Boise’s Concordia law school gets accreditation review

The Concordia University School of Law’s accreditation is up for consideration by the American Bar Association on Friday and Saturday.

At stake is whether the association will grant provisional accreditation that would allow the few remaining students of this year’s graduating class – the school’s first – to take the Idaho State Bar exam, which they must pass to practice law.

The American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education met last August to consider Concordia’s application for accreditation, but the council declined and instead continued its deliberations. Neither the ABA nor the school have said why. .

As a result, 55 second- and third-year students at Concordia left the school and enrolled at the University of Idaho law school. The U of I offers law students a second- and third-year program on its Downtown Boise campus six blocks east of Concordia. .

The bar association sent a fact-finding team to Boise to visit the school last September to gather information on faculty, students and finances.

Concordia still has nine students with enough credits to graduate this spring and take the bar exam as early as July.

Concordia, a Lutheran school in Portland, announced in 2007 that it would open a law school in Boise and spent several years raising money to build it. Seventy-five students enrolled in 2012 for the first class. Law school typically takes three years to complete.

Cathy Silak, a former Idaho Supreme Court Justice who is Concordia’s dean, and Charles Schlimpert, president of the Portland-based university, will attend the council meeting in Minneapolis. Concordia anticipates hearing a decision from the ABA in the next few days.