Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NLJ: ABA Debates Elimination of Tenure Requirement for Law Faculty

ABA Logo 2National 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. ...

The 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.

The 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. ...

The 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.

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He's using "fulsome" incorrectly. Don't give that guy tenure.

Posted by: Bud Norton | May 1, 2013 11:16:12 AM