La Verne denied full ABA accreditation by committee, could lose provisional status

The American Bar Association Accreditation Committee denied the University of La Verne College of Law's application for full accreditation last week.

While the denial could be overturned by the association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on June 11, chances are that the school will either lose its provisional accreditation status, or its provisional status will be extended.

"There's a pretty good chance that we won't get full approval because the odds are stacked against us right now," Allen Easley, the law school’s dean, was quoted in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

The school has not yet received explanation for the denial. The committee recommended full accreditation last June, but the Section of Legal Education deferred the decision because of the school’s low bar pass rate. La Verne’s first-time bar passage rate improved from 34 percent for 2009 graduates to 53 percent for 2010 graduates.

More than 150 students packed into a classroom last week to hear about the school’s options.

"Even looking at this with the most likely and optimistic view of the school is that we're probably going to lose our accreditation in June," said student Rachael Alcorn in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. "When I graduate in (May) 2012, I'm only going to have the California bar (and not ABA backing). That's not what I came to this school for."

La Verne received provisional accreditation in 2006 and was given five years to meet standards that would allow it to be fully accredited by the association. Since then it has grown from 200 to 420 students.

La Verne is discussing the denial with its lawyers and plans to apply for state bar accreditation.