Liberty University awarded full ABA accreditation

Following its opening in 2004, the Liberty University School of Law was awarded provisional approval on Feb. 13, 2006 — a mere 18 months after the first students arrived on campus.

The School of Law was awarded full accreditation approval by the American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar during its annual meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, Aug. 5. To be eligible to apply for provisional approval from the ABA, a law school must complete a full academic year.

A law school must be provisionally approved for a minimum of two years before it is eligible to apply for full approval. Liberty applied for full approval in March 2009 and that following October, representatives from the ABA Council visited Liberty’s campus to conduct a three-day review of the school’s educational law program.

This past June, Dean Mathew Staver, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., along with Vice Chancellor and Acting Provost Dr. Ron Godwin, appeared before the ABA Accreditation Committee in Washington, D.C., to review the law school’s program. Following the review, the Accreditation Committee concluded that the law school met all the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools and recommended full approval.

“The accreditation approval of the School of Law represents a significant milestone in the history of Liberty University,” Falwell said in a release by the school. “The speed of the approval is a credit to the School of Law and to the quality of its program.”

Staver said obtaining full accreditation approval has been a rigorous but rewarding process.

“We knew we had a good program of legal education because our students compete against well-established law schools in every area of competition and they perform exceptionally well,” he said.

Now that the law school is fully approved, it will move forward with plans to launch degrees in addition to the JD, the release stated. Some of the degrees in planning include various specialties in law (LL.M.), a master’s in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in law. When implemented, the non-JD degrees will be offered both residential and online.

“Now that the law school has reached this milestone in only six years since it opened, we are ready to move forward with new and exciting programs,” Staver said. “Achieving full approval is a testament to the quality of the law school’s legal education and to the many people who make it possible.”

The law school also plans on launching study abroad programs. The locations include Israel, Europe and Asia. The law school is also considering an accelerated degree program for eligible students to obtain an undergraduate degree and law degree in six years, rather than seven, by combining undergraduate courses and courses from the law school.