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The Phoenix School of Law has announced  today that it has received full accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA).  The Law School, which received ABA provisional accreditation in June 2007, is only the fourth for-profit law school in the country to be granted full accreditation and in the shortest time frame possible – less than six years.

“The gaining of full ABA approval is a major achievement and comes after five and half years of dedicated work by the students, staff and faculty of Phoenix School of Law,” says Gene Clark, Interim Dean.  “This national accreditation also validates in an evidenced- based way what we have all worked so hard to achieve and sustain over a period of years —

a school and new model of legal education that is focused on achieving great student outcomes, preparing excellent lawyers who are ready for practice, and committed to serving the underserved.”

The ABA Accreditation Committee gave its positive recommendation to its Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission in May of 2010.  The school was granted provisional approval by the ABA in 2007, meaning it was in compliance with ABA standards and had a plan to bring the school into full compliance. A school is only granted provisional approval for a maximum of five years.  In order to be granted full approval, a school must demonstrate that it has established full compliance with each of the Standards.

There are only three fully accredited law schools in Arizona:  Phoenix School of Law, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.  PSL is Arizona’s only stand-alone law school – not affiliated with a university.  

The Phoenix School of Law demonstrated high benchmarks to win the approval of the ABA’s Accreditation Council, including achieving the highest Bar Exam passage rates in the State for February’s exam; a career placement rate of 97% within nine months of graduation; and receiving the Law School Admissions Council’s “2010 Diversity Matters Award” for its efforts to attract students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the legal profession.

PhoenixLaw is located in one of only 4 major cities (Phoenix, Boston, Denver, and Atlanta) where the law school is situated in the heart of what are a major state’s financial and legal center, entertainment and sports center, state capital and international airport.  

According to the ABA, standards for approval are founded on the fact that law schools are the gateway to the legal profession. There are minimum requirements designed, developed, and implemented for the purpose of advancing the basic goal of providing a sound program of legal education.   The graduates of approved law schools can become members of the bar in all United States jurisdictions, representing all members of the public in important interests.  Law schools must ensure that its graduates understand their ethical responsibilities as attorneys for the quality and availability of justice; receive a basic education of legal theory, legal analysis, reasoning, research, problem solving and other fundamental skills needed for the legal profession; understand the basic principles of public and private law; and understand the law as a public profession calling for performance of pro bono legal services. 

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