Arizona Summit law school to affiliate with historically black college

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Arizona Summit

The for-profit Arizona Summit School of Law, which is part of the InfiLaw consortium, announced Friday that it will sign an affiliation agreement with Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college in Florida.

The law school campus will remain in Arizona, according to a press release. Summit has an existing agreement with the Florida college to provide students early admission to a prelaw program.

“B-CU’s presence in a region previously unoccupied by an HBCU is a landmark moment in higher education,” said Donald Lively, president of Arizona Summit.

According to the press release, 40 percent of the Arizona population are minorities, but minorities comprise only 8 percent of the state’s bar.

“Together, we aim to be a leading force in disrupting a legacy of exclusion that has persisted into the 21st century,” said Edison O. Jackson, president of B-CU. “Summit has been recognized as the No. 1 law school for diversity, an achievement that reflects upon its seriousness of purpose and commitment to mission.”

According to Summit’s ABA Standard 509 information report (PDF) for 2016, 43 percent of its student body were minorities. Its July 2016 bar passage rate for first-time test takers was 24.6 percent. Annual full-time tuition at the law school is $45,354, according to its website.

Starting in May, students will have to pass a mock bar exam as a graduation requirement. In January the school received a “zone” rating for the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment standard, which measures debt-to-earnings ratios. The term refers to schools that are close to not meeting gainful employment standards, and must pass the gainful employment standard in one of the next four years to stay in good standing.

Lively says that his school has a goal of increasing diversity in the profession, and to do that it accepts more non-traditional law students than other institutions.

“We bring in students who are in catch-up mode. They’ve gone to schools in less advantaged communities, and many have not had the same level of quality education as people who grew up in more fortunate circumstances,” he told the ABA Journal in February.




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