Tuesday, April 30, 2013
National Law Journal: Is Law Faculty Tenure In or Out? ABA Can't Decide, by Karen Sloan:
The committee updating the ABA's law school
accreditation standards hopes to wrap up its initial review by the end
of 2013, but the group remains nowhere near a consensus regarding job
protections for law faculty—perhaps the most controversial item on its
agenda. The 14-member Standards Review Committee spent much of
its most recent two-day meeting in Washington weighing the merits of
three job protection and academic freedom proposals before opting to
draft a fourth idea for future consideration.
"It was a very
fulsome discussion," said committee chairman Jeffrey Lewis, a professor
at Saint Louis University School of Law. "We want to have a full plate
of options in front of us."
Rather than submit just one proposed
standard to the ABA's Council of Legal Education and Admission to the
Bar, the committee likely will recommend one proposal but provide
several alternatives so the council can decide whether it wants to
maintain, increase or decrease job protections. ...
first idea essentially would maintain the existing standard—declaring
that law schools shall provide for "tenure or a comparable form of
security of position for full-time faculty." Clinical faculty would have
"a form of security of position reasonably similar to tenure," but not
legal-writing teachers. Some clinicians and legal writing instructors
have argued that the existing rules have created a caste system.
second proposal is to move away from any tenure requirement. Schools
would afford all full-time faculty some form of security of position,
but each would decide what system that would be. ...
third idea is similar to the second, in that some form of security of
position would be required, although tenure would not mandated. However,
schools would have to maintain the same system for all full-time
faculty, including legal writing and clinical faculty.
In addition to the three
existing proposals, Lewis said, the committee may consider a fourth
alternative under which law schools would not be required to guarantee
any security of position. He said he hopes that the committee would
arrive at some sort of consensus during its next meeting in July.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Law Deans' Association Fights Tenure Requirement (Apr. 3, 2006)
- More on Law Deans' Tenure Challenge (Apr. 5, 2006)
- The Threat to Law School Tenure (May 4, 2007)
- Straight Talk About Tenure (May 10, 2007)
- Northwestern Battles ABA Over Tenure for Clinical Faculty & Library Director (Mar. 3, 2009)
- Presidents Join Deans in Asking ABA to Remove Faculty Tenure as Accreditation Standard (Jan 27, 2010)
- ABA Considers Dramatic Changes This Weekend in Law School Accreditation Standards, Including Dilution of Tenure (July 25, 2010)
- Law School Tenure in Danger? (July 26, 2010)
- More on the ABA's Proposal to Dilute Law Faculty Tenure (July 28, 2010)
- The 'Lord Voldemort' of Legal Education Takes on Faculty Tenure (Jan. 8, 2011)
- The Coming Showdown Over Law Faculty Tenure (Mar. 4, 2011)
- More on the ABA's Proposed Modification of the Tenure Requirement (Mar. 22, 2011)
- NLJ: ABA Considers Job Protections for Nontraditional Faculty (July 12, 2011)