Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ABA Forms Task Force on the Future of Legal Education

ABA LogoABA Press Release, ABA President Names Task Force on the Future of Legal Education:

The ABA today announced establishment of a task force to review and make recommendations on the state of legal education and its responsiveness to the needs and opportunities of the legal market. The Task Force on the Future of Legal Education — consisting of representatives from the judiciary, organized bar, legal education and legal practice — will be chaired by recently retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard. ... The task force is expected to continue its work during the next two ABA presidential terms and conclude in 2014.

Members of the task force are:

  • Randall T. Shepard (chair) (Former Chief Justice, Indiana Supreme Court)
  • Paulette Brown (Edwards Wildman Palmer, Madison, NJ)
  • Richard P. Campbell (President, Massachusetts Bar Association)
  • Ronald D. Castille (Chief Justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court)
  • Michael P. Downey (Armstrong Teasdale, St. Louis)
  • Christine M. Durham (Justice, Utah Supreme Court)
  • Joseph D. Harbaugh (Professor, Nova Law School)
  • Kevin R. Johnson (National Credit Union Administration)
  • Paula Littlewood (Executive Director, Washington State Bar Association)
  • Thomas W. Lyons III (Strauss Factor Laing & Lyons, Providence).
  • Margaret H. Marshall (Chief Justice (retired), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court)
  • Leo Paul Martinez (Professor, UC-Hastings College of Law)
  • Nancy Hardin Rogers (Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University College of Law)
  • Maritza Sáenz Ryan (Head of the Department of Law, U.S. Military Academy)
  • James A. Wynn Jr. (Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit)
  • Jolene A. Yee (Associate General Counsel, E. & J. Gallo Winery)
  • David Yellen (Dean, Loyola University Chicago School of Law)
  • Jay Conison (Dean, Valparaiso University Law School) (task force reporter)

Update: National Law Journal, One More Task Force on the Legal Profession's Problems

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Their backgrounds don't seem as representative as they could be given their task to analyze the current law school educational system against the backdrop of astronomical law school costs/loan debt, uncertain job prospects, oversaturation of lawyers, etc. For instance, there's no one from biglaw on the task force. And NY will have the highest glut of unemployed attorneys in the country and there's no one from NY on the task force. I also doubt anyone currently on this task force took out $150k to pay for their law school education.

Respectfully, it would have been nice to see more diverse voices than professors (are they really going to support making law school 2 years and/or reducing tuition?) and judges. What about including a blogger who thinks critically on these issues, like a Matt Leichter? That said, I would have been fine with professors if they'd included professors who are critically and publicly out there on these issues like Brian Tamaha, Paul Campos, or Bill Henderson.

Posted by: DCML | Aug 8, 2012 2:27:14 PM

An awful lot of the same-old people in the legal education section. I highly respect the Harbaughs and Shepards and Conisons and Yellens, but why not add the Bill Hendersons or Tamaha's or other critics of current legal education practices? Where are the clinical faculty members? Or the creative Legal Writing teachers?
Why not some of the high-tech innovators?

Ralph Brill

Posted by: Ralph Brill | Aug 8, 2012 10:23:21 AM

Inmates asked to study future of the asylum.

Posted by: Bob | Aug 8, 2012 9:06:54 AM

Mostly judges and professors, both of which know little about the current practice of law.

Posted by: Greg | Aug 8, 2012 8:55:04 AM

Task force of the future comprised of voices of the past. Wouldnt it be a good idea to have one or two new voices with new perspectives?

Posted by: Greg McNeal | Aug 8, 2012 8:11:41 AM

Are any of the panel members the kind who will rock the boat by asking the uncomfortable questions that need to be asked about these issues? Or are they there to sweep the problem under the rug?

Posted by: Andy Patterson | Aug 8, 2012 6:36:16 AM