April 01, 2017

Appreciating Public Members

Barry A. Currier
Managing Director

The adjournment of the 2017 ABA Annual Meeting in New York City in August marks the end of the service of Edward N. (Ed) Tucker to the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. There could be no better occasion to say thanks, not only to Ed, but to all the “public members” who have volunteered their time and talent to the Council and to legal education over the years.

34 CFR 602.14(b)(2) provides that an accrediting group that regulates professional education programs, such as the Council and the Accreditation Committee, must have at least one-seventh of the membership of the body making accreditation decisions who are “public members.” As that term is defined, it means that we need at least three members of each group who are not lawyers nor closely related to a lawyer (or at least a ABA-member lawyer).

Why, one might ask, would a non-lawyer who is not related to a lawyer want to spend time with lawyers, judges, and law school faculty/staff, diving into the esoterica of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, site reports, questionnaires, and the like? Each person has their own response to that question. But, it is clearly important work and all of us are grateful that so many good people have been willing to undertake it.

Many public members are non-law school university people – presidents, provosts, deans. Others are associated with other accrediting agencies. Ed Tucker’s career was spent as a CPA, building a very successful regional accounting firm, Ellin & Tucker, in Baltimore, Maryland. Ed served six years on the Accreditation Committee, six years as a member of the Council, and an additional three years as Secretary of the Council.

Ed put his accounting background to effective use by helping the Accreditation Committee and the Council with some knotty issues involving Standard 202 relating to the resources that a school must have to operate an ABA-approved law school program. He has been helpful to the Council in its budgeting process and discussions. Over the years, Ed has been on site visits and has become more conversant with the Standards than most legal educators. Often during discussions on school matters, Ed will remark that his job on the committee or the Council is to offer the perspective of what the public needs and expects of legal education and of the regulator of law school programs. That, indeed, is the reason that the U.S. Department of Education recognition criteria call for us to have public members.

Along the way, Ed became an important member of our accrediting community. Those who have worked with Ed consider him a friend. In recognition of his service, Ed will receive the Robert J. Kutak Award for service to the Section and to legal education at a reception in his honor during the ABA Annual Meeting.

We will miss Ed Tucker. We thank him for the time and commitment to legal education, and at the same time look forward to his successor, Bob Glidden, joining the Council. Bob is president emeritus of Ohio University and has been active for many years in accreditation at the national level. He, too, served on the Accreditation Committee prior to joining the Council. We are fortunate, indeed, to have so many individuals like Ed and Bob participating in our accreditation process.