Transparency at U.S. Law Schools

This page summarizes recent actions taken by the American Bar Association against law schools for non-compliance with the ABA accreditation standards. Under Title 34, Chapter VI, § 602 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Council for the ABA Section of Legal Education and the Council's Accreditation Committee are recognized by the United States Department of Education as the accrediting agency for programs that lead to the J.D. degree.

Potential Actions Additional law schools appear to be presumptively out of compliance with Interpretation 501-3 based on student retention data.

Quick Standards Summaries

Recent Actions

SchoolDateActionDescription
Lincoln Memorial University April 2018 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standards 501(a) and 501(b) and Intrepretations 501-1, 501-2, and 501-3. Expand »»
Ave Maria School of Law August 2016 Public Notice of Specific Remediation The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 501(a) and Standard 501(b). Expand »»
Charlotte School of Law October 2016 Public Notice of Probation and Specific Remediation The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 301(a), Standard 501(a), and Standard 501(b). Expand »»
Valparaiso University October 2016 Public Notice of Censure and Specific Remedial Action The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 501(a) and Standard 501(b). Expand »»
Arizona Summit Law School March 2017 Public Notice of Probation and Specific Remediation The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 301(a), Standard 308(a), Standard 309(b), Standard 501(b), Interpretation 501-1, and Interpretation 501-2. Expand »»
Charlotte School of Law March 2017 Non-Action on Teach-Out Plan The Council declined to act on the teach-out plan provided by the school because the school did not indicate a plan to close.
Appalachian School of Law May 2017 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 301(a), Standard 501(a), Standard 501(b), and Standard 502(d). Expand »»
SUNY Buffalo May 2017 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 202(a), Interpretation 202-1, Standard 502(d), and Interpretation 502-1. Expand »»
Thomas Jefferson School of Law May 2017 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 202(a), Standard 202(d), Standard 301(a), Standard 309(b), Standard 501(a), Standard 501(b), Interpretation 501-1, and Interpretation 501-2. Expand »»
Texas Southern University June 2017 Public Notice of Censure, Fine, and Specific Remedial Action The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 104 and Standard 205(b). Expand »»
Texas Southern University June 2017 Public Notice of Specific Remediation The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 301(a), Standard 309(b), Standard 501(b), Interpretation 501-1, and Interpretation 501-2. Expand »»
Charlotte School of Law August 2017 Teach-Out Plan and Reliable Plan Rejection The Council announced that the Accreditation Committee rejected the school's reliable plan, which was supposed to demonstrate a clear path towards compliance with the accreditation standards. The Council also rejected the school's teach-out plan for winding down the law school in an orderly fashion.
Indiana Tech August 2017 Public Notice of Removal of Provisional ABA-Approved Status The Council announced that it had revoked the school's provisional status after the school voluntarily closed.
Florida Coastal School of Law October 2017 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 301(a), Standard 309(b), Standard 501(a), Standard 501(b), and Interpretation 501-1. Expand »»
Thomas M Cooley Law School November 2017 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1. Expand »»
Thomas Jefferson School of Law November 2017 Public Notice of Probation and Specific Remediation The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 202(a), Standard 202(d), Standard 301(a), Standard 308(a), Standard 501(a), Standard 501(b), Interpretation 501-1, and Interpretation 501-2. Expand »»
Valparaiso University November 2017 Public Notice of Removal of Public Censure The Council, upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee, determined that the school had come into compliance with Standard 501(a) and Standard 501(b).Expand »»
Appalachian School of Law December 2017 Public Notice of Specific Remediation The Council found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 301(a), Standard 501(a), and Standard 501(b). Expand »»
Arizona Summit Law School January 2018 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 202(a). Expand »»
North Carolina Central University January 2018 Public Notice of Non-Compliance The Accreditation Committee found that the law school is not compliant with Standard 501(b) and Interpretation 501-1. Expand »»
Ave Maria School of Law February 2018 Removal of Requirements of Specific Remedial Actions After previously finding non-compliance with Standard 501(a) and Standard 501(b), the Council found that the law school was compliant.
Charlotte School of Law February 2018 Removal of ABA Accreditation The Council removed the school's accreditation after the law school's license to offer its J.D. program in North Carolina expired on August 11, 2017.

Relevant Standards

Appropriate Academic and Bar Support

Standard 301(a) A law school must maintain a rigorous JD program that prepares its students for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation in the legal profession.

Standard 308(a) A law school must adopt, publish, and adhere to sound academic standards, including those for regular class attendance, good standing, academic integrity, graduation, and dismissal.

Standard 309(b) A law school must provide academic support designed to afford students a reasonable opportunity to complete its program, graduate, and become members of the legal profession.

Bar Exam Outcomes

Standard 316 The minimum bar passage standard that has never been enforced because it is nearly impossible to enforce.

Financial Viability

Standard 202(a),(d), Interpretation 202-1 The current and anticipated financial resources (including tuition, endowment, gifts, and income) available to the law school must be enough to carry out its JD program in compliance with the ABA Standards.

Healthy Educational Environment

Standard 205(b) A law school must foster and maintain equality of opportunity for students, faculty, and staff, without discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

Non-Predatory Admissions Standards

Standard 501(a) A law school must maintain sound admissions policies.

Standard 501(b) A law school must only admit applicants who appear capable of completing school, passing the bar exam, and being admitted to the bar.

Interpretation 501-1 The ABA may consider admissions credentials for enrolled students, academic attrition, bar passage rates, and academic and bar support programs in assessing compliance with Standard 501. Standard 316 is not alone sufficient to comply with Standard 501.

Interpretation 501-2 Sound admissions policies include consideration of admission test scores, undergraduate records, obstacles overcome, and more.

Interpretation 501-3 A law school with non-transfer attrition rate above 20 percent for a class is presumptively out of compliance with Standard 501.

Truthful and Timely Provision of Information

Standard 104 A law school must provide complete, accurate, and not misleading information to the Council and Accreditation Committee in the form, manner, and time specified by the Council.