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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ave Maria Law School Is Now In Compliance With Accreditation Admissions Standard

Ave Maria Logo (2018)ABA Journal, ABA Removes Remedial Actions Requirements for Ave Maria School of Law:

Finding that Ave Maria School of Law is now in compliance with an accreditation standard addressing admissions, the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has removed requirements of specific remedial actions.

The council decision was recently posted on the Legal Education Section’s website. Public notice about the law school’s compliance with Standard 501(a) and 501(b) was first given in August 2016, after the council affirmed an accreditation committee finding that the law school was not in compliance with the standard. ...

“The ABA seems to have decided that schools should not be admitting significant numbers of extremely high-risk students, which I have defined as students with an LSAT of 144 or below, with correspondingly low grades,” David Frakt, a Florida lawyer and a frequent critic of the accreditation process, told the ABA Journal. “I assume that when Ave Maria submitted its reliable plan to improve their admissions profile that they promised to bring their bottom 25 percent up to 145. Now that they have done that, there is no need to continue the interim monitoring.” ...

In addition to posting public notice about Ave Maria, Legal Ed posted a Feb.14 memo on its website stating that it has withdrawn approval of Charlotte School of Law. The InfiLaw school closed in August, after the council rejected its teach-out plan. That followed the U.S. Department of Education pulling the school’s access to student loans, the state accreditation agency denying its request for a license deadline extension and the North Carolina attorney general’s office opening a civil fraud investigation.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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Despite a banner year for law firms and legal hiring, and a shortage of lawyers to serve indigent and middle class clients, the ABA is sanctioning law schools that provide access to the legal profession for many students. The ABA sanctioned access schools to reduce competition against the top schools and create an artificial scarcity of lawyers. Good to see Cooley is bravely fighting back against the ABA racket.

Posted by: RICO | Feb 17, 2018 2:57:46 PM

"A banner year for legal hiring."

Indeed. In 2014, 26,248 law school graduates found full-time, long-term, license-required jobs within nine months of graduation, excluding law school-funded positions. In 2016, the most recent year for which we have data, that had fallen to 22,948 graduates within TEN months of graduation. Banner year indeed! A 12.5% decline in just two years during a time of economic expansion!

As for Ave Maria’s jobs stats… ahem. They sported 36 of 63 grads in FT/LT/license-required in 2016. 31 of 86 in 2015. 40 of 110 in 2014, which was only three people more than were still unemployed. 55 of 159 in 2013. 59 of 166 in 2012. 29 of 88 in 2011. By my math, that means Ave Maria has only placed 37% of their graduates since 2011 into FT/LT/license-required jobs. Or as you put it in such Kafkaesque fashion, “Access to the legal profession.” Before the Law, anyone?

Say, did I mention that in 2014 their 25th percentile entering student had a 139 LSAT score and a 2.66 uGPA? A 139 is getting within ten questions of “randomly filling in the bubble sheet” territory. But yeah, how dare the ABA act like an accreditor and call them out on it! It’s funny – somone – obviously not you [rolls eyes] – has frequently been lambasting law school grads who make the NALP median starting income as “mediocre.” One can only imagine what such an imperious mind thinks of the 139 / 2.66 law student.

"A shortage of lawyers to serve the indigent"

Ave Maria is in Naples, Florida. It’s one of the wealthiest places in North America. Wikipedia says it has the highest percentage of millionaires per capita in the United States.

“Good to see Cooley is bravely fighting back against the ABA racket.”

Here in the land of reality, the ABA has been so infamously asleep in its accreditation duties that its own overseer, NACIQI (National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity), recommended to the Department of Education that it be stripped of those powers. The ABA’s unwillingness to sanction or punish law schools for, inter alia, lying about employment outcomes, doing anything about collapsing bar passage rates, and for having all but open admissions were front and center in NACIQI’s reasoning. Aside from one or two accreditors suffering from regulatory capture by for-profit college cabals, pretty much every other accreditor in the country would have taken these law schools behind the woodshed years ago.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 17, 2018 5:43:00 PM