Paul L. Caron
Dean



Friday, June 24, 2016

Department Of Education Panel Recommends Suspension Of ABA's Power To Accredit Law Schools Due To Its 'Lack Of Attention To Student Achievement'

ABA Logo (2016)In stunning news, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) voted on Wednesday to recommend that the U.S. Department of Education suspend for one year the ABA's power to accredit new law schools due to the ABA's "lack of attention to student achievement":

[T]he panel on Wednesday rebuked the American Bar Association, in part for its lack of attention to student achievement.

The ABA accredits law schools, some of them freestanding institutions. NACIQI, after three contentious votes, recommended that the department suspend the association's ability to accredit new members for a year. The panel said the ABA had failed to implement its student achievement standards and probationary sanctions, while also falling short on its audit process and analysis of graduates' debt levels.

Barry Currier, the ABA's managing director of accreditation and legal education, said the finding followed a department staff report that listed minor technical deficiencies with the association's accrediting process.

"The council believes that it is operating in compliance with the recognition criteria," Currier said in a written statement, "but will make any changes to its accreditation standards and rules of procedures that are necessary to stay in good standing with NACIQI and the Department of Education."

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/06/department-of-education-panel-recommends-suspension-of-abas-power-to-accredit-law-schools-due-to-its.html

Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

So what exactly does this mean? Will the ABA care?

Posted by: Ty | Jun 24, 2016 6:48:25 AM

This news is even more important as it relates to the 75% bar passage requirement to maintain accreditation. Perhaps NACIQI will required the ABA to enforce that rule if it wants to remaining an accrediting body. I would estimate that by this summer, 40% of current ABA accredited law schools will have bar passage rates below 75%. It is now quite possible that all of these schools lose accreditation.

Posted by: JM | Jun 24, 2016 7:21:03 AM

Wow! So lefties, whatcha think of the Obama administration now? Betcha didn't see this one coming.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jun 24, 2016 8:06:11 AM

This really has been a great week. You reap what you sow, legal academia.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 24, 2016 8:22:34 AM

This is damning and damned embarrassing.

Posted by: Jojo | Jun 24, 2016 9:19:34 AM

Is anyone surprised that, pace to Barry Currier's reassurances, the staff report he mentions does not contain one word concerning student achievement, probationary sanctions, audits, or graduates' debt levels?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 24, 2016 10:28:59 AM

I agree with UNE - it's been a great week!

Posted by: Old Ruster from JD Junkyard | Jun 24, 2016 10:38:04 AM

". . . suspend the association's ability to accredit new members for a year."

Are there any schools with pending applications for accreditation? This should be a wake up call to the ABA but I don't see any serious direct consequences.

Posted by: Lonnie | Jun 24, 2016 10:49:09 AM

This is only the ability to accredit new law schools, not the ability to renew the accreditation of current law schools? That's what the excerpt seems to say.

Posted by: Andy Patterson | Jun 24, 2016 12:17:23 PM

Again, the obvious way to ameliorate this situation is to slim down and nationalize the bar exam and administer it BEFORE people go to law school, not after, and, while we are at it, slim down law school too by a year at least. Essentially, law school can and should be preceded by a four month bar oriented cram course and a rationalized bar exam. Law school should then consist of no more than two years of combined classwork and mandatory internships/apprenticeships. States should be required to accredit any lawyer with three years of practice under his/her belt or earlier if they pass a particular state exam.

Posted by: Susan Leboff | Jun 25, 2016 7:20:55 AM

I await the arrival of a couple law professors who will inevitably argue that we face a critical shortage of lawyers and law schools in this country and 204 law schools are simply not enough to serve ______________ segment of our population.

Posted by: Sam Browning | Jun 25, 2016 7:55:57 AM

Reading this post made my day!!!!! The ABA is nothing more than a trade group like the National Automobile Dealers Association or National Retail Federation and on and on. Who is the ABA? What authority do this group have? GW Bush was correct to "de-authorize" the ABA from having any sort of influence or veto power regarding Supreme Court nominees. What does the ABA do? Hold a trade show once a year where you can pick up stress balls and candy from West?

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jun 25, 2016 10:56:50 AM

'Bout time.

Posted by: Kneave Riggall | Jun 25, 2016 5:18:52 PM

From an ethical perspective, The Department of Education taking over law school ratings is the moral equivalent of the Los Zetas Cartel replacing the neighborhood seedy pot dealer.

Posted by: Diogenes of Sinope | Jun 25, 2016 5:27:51 PM

I've always had a problem understanding this. To practice law, a person must pass the bar exam. To take the bar exam (outside of California, I think) the person must graduate from a school accredited by the ABA. But the ABA is a purely private organization, not bound by due process or anything else, with no binding requirements as to how it goes about setting standards for accreditation, and to which but a small percent of the regulated profession belongs.

Posted by: Dave Hardy | Jun 25, 2016 9:15:01 PM

So who can name one thing the Department Of Education has done that has improved student outcomes?

Posted by: Gypsy Boots | Jun 25, 2016 9:33:50 PM

"The ABA accredits law schools, some of them freestanding institutions. NACIQI, after three contentious votes, recommended that the department suspend the association's ability to accredit new members for a year. The panel said the ABA had failed to implement its student achievement standards and probationary sanctions, while also falling short on its audit process and analysis of graduates' debt levels.

Barry Currier, the ABA's managing director of accreditation and legal education, said the finding followed a department staff report that listed minor technical deficiencies with the association's accrediting process."

It should surprise no one that, pace Currier's assertions, the staff report he mentions does not even contain the words "student achievement," "probationary sanctions," "audit," or "graduates' debt levels."

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 25, 2016 10:53:13 PM