Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

ABA Sends Proposed Changes To Accreditation Standards Out For Notice And Comment

Following up on my previous post, ABA Mulls Racism, Bias Training Accreditation Requirement For Law Schools

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)ABA Standards Committee Memo on Proposed Changes to Standards 205 and 206, 303 and 508, and 507 (May 7, 2021)

ABA Journal, Law School Noncompliance With Diversity Standard Should Require Public Notice, ABA Legal Ed Section Says:

Proposed revisions to strengthen law school accreditation standards addressing diversity, inclusion and nondiscrimination were approved Friday by the council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. ...

Other proposed revisions approved by the council include:

  • A change to Standard 303, which addresses curriculum, to require “training and education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency and racism.” Also, the council approved a proposal to add language that directs schools to provide students with opportunities for “the development of a professional identity.”
  • A change to Standard 507, which deals with student loan programs, requiring law schools to provide applicants and students with school loan debt counseling.
  • A change to Standard 508, which addresses student support services, to provide students with information or services related to mental health, including substance use disorders.

The proposed revisions will go out for notice and comment, and then to the ABA House of Delegates at the February 2022 midyear meeting at the earliest.

Karen Sloan (, ABA Pushes Forward With Racism Training Requirement for Law Schools:

Should law schools be required to train students in bias, racism, and cross-cultural competency?

The American Bar Association is asking legal educators and the public to weigh in.
The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar on May 14 advanced a slate of proposed changes to its law school accreditation standards, including a mandate that law students receive training on racism and bias at least twice during their legal studies. The bias requirement is part of a larger push to incorporate professional identity formation into the law school curriculum. Proponents of professional identity formation want law schools to spend more time focusing on what it means to be a lawyer, and not just how to think like one.

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