Concordia students move to Univ. of Idaho after accreditation postponement

Concordia University School of Law has lost 16 students since the American Bar Association announced last month that it would postpone its accreditation for the new law school in Boise, Idaho. An additional 23 students have taken temporary leaves of absence in hopes they will not graduate until the school secures accreditation. 

Graduates do not qualify to take the Idaho bar exam, as well as most other states, unless their school is accredited by the ABA.

The school had hoped the ABA would grant provisional approval in August. Instead, the ABA postponed its decision and is sending fact finders to visit the school in late September.

“Concordia University School of Law remains committed to the ABA accreditation process,” Dean Cathy Silak said. “Academic rigor at the highest standards of legal education, as well as a strong emphasis on service to the community, drive our mission.”

It is not unusual for a law school to lose students when ABA accreditation is postponed or denied. The University of La Verne lost more than half of its 450 students in the few years after it lost ABA accreditation in 2011. It regained provisional accreditation and its enrollment numbers are now climbing. 

Concordia's enrollment numbers are only slightly down from a year ago —100 compared to 110 students in fall 2013. But it had 73 students in its inaugural class in 2012 and 44 students in the class that entered in 2013. 

Fifty-five Concordia students, in all, have paid deposits to attend the University of Idaho's Boise campus this fall, the Idaho Statesman reported. That number includes transfers and students who are dually enrolled at Concordia and University of Idaho.

University of Idaho, based in Moscow, is the only other law school in Idaho. It opened a branch in Boise in 2012 with classes for third-year students only. It expanded this fall to include courses for second-year students, and hopes to add courses for first-year students in the near future. 

Madeline Turnock, advisor to the president of Concordia University said only eight students from Concordia's second-year class and eight students from the third-year class have officially withdrawn from the school. The remaining students have taken a temporary leave of absence or dually enrolled elsewhere while awaiting accreditation.