The Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the American Bar Association after the ABA denied the school accreditation.
The suit said the ABA denied the school due process and violated federal antitrust laws.
The school argued the denial was based, in part, on what it called the ABA's desire to limit the number of law schools and the number of attorneys.
"We regret having to take this action," said Vice President and Dean Sydney A. Beckman. "We want to work with the ABA to improve legal education, not work against them or have them work against us."
According to a statement first made available for students and faculty on Tuesday night, the university was asking for provisional approval for accreditation.
"The national climate in higher education is changing and many of the national trends are contrary to what our service area in Appalachia is facing. As an institution that is experiencing growth on many levels, but especially in the graduate and professional studies, LMU is finding that accreditating bodies have slowed down the process tremendously," LMU Chairman O.V. "Pete" DeBusk said in a statement released to students and staff Tuesday. "The trustees and administration of Lincoln Memorial University founded the Duncan School of Law to continue the mission of service to Appalachia. The ABA's decision does not change our mission. We are as dedicated today to provide educational opportunities to the people of this region as we were the day we opened our doors. LMU will remain steadfast in its pursuit of academic excellence in all disciplines of study."
The Duncan School of Law has offered courses for the past two years at its Downtown Knoxville Campus. It said graduates can still apply for the Tennessee bar exam.