In order to continue to operate FAMU Law School in Orlando must become accredited by the American Bar Association. According to a recent ABA report, FAMU may be in trouble and may not get accredited. The accreditation deadline is August 2009. The school has been around for 6 years and was opened with taxpayers paying 40 million dollars to fund the school. It is curious that Jeb Bush started the school on his term as Governor given his open and obvious dislike of at least certain parts of the legal community, namely trial lawyers. One wonders whether Orlando really needs 2 law schools given that before Barry University Law School in the last 15 years there were no law schools in Orlando. It would be very sad, however, for some of the current FAMU students if the school is not accredited because they will not be able to become lawyers even if they graduate. Some of the current students are grandfathered in and can become lawyers upon passage of the Bar exam after graduation from FAMU but others who are students when and if the accreditation is denied will not be able to take the Bar Exam and wont be allowed to become Florida lawyers because they will not have a degree from an accredited law school. That is a shame as I know some FAMU law students and they are smart and hard working.
The ABA report is critical of the school for some serious problems including faculty disputes, low Bar test scores and passing rates, and falling trust between the students and the administration. If these problems are not fixed by August 2009, Florida and Orlando may have one less law school. That would be terrible for the students who will have wasted time and money on a degree of little to no use. Whether or not society would suffer from one less law school is another question.