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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Society Of American Law Teachers Opposes ABA Proposal To Allow Adjuncts To Teach More Law School Courses

SALT LogoFollowing up on last week's post, ABA Proposes To Eliminate Requirement That More Than 50% Of Law Teaching Be Performed By Full-Time Faculty:  National Law Journal, ABA May Open Door to More Adjunct-Taught Classes:

The American Bar Association is considering deep-sixing a rule requiring full-time faculty to teach at least half of every law school’s upper-level courses—a proposal likely to ruffle the feathers of professors who fear it would allow schools to essentially outsource the second and third year to adjuncts.

Eliminating the requirement would provide law schools more room to experiment with how they deliver classroom instruction and would also allow them to cut costs, according to the ABA committee that proposed the change. “This is another way in which the standards are moving toward looking at outcomes rather than inputs,” said Barry Currier, who oversees the ABA’s section of legal education. “What if a school graduates 100 percent of its students and 100 percent of them pass the bar? Should the accreditation standards say, ‘Sorry, still no good because you don’t have a majority of your upper years taught by full-time faculty?’”

But at least one organization of law professors has already said it will oppose reducing the amount of course offerings that must be taught by full-time faculty in order to preserve the quality of students’ educational experiences. “Students need to have access to faculty members outside of classroom time to be able to go over things that confuse them, to be counseled on how their education fits with their career aspiration and things like that,” said Denise Roy, the director of externships at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers, the largest group of law faculty in the country. “Adjunct faculty typically are not available on campus outside their teaching hours.” ...

Some professors see potential in the idea of rolling back full-time faculty requirements, however. Law schools wouldn’t have to change their teaching models should the ABA do away with the upper-level full-time teaching requirement, wrote University of Alabama School of Law professor Paul Horwitz in a post on PrawfsBlawg, but they would have new flexibility to do so. “If some law schools adopt a more practice-driven approach and rely more on practitioners to achieve it, while others are or can afford to emulate the model of a few elite schools, so much the better for institutional diversity and student choice,” Horwitz wrote.

American Lawyer Morning Minute, Professors Exed?:

The ABA is considering deep-sixing a rule requiring full-time faculty to teach at least half of every law school’s upper-level courses — which may not sit well with (you guessed it) full-time faculty. The ABA committee that proposed the change said eliminating the requirement would provide law schools more room to experiment with how they deliver classroom instruction and aid in cutting costs. But the Society of American Law Teachers, the country’s largest group of law faculty, has already registered its opposition to the proposal, saying it would hurt students because they would have limited access to adjuncts, who typically are not available on campus outside of classroom time.

Inside Higher Ed, More Law School Courses for Adjuncts?:

Kyle McEntee, executive director and co-founder of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit group, was cautiously supportive of the ABA's possible move, with some caveats. "Faculty expenditures are among the highest line items on a school's budget. I have no problem with the ABA providing schools more flexibility in hiring, as long as schools study and indicate how they measure the effectiveness of their teachers, including full-time faculty already on staff," McEntee said via email. "Part-time teaching resources are a real opportunity to bring down the costs of legal education, while satisfying the demands of the practicing bar. But it also has the potential to create an army of aimless, well-intentioned adjuncts."

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/03/society-of-american-law-teachers-opposes-aba-proposal-to-allow-adjuncts-to-teach-more-law-school-cou.html

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Comments

Every law student with crushing debt can take solace in the obvious fact that SALT is spending every waking moment fighting for cost-cutting reforms that will benefit them.

Posted by: Rob Anderson | Mar 28, 2017 9:24:43 PM