I want to thank the hosts for allowing me to guest post on the Lounge. I look forward to sharing some views from the outer edges of legal academia: a newly accredited law school that has been operating in one form or another for almost a third of a century. There are three interesting data points in the process of establishing this school: operation as a private state-accredited institution; as a public state-accredited institution; and now as a provisionally accredited school. All seem to be like attending high school.
Phase 1 (a private non-affiliated non-ABA school): You are a new student in the school. You so much want to be liked but you have no confidence that you will be. You try to get an invitation to the big dance, but the popular students (other law schools) don’t want you there. You keep doing everything you can to look like a successful high school student but, at the end of the day, you can’t afford the proper clothing to go to the dance because the cost is defined to be just more than you can afford.
Phase 2 (a public university’s non-ABA school): Although still an outsider to the “cool kids,” your single parent got married to a rich and very powerful spouse. Now, although the popular students still insult or ignore you, enough others like you that you get to go to the dance. You aren’t significantly different than you were when you started school, but because of the marriage, you now are seen as having potential.
Phase 3 (provisional accreditation): To be determined. Having only been provisionally accredited for two weeks, it is hard to tell if we are like students who are finishing high school and thinking about college choice and adult futures, or students who have finally passed the important test and will now be allowed to continue in the next year of education.