Within the past 3 years, those in the legal field have watched with curiousity as the number of law schools in Tennessee jumped from 4 to 6. Many are curious to see what the effects will be of 2 additional schools churning out fresh young lawyers. Catering to these curiousities, today’s post will briefly outline what has been occurring with the 2 new law schools: LMU & Belmont.
In 2009, LMU accepted their first law students who would attend a part-time night program. Then, in 2010, LMU also initiated a full-time day class program. The stated goal of LMU has been to earn accreditation from both the American Bar Association (“ABA”) and from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners (“TBLE”). In essence, LMU needed accreditation from the TBLE so their students could sit for the Tennessee Bar Exam and become licensed attorneys in Tennessee. LMU needed accreditation from the ABA so their students could sit for the Bar Exam in other states.
To date, the TBLE will allow LMU students to sit for the Tennessee Bar up through December 31, 2017. However, in December of 2011, LMU was denied accreditation from the ABA. LMU’s response to this denial was to sue the ABA, alleging antitrust and due process violations (essentially alleging that the ABA did not have the right to deny them accreditation and that LMU was not given a “fair shake”). However, that lawsuit has been stayed (aka, put on hold) as the ABA has allowed LMU to appeal the ABA’s first decision. The latest article I could find detailing LMU’s battle with the ABA was on September 3rd, 2012 (click here to read that article).
Belmont Law, however, has had smoother sailings since opening in 2011. To date, Belmont Law has been approved by the TBLE and is seeking to be provisionally approved by the ABA in 2013. Expectations among many in the legal community is that Belmont will have smoother sailing than LMU has had and, if provisionally approved by the ABA in 2013, Belmont hopes to be an ABA fully-accredited law school by 2015.
As a way of concluding, I should state that the other 4 law schools in Tennessee are the Nashville School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee (approved by the TBLE), the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, Tennessee (approved by the TBLE and accredited by the ABA), Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee (approved by the TBLE and accredited by the ABA), and my alma mater, the University of Tennessee College of Law (approved by the TBLE and accredited by the ABA).
The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click here for Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation. Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website, www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.
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