16:08, May 10 229 0 abajournal.com

2018-05-10 16:08:05
Florida Coastal sues ABA over finding that school is out of compliance with accreditation standards

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, in Jacksonville, refers to the Department of Education in December 2016 cutting off federal loan money to Charlotte School of Law, another InfiLaw school, after it was placed on probation by the ABA. That law school closed in 2017.

“InfiLaw officers have information and belief that during the prior administration one or more DOE officials coerced, pressured or significantly encouraged the aBA to take adverse accreditation actions against for-profit law schools, including schools owned by InfiLaw,” states the complaint, which also claims that the school has been treated unfairly by the ABA.

“InfiLaw officers have information and belief that some ABA officials are biased against InfiLaw-owned law schools because of their propriety status. DOE regulations require the ABA to control such bias,” the complaint states.

The law school is represented by Paul D. Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration, who is now a Kirkland & Ellis partner; Viet D. Dinh, another Kirkland partner who served as an assistant attorney general during same administration, and Christopher Bartolomucci, a Kirkland partner who served as White House associate counsel to President George W. Bush and was associate special counsel to the U.S. Senate Whitewater Committee.

Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, was not available for comment at press time. The ABA has a policy against commenting on pending litigation. The section in an Oct. 12 letter informed the law school that the committee found it to be out of compliance with:

After a March hearing, the accreditation committee found that the law school has come into compliance with Standard 501(a). For the other standards, the committee directed the law school to develop a reliable plan, including admissions data and methodology, and said that a fact finder will be appointed by the managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

A press release about the lawsuit states that entering credentials for Florida Coastal’s Spring 2018 class were higher than 52 other ABA-approved law schools.

In April, Scott DeVito, the law school’s dean, told the ABA Journal that they are not accepting students with LSAT scores below 145. The school’s spring 2018 class had a median LSAT score of 150 and the class’s 25th percentile LSAT score was 147, according to DeVito.

According to the law school’s Standard 509 Information Report for 2017, its 25th percentile LSAT score was 145, and its median LSAT score was 148. Among the first-year class, 25.7 percent of students left through nontransfer attrition.