Potential Non-Compliance With Accreditation Standards (Oct. 31, 2017)
- Florida Coastal Law School: 'We Are Not For Sale' (Nov. 29, 2017)
- ABA: Florida Coastal Law School Remains Out Of Compliance With Three Of Four Accreditation Standards (May 3, 2018)
- Florida Coastal Law School Sues ABA; Kirkland & Ellis Alleges Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards (May 11, 2018)
- Florida Coastal School of Law Seeks Restraining Order Against The ABA (June 19, 2018)
- Federal Judge Denies Florida Coastal Law School's TRO Bid Against The ABA (June 20, 2018)
- ABA Gives An Inch In Accreditation Fight With Florida Coastal Law (June 27, 2018)
- ABA Moves To Dismiss Florida Coastal's Lawsuit Alleging Arbitrary Enforcement Of Accreditation Standards (July 3, 2018)
- ABA Wins Early Round Against Florida Coastal Law In Accreditation Lawsuit (July 11, 2018)