Paul L. Caron

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Lessons From The ABA's Attempt To Revoke William & Mary Law School's Accreditation In The 1970s

James S. Heller (William & Mary) & Simon F. Zagata (J.D. 2018, William & Mary), Back To the Future: ABA Law School Accreditation in the 21st Century and America's First Law School's Battle to Survive in the 1970s, 111 Law Libr. J. 509 (2019):

William & Mary (2015)In the mid-1970s, the ABA threatened to pull accreditation from the College of William & Mary’s law school. The ABA’s motives were questioned as it had never taken this step before. Would a more aggressive 21st century ABA have stripped accreditation from well-established schools like William & Mary? The reader can be the judge.

The reality for well-established and well-regarded (or at least decent) law schools is probably akin to what William & Mary faced in the 1970s: the ABA sets its standards, makes threats, and holds hearings. But if a school fails—like Arizona Summit, Charlotte, Indiana Tech, Valparaiso, and Whittier—it’s unlikely to be because of the American Bar Association.

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


The ABA is a guild designed to protect lawyers and their livelihoods. This is not inappropriate. But granting the ABA--in league with law school administrators and state Supreme Courts--the ability to control university-based legal education is absurd. It involves three tiers of economic protectionism of existing interests and has nothing to do with the quality and focus of legally-oriented education.

Posted by: David Barnhizer | Jun 6, 2020 2:13:54 PM

Virtual law school is months away now. In other words, anybody with the desire can become a shitty lawyer much cheaper.

Posted by: Mark Robbins | Jun 6, 2020 7:18:39 PM

@ David. I've said it before. This site needs a like button.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jun 7, 2020 6:50:16 AM

"...and I'm never going back to my old school". Which in fact was that of Steely Dan themselves (and more or less the same time that they were there.) Life-changing music!

Posted by: Alan Potkin | Jun 9, 2020 9:03:19 PM