Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
A teach-out plan for Thomas Jefferson School of Law, allowing limited accreditation until the end of the spring 2023 term, has been approved by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
After placing the San Diego law school on probation in November 2017, the council withdrew its ABA approval in last summer. An administrative panel affirmed that decision in November 2019.
Under the teach-out agreement, posted to the legal ed section’s website Jan. 8, Thomas Jefferson’s ABA accreditation will cover current law students and transient students. If the law school loses its state license or fails to uphold obligations listed in the teach-out plan, the council retains its authority to remove ABA accreditation before the spring 2023 term ends.
“The law school is pleased that the ABA council acted quickly to approve the law school’s teach-out plan. The plan allows current students to complete their education at Thomas Jefferson’s campus in downtown San Diego,” wrote Linda M. Keller, the law school’s interim dean, in an email.
According to the November 2017 probation decision, the council found that Thomas Jefferson was out of compliance with Standards 202(a) and (d), which address program resources; Standard 301(a), which deals with legal education program objectives; and Standards 501(a) and (b), which focus on admissions. Also, it found that the law school was noncompliant with Interpretations 501-1 and 501-2, both of which discuss factors to consider in admissions.
According to ABA data, the law school’s ultimate bar passage rate, which comprises 2016 graduates, is 63.83%. Its first-time pass rate for 2018 was 26.43%. The law school’s median LSAT score is 149, according to its Standard 509 Information Report for 2019, and its median undergraduate GPA is 2.87.
Amid its ABA accreditation problems, the school sought and received California accreditation in 2018, and it intends to operate as a state-accredited school after its ABA accreditation ends.
According to a statement the law school released in November, it would no longer admit students into its ABA-approved program. And starting in summer 2020, students would be enrolled into its state-accredited program.
Updated Jan. 14 at 4:08 p.m. to add statement from Linda M. Keller.