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ABA Withdraws Western State Accreditation Denial
Feb. 9, 2003
FULLERTON, Calif. - The American Bar Association withdrew its recommendation to cancel Western State University College of Law accreditation.
The reversal followed heavy lobbying by the school at the ABA's annual meeting in San Antonio over the weekend and a federal judge's preliminary injunction Friday. The ABA said Sunday it was withdrawing its recommendation, ABA spokeswoman Nancy Slonim said.
ABA accreditation means a law school can attract higher-caliber students and that they can sit for the bar exam in any state.
"I don't think it's over, but we haven't talked about what's next," Western State attorney Don Daucher said. He was among 10 people lobbying at the meeting since Friday to persuade ABA officials to maintain the Fullerton school's accreditation.
Orange County's oldest law school won provisional approval from the ABA in 1998. In 2003, the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar recommended that the college lose its status because of low test scores and a high dropout rate.
The college sued in U.S. District Court seeking a temporary injunction to prevent the ABA from taking action. On Friday, Judge Gary Taylor issued a temporary stay, saying the ABA could vote this week but results wouldn't become official until he considered the matter.
The college argued the ABA is biased against for-profit law schools, ignored evidence that test scores and pass rates were improving under new management, and disregarded its own rules.