Paul L. Caron

Monday, July 17, 2017

ABA Meets To Consider Elimination Of 49% Adjunct Professor Cap And Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)The Standards Review Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar met July 14-15 in Chicago.  Here are the agenda and meeting materials.  

The ABA Journal reports on comments received on proposed changes to Standard 403(a) to eliminate the requirement that more than 50% of law teaching be performed by full-time faculty. Here are links to all of the comments:

See also Inside Higher Ed, Debating the Value of Full-Time Professors

The ABA Journal reports on comments received on proposed changes to Standard 503 to permit the use of the GRE in law school admissions.  Here are links to all of the comments:

See also Inside Higher Ed, Why Should Law Schools Have to Require LSAT or GRE? Law Deans Ask the Question

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So if 80% of classes are taught by adjuncts making the equivalent of $35k/year in salary, then what exactly are students buying for $50k per year in tuition?

Congratulations again to law schools on serving as a sort of petri-dish culture experiment on the most extreme form of capitalism that even Trump would probably view as a bridge too far.

Posted by: JM | Jul 17, 2017 9:29:35 AM

May they both swiftly pass (so long as Interpretation 503-3(a) remains in effect)

503-3(a): It is not a violation of this Standard for a law school to admit no more than 10% of an entering class without requiring the LSAT from:
(1) Students in an undergraduate program of the same institution as the J.D. program; and/or
(2) Students seeking the J.D. degree in combination with a degree in a different discipline.
(b) Applicants admitted under subsection (a) must meet the following conditions:
(1) Scored at or above the 85th percentile on the ACT or SAT for purposes of subsection (a)(1), or for purposes of subsection (a)(2), scored at or above the 85th percentile on the GRE or GMAT; and
(2) Ranked in the top 10% of their undergraduate class through six semesters of academic work, or achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above through six semesters of academic work.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 17, 2017 9:09:36 AM

I strongly oppose the proposed revision to 403. Law students need to be taught by professors who are experts at teaching. Good teaching requires not only subject-matter expertise, but also the ability to convey the material to students and to help students become self-regulated learners. Part-time teachers generally can't do this. I agree that most law schools need to adopt a more practice-driven approach, but this should be done by hiring full-time professors who have practice experience, as clinicians and legal writing professors currently do." I continued, "What law schools need to do is to do better what they already do--teach students how to become lawyers and further knowledge concerning the law. The ABA proposal would have the opposite effect by putting inexperienced teachers into the classroom."

In sum, law school classes should be taught by full-time teachers because teaching expertise is just as important as subject matter expertise.

Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | Jul 17, 2017 9:05:06 AM

A change would support prospective costs by allowing more hiring of adjuncts as law schools attrition tenured faculty but this does little to address the legacy costs of superannuated, high-cost, tenured faculty.

Posted by: anon | Jul 17, 2017 8:20:07 AM

I support the proposed changes to Standard 403(a), and thank you for your prompt report on it.

Posted by: Old Ruster | Jul 17, 2017 6:49:12 AM