Lincoln Memorial drops lawsuit against ABA, brings in new leadership

Lincoln Memorial University has done an about face in its attempt to gain American Bar Association accreditation. The Tennessee law school had sued the ABA last year after it was denied accreditation because it failed to show that graduates would have a good chance of graduating, passing the bar exam and landing a job. Read the story here.

The school recently announced it had withdrawn the lawsuit and dropped its appeal of the ABA’s denial for provisional approval.

“"LMU and the ABA have jointly agreed to move forward in a spirit of cooperation," LMU President B. James Dawson said. "The ABA will allow LMU to resubmit our application for provisional approval before the New Year, and we are eagerly working toward that goal."

The school also announced that LMU Vice President and Founding Dean Sydney Beckman was granted a research leave through the end of the academic year. While he remains a tenured member of the faculty, Beckman no longer leads the school, a clear change of direction. It was Beckman who chose to fight the ABA through the courts and the media. A December 2011 article in the New York Times pled the case for the law school.

LMU has hired Leary Davis, the founding dean and professor of law emeritus at Elon University School of Law, to guide its strategic planning and respond to the ABA’s concerns.

LMU will graduate its first class in May, and graduates are eligible to take the Tennessee bar exam. In April, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners extended the school’s approval through 2017.

“We have built a very sound program of legal education that is delivered by top-notch faculty members,” Dawson said. “LMU-DSOL is a Tennessee law school that is producing fine Tennessee lawyers. Our mission is to provide educational opportunities in this region and beyond, and that is why we are pursuing national accreditation.”