American Bar Association / ABA, Antitrust, Law Schools

Duncan Law School Sues ABA for Antitrust Violation

Captian Picard as a member of the ABA

If you had told me a week ago that I would end up writing three stories on Duncan Law School, I’d have said: “I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more, is none.”

But now I’m stepp’d in so far into the Duncan Law spitting match with the American Bar Association, that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er. (Shout out to commenter guest9999999 who nailed the Macbeth angle in the last Duncan Law post.)

Duncan Law talked to the New York Times, the ABA denied provisional accreditation to Duncan Law, and now Duncan is suing the ABA, alleging an antitrust violation.

And you know what, in all this back and forth, I’m going to have to pull a Romney and kind of flip-flop….

Two days ago, I defended Duncan Law. I said that it looked like the ABA denied accreditation out of revenge for the school talking to the New York Times, given that the ABA seemingly never denies people accreditation. The ABA has shown such a lack of good faith when it comes to regulating law schools, that it’s easy to see everything it does as part of some nefarious plan.

But Duncan’s suit is a real problem, in part because it plays right into the ABA’s nefarious plans to claim that it doesn’t have the authority to execute the regulations we desperately need. ABA administrators say they can’t stop the proliferation of new law schools, specifically because the organization would get sued for antitrust violations. Now they finally step up and try to stop one little law school from joining the club and, bam, an antitrust suit.

Does that mean the ABA was right all along? No. You can read the full complaint over on Law School Transparency. If I may paraphrase one of the key arguments, Duncan Law is claiming that the ABA approves crappy law schools all the time, so it’s unfair to deny Duncan.

It’s a powerful argument. When your organization includes schools like Cooley Law, it’s hard to claim that other schools fail to meet the minimal standards the ABA struggles to maintain.

The solution, of course, would be for the ABA to actually hold law schools to standards that make sense and are difficult for even some member institutions to meet, and kick out law schools who fall below the bar. But this is the ABA we’re talking about — it won’t even act when law schools lie to the organization.

Still, having the ABA serve as an effective regulator of law schools has to start somewhere. Maybe Duncan Law is being unfairly denied entrance to a club that previously had an open door policy, but that’s the price you pay for being late to the “everybody in the world gets to open a law school” party.

LMU suing American Bar Association over law school accreditation [Knoxnews]
Breaking: ABA sued by Duncan School of Law [Law School Transparency]

Earlier: Revenge Is Best Served… Quickly: ABA DENIES Accreditation To School That Talked To The New York Times
To Stop the ABA, Do We Need to Allow Everybody to Start a Law School?

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