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October 12, 2020

ABA collaborates with law schools on legal issues in policing, public safety

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2020 — The American Bar Association, in collaboration with dozens of U.S. law schools across the country, announced today the formation of a Legal Education Police Practices Consortium to contribute to the national effort to examine and address legal issues in policing and public safety, including conduct, oversight and the evolving nature of police work.

The consortium will leverage the ABA’s expertise in developing model police practices and that of interested ABA-accredited law schools to collaborate on projects to develop and implement better police practices throughout the United States. Fifty-two law schools so far have agreed to participate in the consortium for the next five years.

“The ABA has the ability to bring together diverse groups to address these problems and the duty to act to help bring racial equality to our criminal justice system,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. “The consortium will engage law students and legal experts from around the country in studying and forming solutions to help improve policing practices in our communities.”

Drawing on the geographic diversity of the ABA, the participating law schools and their networks, the consortium will advance the widespread adoption of model police practices and initiate other projects designed to support effective policing, promote racial equity in the criminal justice system and eliminate tactics that are racially motivated or have a disparate impact based on race.

The consortium will be organized and housed within the ABA Criminal Justice Section and will have input from and access to the full range of the ABA’s expertise and programs. Each participating law school will develop opportunities for one or more of its law students to engage in consortium activities. Law student participant assignments may include:

  • promoting existing ABA policies at the local, state and national levels;
  • developing new policy for potential consideration by the ABA House of Delegates;
  • engaging with police departments and local, state and national leaders on police practices;
  • conducting research to support scholarship related to consortium goals;
  • providing support to public commentary and advocacy (research for op-eds, blogs and articles); and
  • developing model curricula for law schools related to consortium goals. 

Andrew Perlman, dean at Suffolk University Law School in Boston and one of the law school leaders behind the creation of the consortium, explained that “law schools around the nation are looking for ways to make a positive impact on police practices. The idea behind the consortium is that we can achieve a great deal by acting collectively and in collaboration with a national leader on criminal justice issues like the American Bar Association. We look forward to working together to make a difference in our communities and nationally.”

The participating schools are:

Albany Law School; American University Washington College of Law; Brooklyn Law School; Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University; Cornell Law School; Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law; Emory University School of Law; Florida International University College of Law; Golden Gate University School of Law; Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Lewis & Clark Law School; Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law; Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center; Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; Loyola University New Orleans College of Law; Mercer University-Walter F. George School of Law;            Michigan State University College of Law; Mitchell Hamline School of Law; New York Law School; Penn State Dickinson Law; Penn State Law; Quinnipiac University School of Law; Roger Williams University School of Law; Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University; Seattle University School of Law; SMU Dedman School of Law; Southern University Law Center; Southwestern Law School; St. Mary's University School of Law; St. Thomas University School of Law; Suffolk University Law School; Syracuse University College of Law; Texas A&M University School of Law; University of Arizona; University of Baltimore School of Law; University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law; University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law; University of Miami School of Law; University of Mississippi School of Law; University of Missouri School of Law; University of Nebraska College of Law; University of Oklahoma College of Law; University of Pittsburgh School of Law; University of Richmond School of Law; University of South Carolina School of Law; University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law; Washington and Lee University School of Law; Washington University School of Law in St. Louis; Wayne State University Law School; Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School; and Western New England School of Law.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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