Press Release, ABA House To Consider Major Changes For Legal Education:
The American Bar Association House of Delegates, which determines association-wide policy, will review proposals at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting to ... change rules and procedures affecting how the ABA accredits the nation’s 204 law schools.
The House — made up of 601 delegates from state, local and other bar associations and legal groups from across the country — will meet at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Aug. 6-7 at the close of the
Annual Meeting, which begins Aug. 2. ...
The proposed revisions to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools also follows a lengthy review and comment process and would modify not only rules and standards, but the way the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar — the association’s independent arm which serves as the national accreditor of law schools — operates. Altogether, there are five legal education resolutions (111A-111E) before the House.
For law schools, the most significant proposed change affects the standard requiring a “valid and reliable test” for prospective law students. While a test, such as the LSAT, would no longer be required, language would establish that a school whose admissions policy and practices are called into question is presumptively out of compliance with the standards if it does not require a valid and reliable admissions test as part of its admission policy. In recent years, close to two dozen schools have announced they will accept the GRE in addition to the LSAT.
The Council, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole national accrediting agency for law school education, is also seeking to eliminate both its Accreditation and Standards Review committees and fold their work into the Council itself to accelerate its review of schools. Under ABA rules, the House can either concur with the recommended changes or send them back to the Council with or without a recommendation. The Council must then resend any changes back to the House for re-consideration, but the final decision rests with the Council.
National Law Journal, ABA to Overhaul Law School Accreditation Process With Major Reorganization:
The arm of the American Bar Association that oversees law schools is poised to make its biggest transformation in decades with a major reorganization aimed at saving money and increasing efficiency.
The plan calls for the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to dissolve two longstanding committees tasked with developing the rules governing law schools and with making accreditation recommendations for individual schools. The work of the disbanded accreditation committee and the standards review committee would be assumed by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar—an existing 21-member body that makes all final decisions on accreditation and law school standards.
The change will essentially halve the number of people involved in making law school accreditation decisions, and reduce the number of committee and council meetings from 15 or 16 per year to four.
The ABA’s House of Delegates is expected to approve the reorganization when it meets in Chicago on Aug. 6. The new structure would go into effect immediately.
The reorganization will save the legal education section “several thousands of dollars” annually, according to section manager Barry Currier. The ABA is under financial strain and the organization has reduced the legal education section’s monetary support in recent years. The section has also seen revenue from its law school members fall along with the recent decline in student enrollment.
In addition to saving money, proponents say the new structure will reduce the time it takes to identify and sanction law schools that run afoul of the ABA rules because the decisions will be made by a single body.
ABA Journal, Legal Education Council to Discuss Admission Standards, Reorganization