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Barry Currier is New Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education at American Bar Association

Barry Currier is New Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education at American Bar Association

By Edward McEneely

CHICAGO, March 28, 2013 — Barry Currier was named today as the managing director of accreditation and legal education at the American Bar Association. The appointment was announced by Kent Syverud, dean of the Washington University Law School and chairperson of the Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and Jack Rives, ABA executive director.

Currier has been interim consultant on legal education since June 2012. He comes to the position of managing director with considerable experience in higher education, including having been dean of two law schools and a longtime volunteer in the accreditation process. He also has prior experience as deputy consultant to the section.

Currier’s title as managing director, rather than consultant, reflects the increasing importance and scope of the section’s regulatory role. The title change will not affect the variety of activities and programs that the section offers to support the work of law schools and their faculties and administrators.

Syverud, who chaired the search committee, stated: “We had a strong pool of fine candidates for this leadership position. The Council decided that, at a time when legal education must deal with fundamental changes in both the legal profession and higher education, Barry Currier has the right combination of skills, vision and determination. He will make sure that the law school accreditation process allows room for innovation, while still ensuring that law schools offer rigorous education.”

Currier thanked the Council and the ABA for their confidence, noting: “The environment in which law schools and the legal profession are operating creates both the need and opportunity for innovation and change that can make legal education better and more accessible. The law school accreditation process, while insisting that schools offer sound programs of legal education, should do all that it can to facilitate schools taking steps to better serve their students and the public interest.”

Solomon Oliver, chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and chair-elect of the section, commented: “The Council and the staff have done a good job over the last two years in dealing with demands for more transparency in the accreditation process. I am confident that, with Barry’s help and leadership, we will continue to improve our performance in this regard, collecting more useful and more reliable data about legal education and reporting it more quickly and comprehensively. I look forward to working closely with Barry over the coming year.”

The council that Oliver will chair next year has an important role as the nationally recognized accreditor of law school J.D. programs. Its work is important to law schools and their universities, and to the legal profession, including those responsible at the state level for bar admissions. The membership of the council includes legal academics, judges, lawyers and public members who volunteer their time and expertise in support of legal education.

For more information about the section, council and the ABA law school accreditation process, please visit www.americanbar.org/legaled.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntaryprofessional membership organizations in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

The Office of the Managing Director on Legal Education administers the law school accreditation project and other activities of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

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