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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

ABA President-Elect Seeks To Strip All Non-Accreditation Activities From Section Of Legal Education

ABA Logo (2016)ABA President-elect Hilarie Bass has submitted this 4-page memorandum requesting that the ABA Board of Governors create a new "Commission on the Future of Legal Education" to assume all of the non-accreditation activities of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.  The accreditation activities would remain the responsibility of a renamed "ABA Section on Accreditation."  The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has submitted this 4-page memorandum detailing its "concerns" regarding President-elect Bass's proposal.

The matter is on the agenda of the Board's February 3-4 meeting at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami.

Update:  National Law Journal, ABA President-Elect Moves to Winnow Legal Education Section's Role

Legal Education | Permalink


The second paragraph of the President-Elect's memo suggests she understands the core issues:
"There has been an increasing drum beat, amplified by the Great Recession, about the need for change in our system of legal education. Low bar passage rates, excessive law student debt, the depressed job market for new lawyers, and the lack of value that employers place on the capabilities of recent law graduates are just some of the challenges that need to be addressed. Fingers are often pointed at some other cause for these problems, whether it be the bar examiners, the law school deans, the Supreme Courts, law students themselves or their future employers. It is both unfortunate and a lost opportunity that the ABA is not seen as responsive to these complaints."

Hopefully this indicates the prospect for real change and is not just a box-shuffling window dressing.

Posted by: Old Ruster from the former JDJunkyard | Feb 1, 2017 7:59:11 AM

Although it is not stated in the ABA prez-elect letter, it is hard to see how this is not a consequence of the drubbing the ABA Section on Legal Education got from NACIQI last summer. And pardon me for being cynical, but after starting the meat of the letter with "the time has come to move from blue ribbon commissions to concrete action," the letter literally outlines a new [blue ribbon] Commission on the Future of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar would have 10 members, including a chair, and would have three-year staggered terms. The Commission would have up to two honorary chairs and would be comprised of law school deans or former deans, other academics, bar examiners, employers, a representative from a state Supreme Court, a law student and other innovative legal education thinkers."

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 1, 2017 8:04:37 AM

Why are "concerns" in scare quotes?

Posted by: snark | Feb 1, 2017 10:20:43 AM

Gregory Murphy, Chair of the ABA Council, wrote the following in his letter in opposition to ABA President Bass’ proposal to restructure his Section: "The Council respectfully submits that, before the change is finalized, the United States Department of Education should be notified and an assessment obtained of the likely effect on continued recognition of the ABA as the national accrediting agency for law schools."
The irony of Mr. Murphy’s statement is palpable. Although he pleads for a study of the effects of the President’s proposal on his organization, Mr. Murphy staunchly refused opponents of his Council’s proposed ABA bar passage standard a similar study before implementation. Obviously, Mr. Murphy cares more about maintaining his Council's power than about maintaining diversity in the legal profession.

Posted by: Bill Patton | Feb 1, 2017 12:08:29 PM