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Orlando, Fla. – The American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar granted full approval to Florida A&M University College of Law during its meeting in Chicago on July 30, 2009, according to FAMU President James H. Ammons.
“I applaud Dean Pernell, his administration, faculty, and students for reaching this milestone,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “This achievement speaks volumes about their hard work, dedication and commitment.”
Ammons announced the Council’s decision regarding accreditation during a press conference held in the ceremonial moot courtroom of the FAMU College of Law in downtown Orlando. He was joined by FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman C. William Jennings, Law School Dean LeRoy Pernell, Former FAMU President Frederick Humphries, dozens of university administrations, law school alumni, friends and supporters.
“Critics of our school once said that the mountain was too steep to climb,” said Dean Pernell. “When faced with a mountain you have to cross, the slope is irrelevant. The Council’s decision is a reflection of the resilience, perseverance and commitment of the university, our students, faculty and staff to the mission of the FAMU College of Law.”
Under the rules of the ABA, the Council’s decision is final and effective immediately, subject to review by the ABA House of Delegates. While the House of Delegates may request reconsideration of the Council’s decision, the group has never done so in the history of the ABA.
“Full accreditation by the ABA ensures that the 500-plus FAMU College of Law graduates can continue to sit for the Bar exam in any state in the nation and it reaffirms what we have always known: that we have and will continue to provide our students with a great legal education,” Pernell said.
The FAMU College of Law becomes one of only 189 law schools fully approved by the ABA. To remain in compliance with ABA standards, the FAMU College of Law will undergo its next full site evaluation in three years then reviews every seven years thereafter.
The FAMU College of Law was reestablished in 2000 and opened its doors to 89 students in 2002. The ABA granted the law school provisional accreditation in August 2004. Since that time, the FAMU College of Law continued to grow and pursue its mission.
With the arrival of Ammons from North Carolina Central University in July 2007, and Pernell from Northern Illinois University's College of Law in January 2008, sweeping changes and improvements followed at the law school. The changes included the addition of 16 nationally-recognized faculty members and a new Center for International Law and Justice (CILJ) at the start of the Fall 2008 semester. Law faculty publication and scholarship output increased; the law school was recognized as the most diverse law school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report; and was ranked seventh nationally for providing clinical opportunities by National Jurist magazine. The campus was enhanced also with the opening of the FAMU Café in December 2008 and the FAMU Bookstore in January 2009.
“This is a significant milestone for FAMU,” Ammons said. “But it’s just the beginning of a long journey to make the College of Law a premiere institution of legal education, committed to its history of making an indelible mark on the community and the world.”
The law school was created with a specific mission — to “meet the educational needs of African Americans and other ethnic minorities, while maintaining its leadership in racial diversity.”