ABA Says, ‘No Accreditation for You!’

Lincoln Memorial University in Knoxville, Tenn., opened its John J. Duncan School of Law in 2009, but the law school was just turned down for accreditation by the American Bar Association. Here’s the story.

We don’t find out why the ABA said no to LMU, which is trying to make law school more accessible. The accreditation standards it applies are vague enough that it’s not hard to find some fault with a new school. Does the school not have competent people who can teach students about civil procedure, torts, contracts, property, and so on? I bet that’s not it. Does the legal-education cartel not want more competition? Maybe.

An interesting feature here is that Tennessee is a state that allows people who have not graduated from an ABA-accredited law school to take the state bar exam. I suspect that most of the students are Tennessee residents who intend to practice in the state, so the ABA’s decision may not hurt very much.

The U.S. already has an abundance of law schools, and many recent law grads are working as bartenders or doing other non-legal jobs. Nevertheless, those are not good reasons why this particular school shouldn’t be allowed to compete.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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