WASHINGTON (AP) – A group of lawyers violating the law? Say it ain’t so!

The Justice Department and the American Bar Association agreed Friday that the association, the nation’s largest group of lawyers, had indeed violated a 1996 court order that settled a government antitrust suit against the ABA.

The ABA even agreed to pay $185,000 to reimburse the government for its costs in investigating what the Justice Department called a case of civil contempt of court.

The joint agreement between the association and the government is still subject to court approval, but that was expected to be little more than a formality.

In June 1995, the government sued the ABA here alleging the association had allowed its law school accreditation process to be misused by law school personnel with a direct economic interest in the outcome of accreditation reviews, resulting in anticompetitive conduct.

A year later, the court prohibited the ABA from fixing faculty salaries, boycotting state-accredited law schools by restricting the ability of their students and graduates to enroll in ABA-approved law schools and boycotting for-profit law schools.

The government’s court filing Friday, agreed to by the ABA, said the association violated six provisions of that order.

The ABA is a national professional association based in Chicago. Its Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is the only national accrediting body for law schools.


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