Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

ABA Seeks Comments On Proposed Changes To Accreditation Standards Relating To Professional Formation, Mental Health And Substance Abuse

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Notice and Comment: Standards 303 and 508 and Rules 2 and 13 (Mar. 1, 2021):

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)At its meeting held on February 18-19, 2021, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved for Notice and Comment proposed revisions to Standards 303 and 508 and Rules 2 and 13 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools.

We solicit and encourage written comments on all the proposals listed above. Due to COVID-19, there will not be an open hearing, only a written comment period. Please address all written comments on the proposals to Scott Bales, Council Chair. Please send comments to Fernando Mariduena by March 31, 2021. Written comments received after March 31, 2021, may not be included in the materials considered by the Council at its May 2021 meeting.

Explanation of Changes

Standard 303: Development of professional identity was added to this Standard since activities that help in the development of professional identity must take place at multiple points over the course of a student’s time in law school, including as part of the law school curriculum. Interpretation 303-5 allows flexibility so that law schools can incorporate opportunities for student professional identity development into the curriculum, co-curricular activities, and professional development activities in meeting this part of the Standard while also defining “professional identity.”

Standard 508: Recognizing concerns about mental health and substance abuse among law students, student well-being resources were added to the list of required student support services listed in Standard 508. The Standard has also been updated to define both “student well-being resources” and “reasonable access” so that these clearly define what is required by the Standard.

Rule 2: Due in part to the prevalence of remote work during the pandemic, Rule 2 is being amended to clearly allow for written correspondence from the Council and submissions to the Council to be sent electronically.

Rule 13: The U.S. Department of Education has extended the period of time to come into compliance with a Standard to four years with an extension of time possible for good cause. Currently, under Rule 13, if a law school is not in compliance with the Standards, it has two years to come into compliance. The Council is maintaining this two-year period to come into compliance but amending Rule 13 to specifically allow for an extension of time up to three more years for good cause if the applicable good cause policies are satisfied. Good cause policies are set out in a new IOP 18, which was approved by the Council at its February 2021 meeting. This amendment is in recognition of the fact that it may take longer for law schools to come into compliance with some Standards as opposed to others.

Legal Education | Permalink