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Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Western Michigan-Cooley Law School Files Amended Complaint In Lawsuit Against The ABA

Thomas Cooley Logo (2017)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, Cooley Law School Wants More ABA Accreditation Transparency and Compliance Letter Off Web:

The ABA needs more transparency when making accreditation determinations for law schools, and it illegally posted a letter to its website regarding Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School's compliance with an admissions standard, the school argues in an amended complaint filed Jan. 29. 

The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in November 2017 posted the letter, which detailed an accreditation committee appeal brought by Cooley and heard by the section’s council. The letter stated that the council upheld a September 2017 accreditation committee finding that the school was not in compliance with Standard 501(b), which focuses on admissions, and Interpretation 501-1, which discusses factors to consider in admissions.

Also, the council adopted the accreditation committee recommendation to defer a major change request made by Cooley until the law school could demonstrate that it is in compliance with each accreditation standard. The request reportedly was for acquiescence to open a separate location on the main campus of Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, which would offer up to 60 credit hours of the school’s 90-hour JD program.

Cooley’s original complaint was filed against the ABA on Nov. 14. It alleged due process violations and sought a temporary restraining order to prohibit the ABA from publishing the letter. The TRO motion was denied by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in December.

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The damages portion of the complaint could amount to millions of dollars. It will be difficult though for Cooley to establish a connection between the letter and lower enrollment.

Posted by: Beau Baez | Feb 1, 2018 1:13:22 PM