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ABA Grants Provisional Approval
To Western State University College of Law
Tuesday February 15, 11:11 am ET
"This action re-affirms the American Bar Association's confidence in the quality of our people and our programs, and it signifies our substantial compliance with ABA standards on accreditation," said Maryann Jones, Dean. "We are pleased that the ABA's House of Delegates has concurred with the recommendation of The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar to grant us provisional approval ABA accreditation. The entire process has reassured students and prospective students as to the high national caliber of our law program."
"Western State has made significant progress in the last two years which has resulted in a strengthened institution. To be able to join the ranks of the nation's ABA-approved law schools is a major step forward, and it confirms our ability to build a law program that is worthy of national recognition," said Jones. "This is an important victory for our students," said Jones, "because it will allow them to enjoy the privileges of graduation from an ABA- approved law school.
"Students currently working toward a May 2005 graduation will now be able to graduate from an ABA-approved law school and satisfy the requirements of employers who prefer to hire only graduates of ABA-approved schools."
Western State University College of Law remains accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California (CBE) which permits students to sit for the bar examination in California, and by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Last February, the ABA was on the verge of voting on a resolution to withdraw provisional approval because Western State University had reached the end of five years of provisional approval without attaining full approval as required. The ABA withdrew the resolution and agreed to reconsider Western State's case at a special meeting of the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. Although the Council again voted to withdraw Western State's provisional approval, the Council did permit Western State to reapply for provisional approval on an expedited basis.
Western State University submitted an application for new provisional approval to the ABA last August and the ABA conducted a site visit this past fall to reevaluate the school and review its application to grant this new provisional approval.
Western State University College of Law was founded in 1966 and is the oldest law school in Orange County. Western State University College of Law is recognized for its diverse student body with more than 40% minority enrollment. For two consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report rated Western State University #1 in its law school diversity index. Its nearly 9,000 graduates include hundreds of prosecutors and public defenders throughout the state, more alumni on the judicial bench in the region than any other law school, and countless professionals in private practice, in administrative and government positions within state and local bar, and in a number of diverse ethnic and gender-related organizations. The school's graduates are well represented in other counties of Southern California and can be found across the country and beyond.
Western State University College of Law is owned by Education Management
Corporation (Nasdaq: EDMC
- News; http://www.edmc.com
), one of the largest providers of private post-secondary education in North
America, based on student enrollment and revenue. Student enrollment exceeded
66,000 as of fall 2004. EDMC has 70 primary campus locations in 24 states and
two Canadian provinces. EDMC education institutions offer a broad range of
academic programs concentrated in the media arts, design, fashion, culinary
arts, behavioral sciences, health sciences, education, information technology,
legal studies and business fields, culminating in the award of associate's
through doctoral degrees. EDMC has provided career-oriented education for over
Georgia now has a fifth nationally accredited law school. Midtown's John Marshall Law School ended a decade-long quest to receive accreditation this week when the American Bar Association approved its application.
ABA law school accreditation is first granted on a minimum three year provisional basis. John Marshall, as a newly accredited law school, now has five years to gain final accreditation.
The accreditation makes John Marshall the third private law school in Georgia and the 190th accredited law school in the nation. It joins the ranks of Georgia's public laws schools, The University of Georgia and Georgia State University, and private law schools, Emory University and Mercer University.
This is the first time John Marshall has received national accreditation, which means its graduates may apply to become members of bars in other states and may receive federal financial assistance. Previously, the school was only accredited by the State Bar of Georgia, which meant its graduates were typically limited to applying for bar membership here.
John Marshall only offers evening courses, catering to people working towards second careers in the law.
One prominent graduate of the school is current Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Alan Blackburn.
The ABA decision represents a historic moment and a significant turnaround for John Marshall, which in the past decade had made several unsuccessful attempts to gain accreditation.
An investor, Michael Markovitz, took control of the school in 2001, then hired Dean John E. Ryan to put a strategy in place to reach accreditation. They received time extensions on their accreditation attempts, and eventually improved the school's state bar exam pass rates from a dismal 20 percent to a much-improved 80 percent.
The school was also working against a Georgia Supreme Court deadline mandating that only graduates of nationally accredited law schools could sit for the Georgia Bar exam starting in August 2008. The Georgia high court is the authority on admissions standards for Georgia's legal profession.
The significantly improved bar passage rate was cited by the ABA as a key factor in the favorable accreditation decision.
John Marshall has 172 students, 16 full-time faculty and 14 adjunct faculty. The school expects increased enrollment from its newly accredited status.
The school was founded in 1933 to provide an educational opportunity to students that couldn't pursue a traditional full-time law school program.