The American Bar Association yesterday renewed its accreditation of the Antioch School of Law in Northwest Washington for another year after satisfying itself that the school was adequately financed.
The reaccreditation of Antioch, the nation's most prominent law school specializing in clinical legal education, was important for the school since all but five states require that prospective lawyers be graduates of an ABA-accredited law school before they can be admitted to the bar.
The ABA action amounts to a favorable sign for Antioch, which has been beset by a variety of controversies in recent months, starting with the firing of the school's co-deans and founders, Edgar and Jean Cahn, by the school's parent institution, Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
A group of black students took over acting dean Joseph Meng's office for a day recently in another dispute, and the federal Legal Services Corp. has been threatening to withdraw the major support -- a $420,720 annual grant -- for the clinical legal education program. The school uses the grant to provide legal representation for the poor, with students assisting their professors in the work.
The Legal Services Corp. has extended the grant through the end of the current academic year, but has yet to decide whether to continue it next year.
Antioch University repeatedly has said it has no intention of changing the school's curriculum.