Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law v. American Bar Association
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
2012 WL 137851 (2012)
In August of 2009, classes began for the inaugural class of the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law (DSOL) (plaintiff) located in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2011, the DSOL applied for provisional approval for accreditation from the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (council) (defendant). The council, which accredits law schools throughout the United States, reviews applicants for accreditation based on its Standards for Approval of Law Schools. Accreditation from the council is not required for bar admission in some states, such as Tennessee, which does not require applicants for bar admission to have graduated from an accredited law school. After a site visit and two separate hearings, the council ultimately denied provisional approval to DSOL. The council determined that DSOL did not establish that it was in substantial compliance with the Standards. The council’s decision was based on a multitude of findings, including DSOL’s failure to revisit its feasibility study, its inability to reach enrollment projections, its lowering of its admission standards, its failure to demonstrate strong academic support for its students, its readmission of a large number of students that had been dismissed due to academic failure, and its failure to adhere to strong academic standards. DSOL was free to reapply for provisional approval in as few as 10 months. DSOL filed a lawsuit against the council, seeking judicial review of the council’s decision and requesting preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. DSOL alleged that the council’s decision to deny accreditation was not supported by substantial evidence and was not in accordance with due process.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning ()
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