Arizona Summit Law School Cancels Classes, Sends Students Packing

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Classes at Arizona Summit Law School are out. Forever.

At least it's the beginning of the end at the Phoenix institution, and the law school shows little sign of coming back. Officials have cancelled fall classes, and are working on transfers for the remaining students.

About one-third of them already had plans to transfer, leaving about 70 students scrambling one week before the fall semester was supposed to start. Now they are getting a lesson in how to think on their feet.

"Confusion and Panic"

According to reports, students reacted with a "mix of confusion and panic." They got the bad news last week in an email.

The law school told them classes were cancelled and to apply as "visitors" to Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The school gave "no guarantees," however, that they would be accepted.

Tom Williams, an assistant dean at ASU Law, told the ABA Journal that the law schools were negotiating a teach-out plan for the Arizona Summit students. He said his school will not take students who appear incapable of graduating and passing the bar exam.

"We don't want any student to be paying tuition for a JD if we don't think they can be successful here," he said.

What Does That Mean?!

Williams said the American Bar Association admission standard, which requires law schools admit only candidates who appear capable of succeeding, does not apply to teach-out transfers. But Sandra Day O'Connor has a much higher standard than Arizona Summit.

The last median LSAT at Arizona Summit was 148; Sandra Day O'Connor was 162. The disparity when measured by GPA: Summit, 2.81; O'Connor, 3.76.

Arizona Summit lost its ABA accreditation earlier this summer, but is appealing. Not to the students; to the ABA.

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