The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Lincoln Memorial University is suing the ABA in federal court. (View the complaint here.) Earlier this week, LMU’s law school, the John R. Duncan Jr. School of Law, was denied provisional accreditation by the ABA Section of Legal Education because it was not in substantial compliance with Standards 202, 303, and 501, including low admissions standards. The school has already received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.
The lawsuit claims that the ABA violated antitrust laws. “What it says is that in a nutshell, we were denied due process because we met the standards promulgated by the ABA and we didn’t receive accreditation, so what we’re seeking is fair hearing,” said Sydney A. Beckman, vice president and dean of LMU’s law school. “It also alleges antitrust violations because it appears when you deny a school that met accreditation standards, that you’re try to limit the number of law schools.”
In the complaint, LMU observes that “”Defendant ABA’s actions also constitute an intentional misuse of its dominate market power as the gatekeeper for for accreditation of law schools and the benefits that accompany that status.” Blank Rome’s Michael Cioffi contributed to this complaint. He also worked on Cooley’s Sixth Circuit appeal for one of its branch campuses back in 2006.
Dean Beckman told the Knoxville NBC affiliate,”We regret having to take this action. We want to work with the ABA to improve legal education, not work against them or have them work against us.”
Whatever the result of this suit, it is clear that the pressure on the ABA will continue until the entire legal education system substantially changes.
- Above the Law: Duncan Law School Sues ABA for Antitrust Violation (December 22, 2011)
- Nat’l Law Journal: Spurned by the ABA, law school strikes back with antitrust suit (December 22, 2011)
- New York Times: New Law School Sues Bar Association (December 22, 2011)