The ABA Young Lawyers Division and Law School Transparency are hosting a symposium on Uncomfortable Conversations About Legal Education: Student Debt, Diversity, and More today at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco:
Kyle McEntee, Abhay Nadipuram, Tommy Preston Jr.
Law schools face an unrelenting system of incentives that make lowering prices, equitable access, and curricular innovation extremely difficult. This half-day program examines how to cause positive change in legal education.
Law School Deans Panel: Obstacles to Lowering Costs
Ben Barros (Toledo), Camille Nelson (American), Carla Pratt (Washburn)
Three current law school deans will discuss barriers to more accessible and affordable legal education. The discussion will cover U.S. News & World Report rankings, accreditation, university culture, and more.
Introduction to the Blue Sky Initiative (more here and here)
Maggie White, an Iowa attorney and member of Law School Transparency’s board of directors, will describe a wide-ranging initiative from Law School Transparency and other partners to address the cost of legal education.
House of Cards
Maggie White will discuss the risks changes to the federal student loan program pose to the law school business model.
Open Source Learning
John Mayer, executive director of CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, will share the opportunity for free and low-cost learning materials, what stands in the way of widescale adoption, and how to overcome these barriers.
Income Share Agreements
Barry Cynamon, CFO at Better Future Forward Inc., will describe an alternative to student loans for financing higher education.
Implementing Income Share Agreements
Jerry Anderson, Dean of Drake University Law School, will discuss consideration to implementing ISAs from a university’s perspective, including whether it is a solution at all.
Paulette Brown, senior partner and chief diversity officer at Locke Lord LLP and past president of the ABA, will highlight how law school pricing strategies threaten the diversification of the legal profession and what the ABA Section of Legal Education should do about it.
Mitigating the Impact of the U.S. News Rankings
Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, will discuss prospective efforts to reduce the influence of U.S. News on how law schools allocate resources. The efforts include increasing competition, reducing paralyzing groupthink, and persuading U.S. News to value efficiency over wasteful spending.
What Long-Term Change Can Make Legal Education More Affordable?
Kyle Fry (Iowa State Bar), Craig Boise (Dean, Syracuse), Rachel Moran (Former Dean, UCLA), Karen Sloan (National Law Journal)
Participants will discuss how technology and systems-level changes can reduce the cost of legal education in the future. We’ll discuss how several ideas, including online education and AI grading, serve as cost-adders given legacy costs that law schools cannot quickly shed. We’ll take a decades-long view towards planning for and ultimately enacting change that can make law school meaningfully more accessible and affordable.