Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

ABA: Law Schools Can Admit 10% of Students Without LSAT, Must Do Annual Audit of Placement Data, Can't Give Academic Credit for Paid Externships

ABA Journal, Legal Ed Section’s Council Wraps Standards Review, Keeps Ban on Academic Credit For Paid Externships:

ABA Logo 2The governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has wrapped up its comprehensive review of the law school accreditation standards.

The council, which met Friday in Cleveland, approved five of the six remaining proposed changes in the standards, including one that would permit schools to admit up to 10 percent of their entering class with students who haven’t taken the LSAT and one that would limit the number of transfer credits a school can grant for prior law study not taken as a JD-degree student at an ABA-approved school.

Update:  National Law Journal, ABA Council Says No to Paid Law Student Externships

ABA Tax Section, Legal Education | Permalink


"the only proposed change in the standards the council didn’t approve was one that would have eliminated the current prohibition against granting academic credit to a student for participating in a field placement program for which the student receives compensation."


Posted by: No, breh | Jun 10, 2014 10:50:01 PM

No one seems to be talking about the audit requirements, so I'll add that they appear to be mostly incapable of identifying systemic fraud. Short of a "credible" third party allegation of fraud, the ABA will never look past the information contained in the school made files (which can consist entirely of data entered by school employees).

Level one reviews, which must be failed before more searching reviews are conducted, "presume[ a school's] file to be accurate in the absence of evidence that it is not. No outside inquiries will be made to confirm the accuracy of the data unless there is credible evidence that the Files contain missing, false or inaccurate information."

The Random Graduate Review process similarly requires "[n]o direct contact with graduates . . . The ABA will rely upon the records provided by the schools and publicly available information to confirm graduate employment outcomes. If a Graduate Employment File contains support for the reported status of the graduate, that data will be presumed to be accurate in the absence of evidence that it is not."

In other words, in order for any review that actually checks the accuracy of a school's file against outside information to be commenced, there needs to either be (a) obvious mistakes in more than 2% of a schools file, or (b) a "credible" allegation that the school is misreporting. Of course, how an allegation would meet the "credible" requirement is undefined.

I'd say that something is better than nothing, but this might actually be worse than nothing as it has the potential for the ABA to stamp reports as accurate that are entirely fabricated.

Posted by: Former Editor | Jun 10, 2014 2:56:34 PM

i really hope that some judge has the stones to allow law schools to face the same type of consequence that any company performing similar schemes on the public would face. FTC where are you? This is consumer fraud, plain and simple. I think they should all burn for it.

Posted by: Jojo | Jun 10, 2014 10:12:50 AM

The 10% rule would truly be a face if it applies even to prospective who have already taken the LSAT, but allows them not to use it in the application, or allows the school not to report it. Then the entire purpose of the rule really would just be to allow schools to gild the lily.

Count on the ABA and law schools inventing increasingly devious methods to keep students signing loans and coming through the door. It’s like a drug addict desparately looking for his next fix.

Posted by: JM | Jun 10, 2014 9:39:12 AM

Just another validation of my decision to quit the ABA 20 years ago. Haven't regretted quitting for one second.

Posted by: Quancho | Jun 10, 2014 8:58:28 AM

The ABA is such a joke.

10 percent no LSAT. Gee, ABA, I wonder who was pushing for this.

Where are the bar passage requirement reforms? Killed in committee? I wonder why.

The ABA is not the American Bar Association. It is the ALSPA - the American Law School Protection Association. It cares nothing about the profession or the bar. Don't give them a penny. Don't belong. And if you're a biglaw employee, ask that the firm NOT pay your dues for you. Starve that horrible beast.

Posted by: Jojo | Jun 10, 2014 7:58:54 AM

On the protocol for auditin placement data, i think they should audit 100 percent of student funded jobs. Georgetown is paying less than minimum wage for full time, and calling it full time, for example. An audit should catch this type of shenanigan, but I am not sure that it will.

Posted by: Hugh | Jun 10, 2014 6:43:34 AM

This is moronic. You can now get into an ABA accredited school without taking the LSAT. Clearly the ABA wants a law degree to become the equivalent of the Virginia College medical billing and coding degree.

Posted by: Jackie Chiles | Jun 10, 2014 6:34:26 AM