ABA committee unanimously recommends full accreditation for School of Law

ABA committee unanimously recommends full accreditation for School of Law

The University of St. Thomas School of Law took another step on the path toward full American Bar Association accreditation this week when the ABA Accreditation Committee unanimously recommended that the School of Law receive full accreditation.

School of Law Dean Thomas Mengler and St. Thomas’ Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Thomas Rochon traveled to Phoenix this past week to meet with the ABA committee.

“I’m enormously pleased by the vote of the committee,” Mengler said. “It is far too early to celebrate, but it is nice to be heading into the home stretch feeling confident.”

Receiving full ABA accreditation is a multiyear process for new law schools. The St. Thomas School of Law opened in 2001 and received provisional accreditation, which grants St. Thomas law graduates the same rights and responsibilities as students who graduate from a fully accredited law school. It also allows graduates to sit for the bar exam in any state.

In coming weeks, Mengler will meet with the Council on Legal Education in Chicago. The final step comes in August, when the ABA House of Delegates will have the opportunity to confer full accreditation on St. Thomas’ School of Law.

An ABA six-person team of law professors and lawyers paid a three-day visit to St. Thomas last September. During an exit interview, team members offered a number of positive comments. One team member described the law school’s new building (it opened in fall 2003) as “the best-designed law building” he has seen. Another found St. Thomas law students “the most enthusiastic” he had met.

Team members also commended the quality and research productivity of the faculty and called the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services “extraordinary.”