May 06, 2014

ABA announces new Task Force on Financing of Legal Education

CHICAGO, May 6, 2014 — American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat today announced the formation of the ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education.

The task force is charged with looking at the cost of legal education for students, the financing of law schools, student loans and educational debt. It will also consider current practices of law schools regarding the use of merit scholarships, tuition discounting and need-based aid.

“As law school tuitions and educational debt loads increase at the same time employment opportunities for recent graduates are constrained, the ABA needs to lead a thorough examination of the financing of legal education and law schools,” Silkenat said. “Members of the ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education will conduct a comprehensive study of the complex economic and political issues involved and produce sound recommendations to inform policymakers throughout the legal community.”

Members of the task force include:

Dennis W. Archer (chair), a Detroit lawyer, Detroit mayor for two terms from 1994 to 2001 and associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court from 1986 to 1990. He was ABA president from 2003 to 2004 and is chairman emeritus of the Detroit-headquartered law firm Dickinson Wright. Archer serves on the boards of Johnson Controls and Masco Corp. He is also on the board of Progressus Therapy, a nationwide provider of school-based therapy and early intervention services for school districts and communities across the country, and InfiLaw, a consortium of independently owned and operated ABA-approved law schools.

Luke Bierman, who will become the dean of Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, N.C., on June 1 and formerly served as general counsel to the comptroller of the State of New York.

Christopher Chapman, president and CEO of Access Group, a nonprofit membership organization of 192 ABA-approved law schools that works to further access, affordability and the value of legal education through research, policy advocacy, direct member and student educational services, and student financing options.

William Curry, partner with Sullivan & Worcester in Boston who focuses on general corporate and securities law, and a member of the Albany Law School Board of Trustees.

Heather Jarvis, adviser on student loan issues ( and advocate for reducing the financial barriers to practicing public interest law.

Goodwin Liu, associate justice of the California Supreme Court and former professor at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law.

Rachel Moran, dean, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.

Lucian Pera, treasurer of the ABA and partner with Adams and Reese LLP in Memphis.

Erika Robinson, associate at Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers in Marietta, Ga., who focuses on education law. She is a former law student liaison to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Jason Mark Sengheiser, law clerk with the Missouri Court of Appeals and a member of the Missouri Bar’s Young Lawyers Section Council.

Kurt Schmoke, interim provost and chief academic officer, vice president and general counsel of Howard University and former mayor of Baltimore.

Philip Schrag, professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Joseph West, president and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

Robert Wilcox, dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional 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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.