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Liberty’s Faulkner to lead Appalachian School of Law

faulkner_keith-cmykB. Keith Faulkner, the current dean at the Liberty University law school, has been named president and dean of the Appalachian School of Law.

He will assume his duties at the Grundy-based school July 1.

Faulkner succeeds Elizabeth A. McClanahan, the former Supreme Court justice who will become the president of the Virginia Tech Foundation in Blacksburg.

In a release, McClanahan said, “Dean Faulkner brings to ASL a highly diverse background that emphasizes the holistic nature of experiential learning.”

After practicing law as a litigator, Faulkner previously served as the interim dean of the Campbell University law school in North Carolina and as dean of Campbell’s business school. For the past five years, he has been the dean at Liberty Law in Lynchburg.

During his tenure there, Faulkner led the law school in 2018 to achieve the number seven bar-passage rate outcome compared to all law schools in the nation.

The most recent admissions cycle demonstrated the highest number of applications since the founding of Liberty Law in 2004 and the third-largest entering class in its history.

ASL’s vital statistics are on the rebound. American Bar Association accreditation authorities in 2017 directed ASL to take remedial actions to address admission standards. The threat of further action was removed in 2020 when the ABA panel concluded ASL was in compliance.

ASL says it increased its top quartile LSAT score for new students from 2019 to 2020 by more points than any other ABA-accredited law school. The number increased from 147 to 153, according to standardized reports. The school now lists 147 as its median LSAT score for the 73-member first year class, which compares to a national average median score of about 152.

ASL graduates achieved a 75.51% pass rate in the September session of the Virginia bar exam – the highest Virginia bar pass rate in the school’s history – but the school posted only a one-third pass rate for the July session. The school says its overall bar passage rate for all graduates from 2007 through 2019 is 84.08%.