Law School Denied Accreditation

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Kizmet, Jul 30, 2015.

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  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    So two provincial courts ruled against the discriminatory policy and one ruled in their favor. I imagine a ruling from the Supreme Court will eventually settle this.

    I think it's an interesting debate. On the one hand, a school can be formed by a religious group. On the other hand, once you hang out that university sign you are making a statement that you are open to the general public.

    Personally, I think that if you are, say, a Rastafarian and want to open RastaU that's fine. And I think that no government should tell you how to teach your Rastafarian subjects. But when it comes to awarding degrees for regular aged professions you need to play by the same set of rules as the rest of the schools offering those programs. Don't like the rules? Don't offer the program. There's no reason a Christian can't attend a secular law school and if a law school focuses more on its Christianity than its teaching the law then it probably does a greater harm to the community overall.
     
  3. Garp

    Garp New Member

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    This school did not prohibit anyone from attending. They have an honor code that states (paraphrasing) sexual relations are between a man and woman within the marital state. When the whole controversy erupted they were public that the code is not policed and that they have gay students and alumni. That was problematic for a couple of the Provinces (one later lost in court). The thought or ideal that the school aspired to was deemed incorrect in relation the the ideals of the Provincial Bar (equivalent).

    Incidentally, several years ago the Province tried to deny the schools education grads from practicing as teachers. The University sued and won.
     
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  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    OK, let's try to apply that logic elsewhere, shall we.

    I hang up a sign that reads "No bears allowed."

    I'm sued for discriminating against bears and lose.

    Realizing this, I don't hang up a sign. Instead, I issue a written policy that, within my store, all patrons must walk on two legs at all times, may not be more than 83% covered in hair, must greatly dislike both honey and picnic baskets and furthermore, we believe that store patronage is biblically limited to non-bears.

    Guess what? Still discriminatory toward bears (if such a thing is illegal in your jurisdiction).

    Now, they may ultimately fail. And whether that is a good or bad thing is a matter for further discussion. But saying that they denied admission to no one (accurate since the school hasn't opened) but merely has a policy that would result in either denying admission to said persons or expelling said persons had they been granted admission is a splitting of hairs that warrants being highlighted.
     
  5. Garp

    Garp New Member

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    Actually, the school has been around since approximately 1962. While the Law School is new, the school is not.

    You are not quite following and your analogy is therefore not accurate. TWU does not disallow gay people from attending. As I noted, they have gay students and alumni. Their honor code states sexual activity is between a husband and wife (I.e. married and heterosexual). Straight students and gay students are expected to be celibate while attending. But as they noted, they are not policing the code. It expresses their ideal conduct.

    I might even guess that they don't have people who always live up to the code AND shockingly enough are probably well aware of that fact.
     
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  6. Garp

    Garp New Member

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  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    We aren't discussing the school that has been around since 1962. We are discussing the law school which is a separate entity and requires a separate approval to offer any meaningful credential to its graduates.

    Indeed, and the province hasn't said they aren't allowed to open the law school. They can proceed without this approval. But then their graduates won't be eligible for bar admission.

    So the province isn't saying that they can't have a law school just that their graduates can't be lawyers unless the school is truly open to all.

    It's really an institutional version of what the school is doing. No one is forcing anyone to do (or not do ) anything. They are just creating a set of consequences should you do something the other doesn't approve of.

    Thing about codes like this is that "we aren't policing it" doesn't meant you have a free pass to do what you like. Sure, you could enroll and live your life according to your own conscience. However, the school would then have the right to dismiss you if you ran afoul of this program. So, there exists a possibility that a single student would be disciplined for failing to be celibate (regardless of sexuality) while literally every other member of the student body did the same. If the policy isn't uniformly applied then it becomes even more likely to be applied in a discriminatory fashion.
     
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    This doesn't quite stand up.

    Discrimination takes two forms: by action and by outcome. These are known as discriminatory actions and disparate impact, respectively.

    Discriminatory actions are the ones with which we're most familiar. 'No Coloreds' signs in the South throughout the Jim Crow era were an example of that. Blatant, direct discrimination. Cut and dried.

    Disparate impact is a little harder. This is when the practice in question may or may be obviously discriminatory, but the resulting outcome creates a situation where people are excluded when they shouldn't be.

    Saying that sex is allowed only between a man and a woman is probably a discriminatory action. But if it is argued, essentially, that "Hey, you can be gay. Just don't have sex" and "it's not discriminatory because it applies to everyone," it still effectively discriminates against gays because it makes them less likely to be included.

    When homosexuality was considered taboo--a result of the Victorian era--this kind of thinking could prevail. After all, who wants to support perversion? But we now know better, that being gay is normal, natural, and not a 'choice.' Purposely going out of your way to exclude them is discriminatory. Sadly, it is legal in most of the states still. But that's changing, too. It will take the federal government to act to get the South to go along--as usual. But it will happen.
     
  9. Garp

    Garp New Member

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    It raises interesting questions about the future of Christian Educational institutions in the US. We have generally had broader ideas about religious freedom than Canada. That may change. Years ago Focus on the Family noted they had to watch their Canadian broadcasts due to Canadian hate speech laws.

    We have Christian Universities with law schools, medical schools and other professional schools such as nursing and education. I suspect the court may be more and more involved in deciding where the right to religious freedom ends when it deviates from societal norms. I expect that will be where some of the new issues with gay marriage will go. The feds may say, you can hold to these traditional beliefs but no students loans or access to other federal funds and programs. Professional accreditors may begin to put pressure on them, etc. Basically, change your views or be isolated.
     
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  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    Well, this next round should put the issue to bed. If the school loses at the Supreme Court they might lose all of the gains they made.
     
  15. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    There was a similar situation here in Massachusetts; there were 2 residential non-ABA (but RA) independent law schools in the state, the Southern New England School of Law, and the Massachusetts School of Law. Both tried multiple times for ABA accreditation, but came up short every time for one thing, or another.

    The Massachusetts School of Law got so frustrated, they believed there was a conspiracy against independent law schools (although there is an independent ABA-accredited law school in the state, the New England School of Law) between the ABA and the established law schools. They took it as far as as the US Court of Appeals, losing at every step.

    Massachusetts School of Law vs. American Bar Association

    The conspiracy theory may have some merit, because almost immediately after the Southern New England School of Law was purchased by UMass-Dartmouth and became the University of Massachusetts School of Law, it was granted provisional approval by the ABA. Same facilities, same faculty, same curriculum as SNESL.
     
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    My wife once dated a lawyer who went to MSL. He managed to get accepted into the NYS Bar which allows non-ABA grads as long as they didn't earn their JD via distance learning and they practiced in another state. Lost his job and apparently no firm would touch him, in part, because he went to MSL which seems to have insulted even the firms operated by Touro grads.

    I'd say it says more about ABA elitism more than the schools quality particularly since the guy went back to Mass, got a new job and drives a car that is worth more than my house (pretty good car somewhat mediocre house).

    Personally I like it when schools break through the ABA monopoly. I like it a little too much, actually.
     
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    I've had several ADA's who are MSL graduates, I think because the DA's Office pays so poorly, that's one of the few places where they can get an attorney position without hanging out their own shingle. However, I haven't noticed any real difference between MSL grads and other ADA's as far as legal knowledge, case preparation, and courtroom skills.

    Whenever I meet a new ADA, my usual question is "When did you graduate from Suffolk, New England, or Mass. School of Law?
     
  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    I'm no expert in my wife's exes. My understanding is that he had a decent job at an actual firm in New York (by way of Connecticut). How he got to that point (i.e. did he languish in ADA or Public Defender land for a while?) I have no idea. But I got the sense that his problems lessened greatly once he left New York.

    To me that's less an indictment of MSL and more of a picture of the current market we have for lawyers in this state. All signs I've seen point to MSL pumping out more respectable, if you will, graduates than Touro Law. Touro's law school has a UPhoenix reputation in New York because they are constantly recruiting via radio ads throughout greater NYC and, as I'm sure we are all aware, there are a handful of blogs talking about how the Touro JD comes with a mountain of debt and no meaningful way to pay it off.

    This, I think, ties back to Steve Foerster's observation of people crapping on schools that are ever so slightly less prestigious than their own. MSL seems to be a perfectly fine school. But it isn't ABA accredited. And Touro, which has a reputation for pumping out shysters, is ABA accredited. So Touro grads, at the bottom of the NYC attorney food chain, see it as possibly their only opportunity to act snobbish toward someone else.

    Incidentally, when my mother was shopping around for law schools she briefly considered Touro. Acceptance was in the bag and they even offered her a decent financial aid package to potentially avoid that mountain of debt. What held her back was the lawyer she worked for commented that if she graduated top of her class Touro would give her a coupon for 1/2 off the first month of a bus ad. So she went to Brooklyn, kept her old job and, upon graduation, remained with the same firm but as a lawyer.

    I know the feeling.

    Syracuse has more lawyers than any town reasonably should.

    The joke here is that the graduates of schools other than Syracuse law came here for work and the Syracuse law grads came for unemployment.
     
  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    If you think so, come visit the Washington, D.C. area. Arlington, Virginia (right across the river from D.C.) has so many lawyers living in it that it's the county with the highest number of graduate degree holders per capita in the U.S. (Not PhD holders, though, that's Los Alamos, New Mexico.)
     
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    What's really interesting is that if we compare the population of DC (658,000) and Syracuse (144,000) it appears that, in some ways, the two cities are more comparable than I would have imagined. As you look at the metro areas for both, however, it also becomes clear that the city itself is only part of the equation.

    Though Syracuse has a metro area that encompasses three of the surrounding counties I'm unaware of a whole lot of people in those counties actually coming here for work as I'm sure is the case in DC and NY.

    But for a small city there are a lot of lawyers here. We have big corporate law firms. We have tons of personal injury attorneys. We have lawyers driving corollas and lawyers driving Audis.

    This is a terrible place to get into a car accident.

    I've long been intrigued by how pockets like this impact local markets. For example I'm sure there are places with the same permanent population as Los Alamos but where the population is vastly different in terms of education, economic influence etc.

    A good example of this is probably two upstate NY towns; Binghamton and Ithaca. Their populations are comparable (46k and 30k respectively). But they are vastly different. Binghamton has two Wal-Marts. Ithaca has one. Both cities have two institutes of higher learning (4+ year). Binghamton has Binghamton University (SUNY) and Davis College (private, non-profit, Christian). Ithaca has Cornell and Ithaca College.

    But when you go into a gas station in Ithaca it isn't uncommon to find things like soy milk, trail mix, dried fruit, tofu, gluten free food options etc. In Binghamton you get normal gas station fare.

    In a world of big box retailers and the individuality of towns seeming to disappear into a landscape of the same strip mall over and over again I think about these things.
     

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