Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Tark » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:36 pm

Could be that the ABA said point-blank: "If you are going to offer a purely distance learning Master's degree, we won't allow you to call it "accredited" solely on the basis of our approval of your J.D. program."?

Although that raises the question of who would notice. Outside of degree forums, I've never heard of anyone even understanding this esoteric issue much less being worried about it.

We are talking about the ABA here, which is a large group of lawyers. I expect they are quite capable of noticing and worrying about esoteric semantic issues.

If the ABA did take this position, then it would help to explain Southwestern's interest in DETC. Other law schools offer online LLM degrees, like the NYU Executive LLM in Tax. But NYU is regionally accredited as an institution, and so NYU can use regional accreditation as a fallback for its online LLM, even if ABA disavows all association with online legal degrees. Southwestern, on the other hand, is not regionally accredited as an institution, and does not have such a fallback for its online LLM.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Rich Douglas » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:57 pm

Tark wrote:Note that APUS is a different situation from Southwestern. AMU/APU are online-only institutions, so they were certainly eligible for institutional accreditation from DETC. Southwestern Law School, on the other hand, is primarily a traditional B&M school, though it does have some online offerings. But DETC is only authorized to provide institutional accreditation to distance-learning schools. It follows that Southwestern -- taken as a whole -- is not eligible for DETC accreditation.


My point.

It seems possible, then, that Southwestern is not going to apply for DETC accreditation as a whole. They may be planning to move their online programs into a nominally distinct school or division for accreditation purposes. This would be like the DETC-accredited Concord Law School division of the otherwise-not-DETC-accredited Kaplan University.


Ah, yes, DETC approving a technical dodge to its own rules. Why is this a repeated theme with them?
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Tark » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:22 am

And your point is a good one. But in fairness, it seems premature to criticize DETC for "approving a technical dodge". At this time, none of us know what Southwestern has proposed to DETC -- nor do we know if DETC will approve it.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Rich Douglas » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:02 pm

Tark wrote:And your point is a good one. But in fairness, it seems premature to criticize DETC for "approving a technical dodge". At this time, none of us know what Southwestern has proposed to DETC -- nor do we know if DETC will approve it.


That's certainly fair. For this one. For now. 8)
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:10 pm

Yeah...right...inspiring... :roll:
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Hungry Ghost » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:47 am

Seeing as how UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco received its own institutional accreditation from WASC just a few weeks ago, after having been a stand-alone ABA school for as long as there have been such things, I'm wondering if the ABA is perhaps applying pressure on all of its stand-alone law schools to find institutional accreditors.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Tark » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:44 am

Seeing as how UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco received its own institutional accreditation from WASC just a few weeks ago, after having been a stand-alone ABA school for as long as there have been such things, I'm wondering if the ABA is perhaps applying pressure on all of its stand-alone law schools to find institutional accreditors.

According to UC Hastings itself, WASC accreditation was pursued so that their non-JD programs would have USDoE-recognized accreditation, and would therefore qualify for federal financial aid. It seems likely that Southwestern's recent interest in DETC accreditation reflects the same motive.

UC Hastings is already accredited through the American Bar Association (ABA). However, the ABA only accredits Juris Doctorate (JD) programs. UC Hastings currently offers a JD as well as an LL.M. in United States Legal Studies. Beginning in Fall 2012, the school will be adding two new programs: the Master of Studies in Law (MSL) and the LL.M. in Law & Science. In order for students to receive federal financial aid, the US Department of Education requires that the program be accredited. Since the ABA will not accredit MSL or LL.M. programs, UC Hastings must obtain additional accreditation in order to ensure that incoming students in these new programs will have access to federal financial aid.

I suspect that ABA has made it clear to USDoE that the ABA "seal of approval" does not extend to non-JD degrees. But if this is true, it would not affect all standalone law schools -- only those that offer non-JD degrees. A standalone law school that offered the JD exclusively would still have no need to pursue any accreditation other than ABA.

Hastings has historically offered an LLM in US Legal Studies, but that degree is offered primarily to foreign-trained lawyers who want to become eligible for US Bar Exams. Such people are typically not US citizens, and therefore wouldn't be eligible for federal financial aid regardless of the degree's accreditation status.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:51 am

My apologies, louisgeorge. I mistook your post as being from a spambot; clearly you are a real person and not deserving of my snark. :oops:
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:55 am

I love the trend, though...makes my DETC accredited LL.M. look ever more legitimate. :mrgreen:
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby nosborne48 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:29 pm

For professional purposes, an LL.M. from TJSL would probably be fine regardless of its accreditation or lack thereof. Those states that allow foreign lawyers or graduates of non-ABA approved U.S. schools to take the Bar based on an LL.M. usually describe the LL.M. as being from an ABA approved school.

I cannot imagine even, say, Oregon taking action against a Portland tax attorney for claiming an LL.M. from TJSL despite the degree's technically unaccredited status. No, this has to do with funding I think.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Tark » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:20 pm

I don't get it. DETC is an institutional accreditor. Thus, it would be accrediting a residential law school that also happens to offer a separate, online Master of Laws?

Possibly Southwestern plans to set up a separate division or school for its online programs, then have that part of the institution accredited by DETC.


DETC has announced the accreditation of the "Global Education Division" of Southwestern Law School, which offers the "LL.M. in Entertainment and Media Law".

One Institution Gains Accreditation

Southwestern Law School
Global Education Division
3050 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010 (http://www.swlaw.edu)
Phone: 213-0738-5790

Founded: 1911

Offers: LL.M. in Entertainment and Media Law

Mr. Austern Parris, Interim Dean and CEO

The Commission awarded Southwestern Law School an initial grant of accreditation for a 3-year period following a comprehensive evaluation of the LL.M. in Entertainment and Media Law offered through the Global Education Division. The institution first applied for DETC accreditation in May 2010. The institution has been found to meet or exceed each of the Commission’s standards for accreditation. Southwestern Law School’s residential division is approved by The American Bar Association since 1970. The institution will next be considered for its first renewal of accreditation in January 2016.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Rich Douglas » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:30 pm

Am I reading this as DETC accrediting part of a school? That's not consistent with their own rules.

Of course, being inconsistent with their own rules is very consistent with DETC! :roll:
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:19 am

Interesting! I wonder...if I wanted to teach as an adjunct tax law professor at Southwestern, would they be compelled to recognize my LL.M. from DETC accredited Taft Law School?
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby Tark » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:04 am

I wonder...if I wanted to teach as an adjunct tax law professor at Southwestern, would they be compelled to recognize my LL.M. from DETC accredited Taft Law School?

If you were teaching in the new DETC-accredited "Global Education Division" of Southwestern, then maybe yes. However, it seems unlikely that they would need your tax expertise, since their sole focus for now is on "Entertainment and Media Law". If they added a Tax LLM in the future, then maybe it would be different.

In theory, you could teach tax now in the traditional B&M ABA-approved JD program at Southwestern. But in that case, they might not feel any obligation to recognize your DETC LLM, since DETC has nothing to do with accreditation of the B&M parts.
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Re: Southwestern Law School, ABA Non-RA, Seeks DETC

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:16 am

And in any event my LL.M. would be irrelevant since the J.D. Is wrongly considered to be sufficient to teach any law subject. :roll:
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