Promoting Quality Legal Education

Vol. 40 No. 9

By

Erika D. Robinson a 2L at the University of South Carolina School of Law, is the 2011–12 Law Student Division liaison to the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The mission of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is to be a creative national force in providing leadership and services to those responsible for and those who benefit from a sound program of legal education and bar admissions, and to provide a fair, effective, and efficient accrediting system for American law schools that promotes quality legal education, and to continue to serve, through it’s Council, as the nationally recognized accrediting body for American law schools.

The Section’s website is one of the most visited sites of the ABA, contains legal education data, and is one of the best resources available for bar admissions and law school information.

Membership dues for law students at ABA-approved law schools are $3 annually. By becoming a Section member, students can expand their knowledge of legal education and the accreditation process, advance their careers after graduation, and make their voices heard. Other section benefits include the following.

Publications. Students can stay up-to-date and tuned into issues of specific interest to legal educators with the Section’s online newsletter, Syllabus. Published quarterly, Syllabus covers law school accreditation, diversity in legal education, the impact of technology and globalization on legal education, and other topics. In addition, student members receive the Section’s Annual Report, a comprehensive summary of legal education events of the past year, including detailed enrollment, faculty, and graduation statistics.

Networking. Connect with full-time and adjunct faculty, deans, and other legal professionals nationwide at ABA and Section conferences. Networking can occur through committee participation, Section meetings, and online discussion groups via the Section’s listservs.

The Section is currently in the fourth year of a comprehensive review of the ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools and Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools. The Council monitors and regularly amends the Standards and Rules. However, it is appropriate to periodically step back from the day-to-day issues that arise and think comprehensively about whether the Standards are appropriate and accomplishing their objective of assuring a sound program of legal education that will prepare law school graduates to become effective members of the legal profession.

The last comprehensive review commenced in September 2003 and was completed in 2006. Since that time, the Council has received reports from the Accreditation Policy Task Force, the Special Committees on Outcome Measures, Transparency, and Security of Position. It has also adopted a Strategic Plan. Each of those reports or plans suggested changes to the Standards, ranging from very specific language changes to new conceptual approaches.

The Standards Review Committee invites public comments through the comprehensive review process. Requests for comments and notices of public hearings are posted on the Committee’s website.

We hope you will follow our progress and provide your reactions and comments regarding proposals that the Council will publish for notice and comment over the next 12 to 18 months.

 

 

 

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