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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ABA Responds (Again) to Sen. Grassley on Law School Accreditation

ABA Press Release, ABA Responds to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley Regarding Legal Education Issues:

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has responded to an Aug. 8 letter from U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) requesting information about law school accreditation and student lending.  The section’s detailed response, including an offer to meet with the senator at his convenience, is accompanied by a letter from ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III.

The response addresses Sen. Grassley’s questions on the issues of law student loan default rates, scholarship retention and employment in the legal job market.

Regarding student loan default rates, the response notes that current ABA accreditation standards require law schools to “take reasonable steps to minimize student loan defaults, including provision of debt counseling at the inception of a student’s loan obligations and prior to graduation.”

The section will be considering in the near future a recommendation that law schools be required to publish scholarship retention rates.

With regard to the legal job market, the section describes current accreditation standards that take job placement information into account as a key measure of a law school’s educational program, and also require that law schools provide career counseling services.  Recently implemented changes to the section’s annual questionnaire ask law schools for more detailed reporting of employment data, including types of employment, whether employment is long-term or short-term, whether the position is funded by the law school or associated university, and other additional data points.

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The ABA keeps playing games with the term "default." When students go on a loan repayment deferment or Income Based Repayment, that is a default. It might not be called a default under the ABA's definition, but economically it's a default.

Posted by: anon | Aug 31, 2011 5:31:41 PM