Concordia University School of Law: Waiting For a Verdict 

"This Friday's decision point is the earliest possible time that we could receive provisional accreditation."

Concordia University School of Law begins its fall semester on Monday, Aug. 25.

Kesley Hawes

Concordia University School of Law begins its fall semester on Monday, Aug. 25.

As third-year students at Concordia University School of Law prepare to enter their final stretch of law school, it still isn't clear when--or even if--their diplomas will be worth the paper they're printed on. But Concordia officials told Boise Weekly, "It's curious to us and quite premature to make any assumptions" about whether the school will secure accreditation in time for current students to graduate with degrees recognized by the American Bar Association.

"We're in the earliest phrase of the process, the very earliest," said Madeline Turnock, adviser to the president of Concordia.

It's a fair bet that administrators at Concordia will be anxiously awaiting the results of a closed-door session of the Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education, meeting in Boston on Friday, Aug. 8. An ABA spokesman confirmed for BW that the accrediting arm of the association indeed had Concordia on its agenda.

"This Friday's decision point is the earliest possible time that we could receive provisional accreditation," said Turnock.

Ever since Portland, Ore.-based Concordia, a Lutheran university, swung open the doors to its Boise law school, students and parents have known that the school hadn't yet secured ABA accreditation.

"It can be a three- to five-year process," Turnock told BW.

That's little consolation to the school's first round of third-year students, who would like to take the Idaho State Bar exam in 2015. Idaho law requires examinees to be grads from an accredited school. Approximately 100 students and 24 full- and part-time faculty will start the fall semester Monday, Aug. 25.

"Concordia puts its students first, and their ability to take the bar is most important to us," said Turnock. "Students were told it was a multi-year process. All along, parents, students and anyone applying to Concordia were aware of that."

What happens if the ABA doesn't clear Concordia's provisional application on Aug. 8? BW has learned that the ABA's accrediting arm meets each December, March, June and August.

When asked by BW, Turnock chose not to acknowledge a worst-case scenario.

"There's not a worst-case, so to speak. Just a series of next possible steps," she said. "That would be another six or 12 months."

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