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Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ABA Responds to Sen. Grassley's Concerns About Law School Accreditation

ABA Logo Following up on my July 13 post, Sen. Grassley Gives ABA Two Weeks to Address Law School Accreditation: the ABA yesterday sent this letter (2 pages) and memo (67 pages) to Sen. Grassley. This statement is attracting the most attention in the blogosphere:

The purpose of accredited law schools is to graduate attorneys who can serve the justice system and the long term need for lawyers over a lifetime. Denying accreditation to an otherwise-qualified law school would be a violation of Department of Education regulations. Furthermore, adjustments in the numbers of students enrolling in law school to begin their careers cannot and should not be affected by short-range economic developments. The Section does monitor enrollments and placement and distributes information on both. However, as indicated above, regardless of what some may see as the desirability of denying access to the legal profession on the basis of even medium-term employment opportunities, the accrediting agency simply cannot lawfully do so

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It's amazing to me that no one in the law school power structure (including the ABA, law school professors, law school deans, law school administrators, and law school career services offices) seem to care about any of the problems of legal education today. My guess is that it stems from the fact that law professors have ivy league educations and just don't care about anyone who doesn't. Something has to give at some point. Right?

Posted by: A | Jul 21, 2011 6:55:57 PM

It's interesting that American medical schools don't have this problem. For better or for worse, the medical schools -- perhaps because the infrastructure needs are much more substantial -- have been able to resist increasing enrollments the way law schools have.

Posted by: Steve White | Jul 22, 2011 4:58:38 AM

I think the heavy clinical experience associated with medical school is prohibitive of increased class size. Law school lecture halls, on the other hand, are eminently scalable. That is why law schools quickly find that robust clinical programs of instruction serving a sizeable portion of the class are cost prohibitive.

Posted by: stephen shaw | Jul 22, 2011 6:35:14 AM