ABA takes a dive
The American Bar Ass'n takes a dive on antitrust violations. In 1996, ABA was sued for antitrust violations, and agreed to a consent decree. Dept of Justice contends that it violated its terms, moves to hold it in contempt, and ABA has agreed to pay $185,000 to settle the matter. The allegations are that ABA has manipulated its process for accrediting law schools. Specifically, that it tried to fix faculty salaries (I assume by dinging schools that paid less than it desired), dinged for-profit law colleges, and made it difficult for persons attended state-accredited (but not ABA accreditted) schools to get into ABA accredited ones. In short, that it used its certification process to fix wages and drive out competitors to its already-accredited schools.
I always thought the accreditation process was rather wierd. Most states (apart from California and perhaps a few others) require graduation from an ABA accredited school before a person can take the bar exam. ABA is of course a private group -- most attorneys aren't members, nor am I. So before you can take a government exam for a licensed trade, you must not only get a degree, but it must be from an institution certified by a private group (and not subject to standards like due process, or public approval in any way).
[via the Volokh Conspiracy.]