Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 7, 2013

Law Profs Oppose Elimination of Tenure as an Accreditation Requirement

Al Brophy (North Carolina) reports that professors from the AALS Section on Minority Groups are requesting signatories on this letter to the ABA opposing the proposed elimination of faculty tenure as an accreditation requirement:

The undersigned are law professors who share a deep concern about racial diversity in legal education. We teach at ABA-accredited law schools across the country, and use an array of methods in our teaching and scholarship. We strongly urge the members of the ABA to reject the proposed changes by the ABA Council on Legal Education (“the Council”) to ABA Standard 405, which would abolish the requirement that ABA-accredited schools maintain a system of tenure. We have no doubt that adoption of the proposal will lead to law schools opting not to offer tenure to professors. Although we agree that education reform is necessary to meet the evolving needs of the legal profession, elimination of the tenure system will be counterproductive and will not serve these purposes. Critically, the lack of tenure protection for professors will cause a negative impact on academic freedom, the creation of safe space for dissenting voices, and recruitment and retention of minority law professors. The reasons offered for the proposed changes to Section 405 by Council members in public remarks are not sufficiently compelling to justify the potential damage to years of efforts to diversify the ranks of legal academia and the legal profession. Finally, we believe that an important proposal such as this one requires a more inclusive and diverse Council and broader input from the very beginning of the process.

If you would like to sign the letter, email Nareissa Smith (North Carolina Central) by Tuesday.

Update:  Balkinization:  The ABA Standards and Law School Tenure: An Unproductive Debate, by Stephen Griffin (Tulane)

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I oppose forcing law schools to eliminate tenure in order to be accredited.

Paul, read the title and you'll see that it can be read two ways, depending on whether the "Requirement" is "Tenure" or "Elimination of Tenure". Without knowledge of how law schools work the reader can't tell which is the correct meaning without reading the article.

Posted by: AMT buff | Oct 7, 2013 1:58:41 PM