Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Should law schools be required to offer tenure or other forms of security of position to all full-time faculty members?
That is the question at the heart of two alternative proposals now being considered by an ABA committee that is working on a comprehensive review of law school accreditation standards.
One proposal would require law schools to offer all full-time faculty members tenure or presumptively renewable five-year contracts.
The other would not require law schools to provide tenure, but would require those that don't to bear the burden of showing they have established sufficient conditions to attract and retain a competent full-time faculty sufficient to accomplish their mission.
Both proposals would also require law schools to beef up their policies and procedures to protect academic freedom. And both would require law schools to have policies providing for the "meaningful participation" of all full-time faculty members in the governance of the school.
The current standard says law schools should have an announced policy with respect to tenure, but doesn't say what that policy should include or how it should be enforced.
The two alternative proposals are the upshot of a meeting last weekend of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar's Standards Review Committee, which is working on drafts of the recommendations it will eventually send to the section's council, the designated accrediting body for U.S. law schools.
Both proposals, which are now in the process of being tweaked, will soon be posted on the committee's website for consideration at its next meeting this fall.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Law Deans' Association Fights Tenure Requirement (Apr. 3, 2006)
- More on Law Deans' Tenure Challenge (Apr. 5, 2006)
- The Threat to Law School Tenure (May 4, 2007)
- Straight Talk About Tenure (May 10, 2007)
- Northwestern Battles ABA Over Tenure for Clinical Faculty & Library Director (Mar. 3, 2009)
- Presidents Join Deans in Asking ABA to Remove Faculty Tenure as Accreditation Standard (Jan 27, 2010)
- ABA Considers Dramatic Changes This Weekend in Law School Accreditation Standards, Including Dilution of Tenure (July 25, 2010)
- Law School Tenure in Danger? (July 26, 2010)
- More on the ABA's Proposal to Dilute Law Faculty Tenure (July 28, 2010)
- The 'Lord Voldemort' of Legal Education Takes on Faculty Tenure (Jan. 8, 2011)
- The Coming Showdown Over Law Faculty Tenure (Mar. 4, 2011)
- More on the ABA's Proposed Modification of the Tenure Requirement (Mar. 22, 2011)
- ABA Minority Proposal Softens Removal of Tenure as Accreditation Standard (Mar. 22, 2011)