preLaw - Fall 2016 - 16
'You don't quit, and neither do we'
2-year-old UNT Dallas was denied ABA accreditation,
but the school says it won't give up or change its focus.
BY Katie thisdell
May will be an exciting month for the first
graduates of University of North Texas at
Dallas College of Law. Nearly 70 students
will make history at the state's newest public law school when they receive their J.D.s.
But, will they be able to use them?
As of yet, there's no guarantee that the
fledgling law school's inaugural class will be
able to become practicing lawyers.
The school isn't accredited by the
American Bar Association, which means,
unless the state Supreme Court intervenes,
graduates will be barred from taking the
July bar exam.
experiment. The 10th law school in Texas,
UNT Dallas isn't focused on rankings or the
test scores of its student body. It's trying to
create practice-ready attorneys who come
from less-advantaged backgrounds and will
carry their skills into public service roles.
The school's tuition is affordable -
the lowest in the state. Full-time, in-state
students pay just over $15,000 per year.
The school's vision is for graduates to leave
school with minimal debt so they can afford
to pursue public service jobs.
Students are also assessed more frequently than at other schools, most of which
UNT Dallas hopes the situation will
change before commencement exercises,
but for now it is stuck in the regulatory
process. An ABA committee has recommended that the school not be accredited,
citing concerns about admissions policies
and worries over financial stability.
"We plan to address the concerns of
the ABA Accreditation Committee at the
meeting of the ABA Council in October,"
said Royal Furgeson, the school's founding
dean. "While ABA standards require that
our response remain confidential, we do
believe that our presentation will make a
strong case for ABA provisional accreditation at this time."
The school is in the midst of a grand
administer a single test at the end of each
semester. In a letter to potential students,
Furgeson said he believes this strategy will
help both students and faculty.
"We don't want anyone to fall behind if
we can prevent it," he wrote. "So we will
be challenging you, but we will also be supportive."
But until the school is approved by the
ABA, the affordable J.D. may not give students what they had expected.
The ABA has approved 205 law schools,
four provisionally. Provisional accreditation
is an intermediate step toward full accreditation, but it allows graduates to take the bar
New law schools can't apply for approval
until they've been in operation for at least
one year, explained Barry Currier, the ABA's
managing director of accreditation and legal
education. That means a school is in the
midst of its second year when it applies,
and the earliest it can be granted provisional
approval is at the start of its third year. As a
result, a new law school must admit at least
three classes before it knows whether it will
receive provisional accreditation.
This has led to some anxious times for
For example, the ABA denied accreditation to Indiana Tech Law School in August
2015. Indiana Tech decided to give full
scholarships to its entire entering class as
an incentive to students who would be taking a risk. The school received provisional
accreditation in March, just in time for its
first graduates to take the bar exam.
Concordia University School of Law
in Boise, Idaho, faced the same challenge.
The ABA denied it accreditation in August
2014. As a result, a number of students
in Concordia's inaugural class either transferred or delayed graduation. The school
received provisional accreditation in June
2015, only one month before the bar exam.
It delayed commencement ceremonies until
August that year so students could study for
UNT Dallas is now in a similar position,
as Texas allows only those who have graduated from ABA-accredited law schools to
sit for the bar exam. Furgeson said UNT
Dallas will immediately petition the state
Supreme Court to allow 2017 and 2018
graduates to sit for the bar exam.
But the hope is that the ABA will grant
provisional approval before students graduate in May.
the dallas difference
The ABA's standards require law schools
to provide "a sound program of legal
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of preLaw - Fall 2016
Table of Contents
preLaw - Fall 2016 - Cover1
preLaw - Fall 2016 - Cover2
preLaw - Fall 2016 - Table of Contents
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 4
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 5
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 6
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 7
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 8
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 9
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 10
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 11
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 12
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 13
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 14
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 15
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 16
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 17
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 18
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 19
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 20
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 21
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 22
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 23
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 24
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 25
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 26
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 27
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 28
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 29
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 30
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 31
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 32
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 33
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 34
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 35
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 36
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 37
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 38
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 39
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 40
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 41
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 42
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 43
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 44
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 45
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 46
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 47
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 48
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 49
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 50
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 51
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 52
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 53
preLaw - Fall 2016 - 54
preLaw - Fall 2016 - Cover3
preLaw - Fall 2016 - Cover4