PreLaw - Back to School 2010 - 6
NEW LAW SCHOOL UPDATE
Phoenix Law earns ABA approval, UMass and New Hampshire move forward with merger
Phoenix Law School is fully accredited — right on its own internal schedule. The for-profit subsidiary of InfiLaw Corp. was founded in 2004 with plans to be ABA accredited in 2010. The school has been offering classes since fall 2005 and was granted provisional approval in June 2007. The law school received both provisional and full accreditation on its first attempts. Phoenix is the third accredited law school in Arizona, and the first private school. InfiLaw Corp. also owns Florida Coastal and Charlotte School of Law. Phoenix Law School is not affiliated with the University of Phoenix. When a school applies for accreditation, it must prove that it is in sufficient compliance with each of the ABA standards and present a plan to bring the school into full compliance with the standards within three years. A school must remain on provisionally approved status for at least three years, but must achieve full approval within five years. Graduation from an accredited law school satisfies the requirement to sit for the bar exam in any state. There are now 194 fully accredited law schools and six provisionally-accredited, including Charleston School of Law, Charlotte School of Law, Earle Mack College of Law at Drexel University, Elon University School of Law, University of La Verne College of Law and Liberty University School of Law. The University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth, which was previously known as Southern New England School of Law, is expected to seek provisional accreditation soon. Southern New England had voted in the spring to let the state of Massachusetts take over the assets of the school. After much debate, the state approved the acquisition, and on July 1, Southern New England turned over all assets, valued at more than $20 million. The new law school also received a gift of $210,000 on the same day to support UMass graduates who want to attend law school and pursue public interest-related
Husson University abandons quest to open a law school
Husson University has given up plans to open Maine’s second law school. The private university had spent $300,000 in a failed attempt to get the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to allow its graduates to take the state bar exam. Currently, the court requires that those taking the bar exam be graduates of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association or a similar state organization or have been admitted to the bar in another state. The court denied the university’s request twice. Husson had made the decision not to seek ABA accreditation. The ABA requires that law schools have a tenure track for its professors, and Husson had eliminated tenure about 15 years ago. Husson had proposed a three-year program with tuition set at approximately $18,000 a year, the same as in-state tuition at the Maine School of Law in Portland. The University will continue to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in Criminal Justice and undergraduate degrees in Paralegal Studies through the School of Business.
law. It was a small donation compared to what other schools receive, but an important one symbolically. “This donation will make it possible for 10 students per year to pursue their law school aspirations and then use their UMass Law degrees to serve their communities,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean MacCormack. Franklin Pierce Law Center should also have a new name, if everything went according to plans in August, after this magazine went to press. The 37-year-old private institution in Concord, N.H., had announced plans in March that it would affiliate itself with the state-funded University of New Hampshire. It then received approval from a regional accrediting agency in early summer, and also approval from the American Bar Association Accreditation Committee. The last step in the process was the rubber stamp from the full ABA, which was expected in early August.