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Law School Presidents Headed for the Sidelines

Two law school presidents are calling it quits, leaving beleaguered organizations as the new semester starts.

Donald Lively of Arizona Summit School of Law said he has been thinking about it for a while. Don LeDuc, dean and president at Thomas Cooley Law School, is retiring.

It's like the off-season in sports, when coaches sometimes leave their teams. If you didn't notice, it's the off-season for law schools.

Arizona Summit

Lively says he is not abandoning ship. But Arizona Summit is going down fast, and he knows it.

"I have held off doing so out of concern that it might be perceived as abandonment," he said, noting "significant downsizing" at the law school. "I was uncomfortable letting others go without including myself and hopefully saving some other positions."

Arizona Summit, a stand-alone, for-profit venture, is cutting back because the American Bar Association revoked its accreditation. The law school and students are scrambling for an alternative.

If Elvis were alive, the law school might have a chance in Vegas. But Lively has left the building.

Thomas Cooley

The story is not so grave for Thomas Cooley, which operates under the auspices of Western Michigan University. However, the law school has been fighting its own battles with the ABA.

Last year, the association said Cooley was "out of compliance" with admissions standards. The law school responded with a lawsuit, and now the ABA says it is in compliance.

It's no way to run a law school, but at least Cooley is still in business. Let's see what happens next season.

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