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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

AALS Goes to War Over ABA's Proposed Accreditation Standards Changes

AALS The AALS yesterday sent this remarkable 10-page letter to the ABA opposing the Standards Review Committee's proposed changes to the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. Here is the blistering conclusion:

Those who seek to alter the fundamental assumptions underlying accreditation and its role in the system of legal education should bear the burden of justifying that need to the legal education community and all those who rely on the high quality of American legal education.

We therefore ask the Council and the Standards Review Committee to take the following actions:

  1. Reject the radical proposed changes to the role of faculty, and other changes to the standards that would weaken, rather than strengthen, legal education.
  2. Initiate a process for the specific purpose of allowing all important constituencies to understand and debate the vision animating the current proposals and their combined effect on legal education.
  3. Undertake or commission an independent, fact-based study of the actual cost drivers in legal education, and their relationship with the accreditation process.

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Comments

So which is it, do they want the 'important constituencies' (read as faculty per item 1)to set the bar or an 'independent commission'? Seems the important constituencies would naturally seek to preserve whatever preferences they have within the status quo while an independent commission might consider those do not sufficiently further the legal education goal.

Posted by: Duke | Mar 30, 2011 10:14:42 AM

"Those who seek to alter the fundamental assumptions underlying accreditation and its role in the system of legal education should bear the burden of justifying that need to the legal education community and all those who rely on the high quality of American legal education."

Reactionary nonsense. You want your ricebowls filled, law schools? Explain why filling them is better than not. In short, justify your price.

Posted by: lol | Mar 30, 2011 10:21:28 AM

Translation: "Hey! We are spending a lot of money to game the system as it stands. If you change things we will have to do it all over again, or even worse, not be able to manipulate the system at all!"

Posted by: West | Mar 30, 2011 10:24:19 AM

I don't recall this kind of fight even when the ABA wanted racial quotas, Constitution (and specific federal laws and state constitutions) be damned.

Posted by: J'hn1 | Mar 30, 2011 10:47:48 AM

Bucky?

Posted by: Jim O'Sullivan | Mar 30, 2011 1:40:07 PM

As Michael Olivas notes, the lack of coherent and articulated guiding principles for the proposed changes is palpable. Unfortunately, this seems to be the way the ABA section likes to do things. They're thrashing around and I'm glad the AALS was willing to cut through the BS and call them on it.

Posted by: Lionheart | Mar 31, 2011 8:45:28 AM