Thursday, July 07, 2005

Phoenix International School of Law - Revisited

Last week I participated in an online chat session hosted by the admissions department at PISL. By rough estimate 15 to 20 prospective students signed on and asked pointed questions about this new up and coming law school. For the most part the admissions staff came across as candid and helpful, with only occasional boilerplate answers used when queries were related to PISL working toward its ABA accreditation. Overall - I came away mildly impressed.

One prospective student stood out in that he was already practicing law (a graduate of a non-ABA law school i.e. Concord, Taft, North Central, or something similar) and wanted to explore the option of entering the school as an advanced student. Before the DOJ anti-trust action against the ABA in the mid 1990’s such a tactic would have been impossible, but today a handful of non-ABA practicing graduates/lawyers are going back to school as advanced students to obtain ABA credentials.

I also learned that PISL is NOT taking transfer students until they obtain their ABA credentials. It's not clear to me if this is a requirement of the ABA or just PISL's desire to have new, untainted blood from the get-go. One CAN enter as a new student, but I would need a CAT Scan before deciding to throw away a year of credit hours earned at an ABA law school.

I will be very surprised if PISL fails to become anointed into the ABA guild within the next few years, since the school seems to be doing a lot of things right. By the time the ABA visits sometime in 2006 the school will (probably) have a high number of applicants and a low number of acceptances – a formula the ABA seems to like. Toss into the mix experienced and highly credentialed faculty, pricey tuition and school policies that keep attrition rates low, PISL just might pull it off. I believe it's long overdue for a booming state like Arizona to have at least one (if not more) law schools in the Phoenix area.


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