ONTARIO - The University of La Verne College of Law will lose its provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association at the end of the month because of low pass rates by first-time bar takers.

The ABA Council's opinion was that the law school had not sufficiently improved in recent years.

The decision was made this past weekend at a meeting in Salt Lake City.

"We are deeply disappointed but not defeated," said Allen Easley, the dean of the College of Law.

"Once we receive the council's formal announcement, we will review the findings and take action accordingly. It remains our ultimate mission to provide the very best law-school education and experience possible to our students."

Students who graduate from a law school without approval from the Chicago-based Bar Association can't take a multistate bar exam.

Some students have voiced a desire to transfer, such as Matt K. Jones, a first-year law student.

"The primary concern for students right now is obviously taking the bar exam in other states," Jones said.

"We have international students and other students that travel to La Verne from out of state with the intention of returning out of state, and if we are not ABA-approved when those students graduate, then they are unable to take the bar in their states."

Officials at the College of Law, which was founded in 1970, plan this week to seek an expedited timeline to regain provisional accreditation approval from the ABA, Easley said.


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Normally, the process would mean a 10-month wait, leading toward a possible decision in the spring of 2013.

Easley said he hopes the association will expedite the process for possible approval in spring 2012.

Dozens of graduates are expected to take the bar exam in 2012.

College officials said the university is applying for state bar accreditation to ensure every current student will be able to take the California exam after they graduate.

The college has held provisional accreditation from the ABA since 2006. It was given five years to meet standards that would allow it to be fully accredited.

The association deferred a decision in June 2010 on granting full accreditation to the College of Law due to its 34 percent first-time bar passage rate for 2009 graduates.

The pass rate had improved to 53 percent in 2010, but the association denied full accreditation approval last month.

In an effort to improve the pass rate, Easley said the school has expanded its academic support programs to better educate students on legal writing for the bar exam.