November 16, 2018

Commission on the Future of Legal Education


The Commission on the Future of Legal Education will take a leadership role in anticipating, articulating and influencing what will be dramatic changes in the legal profession in the next decade and beyond. The Commission will explore possible changes to methods of training and testing the future generations of law students. It will seek to bring the perspectives of various constituencies to the table including judges, deans, professors and practitioners. Various subcommittees of the Commission will focus specifically on key issues including bar exam passage rates, the role legal education can play in addressing the justice gap, identifying the skills future lawyers will need, and other issues identified by the group.

The Commission adds to the ABA’s long-standing commitment to, and support of, quality legal education. This includes the work of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Council of that Section.


Article by Commission Chair Dean Patricia White in New York State Bar Association's Fall Journal, titled:  "Essential Questions: What to Ask About the Bar Exam"

2018 Midyear Event


When:  The Open Hearing was held on Sunday, February 4, 2018 in Vancouver, BC. 

CFLE Summary

The Commission on the Future of Legal Education is leading the effort to build the legal profession of the future by articulating how best to align the education and licensure of legal professionals with accelerating technology advances and the ever-changing practice of law. The Commission has organized around the following areas of research and ideation:

  • Future Skills – explore the law jobs of the future, with associated required competencies, across the coming two decades; highlight the shifts needed in education and licensure to serve that future view, and explore models more agile to the pace of change
    • QUESTION FOR OPEN HEARING - How can law schools prepare students for the law jobs of the 21st century?  What are the new skillsets not traditionally included in law school curriculum?
  • Access to Justice – address the systemic structures in education and licensure which limit the ability of the profession–and society–to make greater progress on access to justice
    • QUESTION FOR OPEN HEARING - What can law schools do to further progress on access to justice?
  • Licensure – better understand recent bar passage trends, and explore different examination and certification models which align with a forward-looking definition of entry-level competence
    • QUESTION FOR OPEN HEARING - How well does the current bar exam (please specify your state) correlate to entry-level competence for the 21st century attorney?

Open Hearing Testimony

The agenda below provides the list of individuals who gave testimony at the Open Hearing; this includes those who scheduled in advance, and attendees who decided to contribute testimony on the day. See Video.

The following written testimony has been received thus far by the CFLE.

Commission Members

Patricia D. White
Dean & Professor of Law University of Miami School of Law

David Faigman
Chancellor & Dean
University of California Hastings College of Law

Horacio E. Gutierrez
General Counsel

Gillian Hadfield
Professor of Law and Professor of Strategic Management, University of Toronto Faculty of Law; Faculty Affiliate, Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence; Senior Policy Advisor, OpenAI; Author, Rules for a Flat World

Honorable Andrew D. Hurwitz
United States Circuit Court Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Deborah Jones Merritt
John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Courtesy Professor of Sociology; Courtesy Professor of Public Policy and Management, and Associate Faculty Member in Women's Studies, Ohio State University

Blake D. Morant
Dean, George Washington University School of Law

Vanessa Nordyke
Oregon State Bar President 2018; Assistant Attorney General, Oregon Department of Justice

Daiquiri Steele
Director of Diversity Inclusion and Assistant Professor of Law In Residence, University of Alabama School of Law

David Stern
Executive Director
Equal Justice Works

Richard Susskind
Author; Chair, UK Civil Justice Council's Advisory Group on Online Dispute Resolution; IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; Professorships at University of Oxford, Gresham College and Strathclyde University; President of the Society for Computers and Law

David B. Wilkins
Lester Kissel Professor of Law; Director, Center on the Legal Profession; and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession
Harvard Law School


Andrea P. Sinner, Director
American Bar Association
Commission on the Future of Legal Education

The Commission welcomes inquiries or comments on any topic directly to the Commission’s Director at the email above.