The man for whom Lincoln Memorial University’s law school was named said Friday he believes a national economy that has left young lawyers unable to repay taxpayer-backed student loans played a part in the school being denied partial accreditation by the American Bar Association.
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville, said as far as he knew, “the law school did everything right (and) got top ratings on just about everything. They’re really a victim of the recession.”
Duncan said a lot of young lawyers around the country were being laid off and unable to repay student loans for law schools they attended. Debts can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
“Sen. (Chuck) Grassley and Sen. (Barbara) Boxer came down really hard on that, demanding that the Department of Education and the American Bar Association do something to remedy the situation. Because of the timing, if that had not happened, they would have flown through with flying colors,” the congressman said.
Grassley is an Iowa Republican and Boxer a California Democrat. Grassley’s communications director, Jill Kozeny, said Friday the senator’s office has talked extensively with the ABA over defaulted student loans.
“Substantively, the issue is whether students get an accurate sense of their job prospects when signing onto law school debt. Even in the best economy, the ABA or law schools shouldn’t misrepresent job prospects and post-graduate employment rates,” Kozeny said in an email.
Grassley and the ABA are in discussions about the quality of ABA-accredited schools based on a Department of Education advisory committee report, Kozeny said.
LMU filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the ABA, claiming antitrust violations. The lawsuit said the accreditation was denied as a means of limiting the number of law schools and therefore the number of lawyers practicing across the country. …
“They (council members) had their minds made up. It’s very unfair to students who have been going there (to LMU) for two years. There are almost 200 students. The ABA should have a different procedure in my opinion,” he said.
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