Thomas Jefferson Law School loses ABA accreditation

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by nosborne48, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I posted this because, although TJ Law's J.D. program is strictly in-residence, the school has offered advanced degrees in law, the LL.M. and J.S.D., through distance learning. I have mentioned elsewhere that these programs seemed to lack any recognized accreditation. Now, apparently, so will the school's J.D. program.

    The school will undoubtedly retain California Bar accreditation so its students will generally be exempt from the First Year Law Student Exam and its graduates will be eligible to take the California Bar Exam on an equal footing with graduates of ABA accredited programs. However, it is difficult to imagine very many students opting for a CalBar accredited J.D. from one of the most expensive law schools in the country when there are many cheaper options.
  2. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I did not see any description of the reasons the accreditation was withdrawn. Any additional info in that regard?
  4. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I think the ABA decided that the school was admitting students who lacked a reasonable chance of passing the Bar and becoming lawyers. There were also concerns about financial stability I think. According to Law School Transparency, Thomas Jefferson students on average borrowed more than students of any other law school except Southwestern. Given a first time bar passage rate of 25% on the July 2018 exam, that leaves a lot of graduates with heavy debt and no chance for legal employment. Unfortunately, Thomas Jefferson Law students have struggled on the Bar exam pretty consistently in the last several years.
  5. FJD

    FJD Member
    This article explains what happened. I think you can summarize it as TJSL hasn't done a good job of admitting and training people to become lawyers. Their bar passage rates are embarrassingly low and have declined the last three years from 35.1% in 2016 to 26.5% in 2017, to 23.8% in 2018.

    I have some personal experience with TJSL, having been offered a substantial scholarship back when I was applying to schools some 20 years ago. I was also offered by some other lower-ranked schools like Valparaiso. I declined them all in favor of a better-ranked Big Ten law school that only made a small offer. For years after school I had some regret for not taking one of those offers, reasoning that it really doesn't matter where you go, save a handful of elite schools, and it would have been much cheaper to have gone with one of the less-ranked schools. However, now that Valpo's school ceased operation altogether and TJSL is going down, I don't feel so bad. There's something to consider when choosing a school: will it (and its reputation) endure throughout the degree's usefulness? With the continuing march of school closings, this is becoming a much larger concern.
  6. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson's erstwhile sister school, Western State College of Law, is having its own problems. Apparently the U.S. Department of Education decided to suspend student loan disbursements to students of the school because of some dispute with the school's parent Argosy University.

    Both of these law schools began life fifty odd years ago (more or less joined at the hip) as relatively inexpensive CalBar accredited schools offering a legal education to working adults.

    I would argue that both schools committed the classic managerial blunder of forgetting their niche. They offered a reasonable alternative to a specific group of students that the California University system did not offer. They got hideously expensive only after new owners decided to "upgrade" them to ABA accreditation and started charging tuition on a par with the likes of Stanford and U.S.C. When the collapse of 2008 happened, with its steep decline in the demand for legal education, these schools simply could not compete for truly qualified students since those students could usually gain seats at better schools for no more, or even less, money. They aren't alone, of course. Other ABA law schools have closed or are closing their doors nationwide. But so far as I know, not a SINGLE CalBar accredited school has closed in the same time period.

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