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Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law Receives Provisional Accreditation from ABA
By Jim Vassallo

Lincoln Memorial University’s law school has received accreditation from the American Bar Association, according to WBIR.
The accreditation comes after years of working to reach the milestone. Joy was definitely in the air at the Duncan School of Law in Knoxville earlier this week when the news broke.

Professor Matt Lyon said, "This provisional accreditation, it is a crucial step in this law school's evolution."

Law student Aaron Kimsey said, "I was sitting in my study room and hitting refresh on the ABA's website all day. Then I heard people cheering and jumped up and screamed. We're all excited. It's kind of the affirmation of what we already knew. The program here is phenomenal."

The law school will have to go through a provisional accreditation period, which all new law schools are required to do when receiving ABA approval. In a couple of years, the law school will put itself through another application process to earn full accreditation.

Up to this point, graduates of the law school were only allowed to take the bar exam in Tennessee. With accreditation from the ABA, the law school can now market itself to students across the country because they will be allowed to practice law anywhere in the country.

"We have four graduates this weekend. Those graduates, they can sit for the bar exam in all 50 states," said Lyon.

Accreditation for the law school was initially declined back in December of 2011. Since that time, the law school tried to sue the ABA, changed its leadership, mended ways with the ABA and proved it can perform well in the classroom.

Close to 91 percent of graduates from Duncan School of Law have passed the bar.

"When you have that objective measure, it helped alleviate some doubts they [the ABA] may have had," said Lyon. "It is a real credit to the students here who took the exam, because they passed the bar knowing they would not be eligible to go outside Tennessee. This is not retroactive, so students who have already graduated before accreditation are not able to sit for the bar in other states. But it is the success of those students that made it possible for our school to move ahead."

Kimsey added, "The community has really stood behind us and really been involved in the school and that's made all the difference in the world."

LMU is now able to recruit students for the law school from all corners of the country.

"Accreditation is so vital to our school's mission to serve Appalachia, which extends from Georgia to Maine," Lyon said. "In many ways our work is only beginning. We're now on the same playing field as everyone else. I mean, it's a great feeling."

Duncan School of Law can apply for full accreditation in December of 2016 and has until December of 2019 to achieve it or else the provisional accreditation will expire.

"The adversity encountered in seeking accreditation has made the institution stronger, our program of legal education better and our administration wiser," Interim dean and vice president Parham Williams wrote in a release. "Our mission will always be to provide our students with the best legal education possible."

Posted on: 12/14/2014 06:33 PM | Number of feedback 3


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