December 8, 2014 - Harrogate, Tennessee — The American Bar Association (ABA) has provisionally approved the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law (LMU-DSOL) officials announced Monday.

“For an institution with over a century of rich history, there are few achievements that surpass this milestone for Lincoln Memorial University,” said LMU President B. James Dawson. “I commend Dean Parham Williams, his administration at LMU-DSOL, Vice President for Academic Affairs Clayton Hess and the many other University officials who worked tirelessly toward this goal. All of our pursuits are focused on our students and I’m happy to be able to celebrate with them today.”

A school seeking accreditation must demonstrate that it is in substantial compliance with all of the ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools. The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is recognized by the United States Department of Education (DOE) as the accrediting agency for programs that lead to the Juris Doctor degree.

Since the Inaugural Class graduated in May 2013, 91 percent of LMU-DSOL’s alumni have passed the Tennessee Bar Exam. On the most recent administration of the bar, LMU-DSOL grads posted a 77.14% pass rate for first-time takers – five percentage points higher than the average for all first-time takers from all schools nationally.

“For our students, our faculty and the dedicated administration of Lincoln Memorial University this is a result five years in the making. The adversity encountered in seeking accreditation has made the institution stronger, our program of legal education better and our administration wiser,” Interim Dean and Vice President Parham Williams said. “Our mission will always be to provide our students with the very best legal education possible.”

Provisional approval entitles LMU-DSOL to all the rights of a fully approved law school, and enables its graduates to take the bar exam in any American jurisdiction. To gain full approval, LMU-DSOL has a maximum of five years to demonstrate it is in full compliance with all the ABA Standards of Approval of Law Schools. The University has already displayed full compliance in the standard addressing bar passage. The performance of LMU-DSOL’s graduates on the Tennessee bar exam shows that the school complies with each of the bright-line bar passage requirements established by the ABA for accreditation.

In addition to being provisionally approved by the American Bar Association, LMU-DSOL has approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners (TBLE).

Regarding Accreditation
Lincoln Memorial University – John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law is provisionally approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Students at provisionally accredited law schools are given the same recognition as students at fully accredited law schools. Upon the award of provisional accreditation, students enrolled in the institution and who subsequently graduate are deemed graduates of an ABA-accredited law school.

A provisionally approved law school may apply for full approval no earlier than two years after receiving provisional approval and must obtain full approval within five years after receiving provisional approval. The earliest Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law may apply for full accreditation from the ABA is December 2016.

Questions concerning ABA accreditation may be directed to:
Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
American Bar Association
321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312.988.6738

Lincoln Memorial University - Duncan School of Law also is approved by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.

The Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is located in Knoxville’s Historic Old City Hall Building. LMU-DSOL is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of lawyers to provide sound legal service in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DSOL, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 5303 or visit us online at

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