We know that students and alums lawyers are suing law schools for failure to provide employment information for graduates. But here's a new one. Morgan Crutchfield is suing Lincoln Memorial University's law school - yeah, that law school - for negligence. She was told that it would be no problem for her to finish her Penn State BA while she was a law student at LMU. But it turns out that Tennessee requires individuals sitting for the bar to have completed their bachelor's degree before starting law school. Her claim is that the school negligently allowed her to enroll in the program without a degree. She seeks up to $750,000 in damages.
The quirk in this case is that while Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7 requires the bachelor's degree before starting law school, that requirement may waived at the discretion of the state's Board of Law Examiners.
I'm not sure Mr. Crutchfield has a winner on his hands. Nonetheless, this raises an interesting question for many other law schools. Since the ABA doesn't require law schools to condition attendance on a bachelor's degree, and since some highly respected schools even have a 6 year BA/JD program, could every school conceivably be negligent if it fails to warn such applicants that they might not be able to sit for the Tennessee bar? Or would only Tennessee schools be on the hook? (Or would you look to see the number of grads heading to Volunteer State from any given state to make that determination?)
Do other states have this bar requirement? Do other states provide for discretionary waiver?