Paul L. Caron

Friday, June 26, 2020

Concordia Is Sixth Law School To Close Since 2017

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Concordia University School of Law to Close:

Concordia Logo (2018)Concordia University School of Law, which has been providing high-quality legal education in Boise since 2012, will close permanently at the end of the summer term as part of the closure of Concordia University—Portland (University). Although the University had signed a letter of intent in February to transfer the School of Law to Concordia St. Paul (CSP), the parties were unable to consummate the transaction.

Interim Dean Latonia Haney Keith said the decision to close the law school is devastating in light of the tireless efforts made by the University and CSP to secure a transfer agreement and the approval of the American Bar Association (ABA) and accrediting bodies.

“We are absolutely heartbroken for our prospective and current students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our supporters and donors who have worked so hard over the last eight years to build a law school up from scratch. I can’t thank everyone enough for their work, energy, and commitment to this law school and the values we stand for,” she said.

The ABA and all other accrediting bodies have been informed of this development and that the original teach-out plan, previously approved by the ABA, is no longer viable. To ensure current students can complete their education, the School of Law is modifying its teach-out plan that it will submit to the ABA for approval. As Concordia Law will no longer be able to admit new students for the Fall 2020 term, its admissions team will be working closely with each student to find them a new path for their legal education.

Concordia Law welcomed its first class of law students in 2012 and in August reported its highest incoming class at 89 students. The annual enrollment increases were one indicator of the law school’s overall success. Concordia Law earned full ABA accreditation in 2019, is ranked among the nation’s most affordable law schools, and is one of three law schools nationally that for two consecutive years posted a 100% ultimate bar pass rate.

“Additionally, we are grieving for and with our Idaho community,” said Haney Keith. Through its clinical program, the School of Law has worked to bring legal counsel and representation to the region’s underserved communities, fighting against the socio-economic disparities in housing law and advocating for reforms of the criminal justice and immigration systems. Pro bono legal services are core to the School of Law’s mission, and students have represented individuals and families most in need, including battered women, veterans, refugees and the homeless.

The School of Law’s most recent graduating class provided 4,614 hours of pro bono legal services, totaling nearly $1 million dollars to under-represented members of the Idaho community. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased unemployment, the need for legal services is on the rise.

“Put simply, our closure leaves a significant gap in access to justice in this community,” said Haney Keith.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

The other law schools to close since 2017 were Arizona SummitCharlotteIndiana TechValparaiso, and Whittier. In addition, La Verne and Thomas Jefferson law schools converted to California-accredited law schools when they lost their ABA accreditation.

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