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A decision by Maine’s high court has left uncertain the future of a proposed law school in northern Maine. The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine earlier this month rejected a petition by Husson College in Bangor, which sought to enable its would-be law school graduates to take the state’s bar exam even though the school would not have accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). Until the college obtains permission for its law school graduates to sit for the bar exam without ABA accreditation, the school will not move ahead with the program, said Husson College President William Beardsley, in a written statement. Husson’s plan is one of 10 currently proposed law schools across the country. It proposes to provide a relatively low-cost legal education to the northern Maine region. In its petition to the court, the college said that it would not initially seek ABA accreditation. Maine, like nearly all states, requires individuals sitting for the bar exam to graduate from an ABA-accredited school. School officials had hoped that it could receive a waiver for the 20 or so law students it planned to graduate each year. The five-judge panel determined that the school’s lack of a track record left the court without sufficient information to grant a waiver. “Husson points to no other law school in the country that has chosen not to seek ABA accreditation and yet has received authorization for its students to take the bar exam before the establishing the school, fine tuning the program and assuring a quality legal education,” the decision stated. The statement by the school’s president indicated that it may refile a petition, noting that the court dismissed the petition without prejudice.

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