Barry Currier has been named the managing director of accreditation and legal education at the American Bar Association. The appointment was announced by Kent Syverud, dean of Washington University School of Law and chairperson of the Section Council, 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 long-time 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.”