Monday, June 11, 2018
Law360, Law School Oversight Suits Point To Needed ABA Reforms:
In the past month, the American Bar Association has been hit with four lawsuits criticizing the way the association accredits and regulates law schools, but while experts are somewhat skeptical about the suits’ chances of success, many agree that the suits do get at least one thing right: The ABA’s approach to law schools is in need of reform.
Three for-profit law schools owned by the consortium InfiLaw (Arizona Summit, Charlotte, Florida Coastal) and nonprofit Thomas M. Cooley School of Law have taken to court to challenge ABA enforcement actions targeting their admissions policies. Alleging the ABA's oversight has been inconsistent and arbitrary, the schools have asked courts to declare the ABA actions are invalid and block the ABA from trying to enforce its noncompliance decisions. ... In addition, a former Charlotte law professor ... brought the ABA into an existing suit related to the school’s alleged mismanagement.
Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, told Law360 that he thinks all of the schools deserved ABA scrutiny and are unlikely to prevail in their suits — but that they may have a point about the way the ABA goes about enforcing its standards. “From a policy point of view, I want and expect the ABA to enforce its standards consistently and predictably,” McEntee said. “And from the outside it doesn’t look like they are.”
The recent wave of suits hit on concerns that the ABA has fallen short in its role as an accreditor. “What one wants from an accreditor is to protect the interests of students and the public,” said Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. “In that regard we have been very concerned about the ABA for some time.”