RACIAL JUSTICE

ABA, law schools form police practices consortium

October 19, 2020

Amid nationwide protests over racial injustice and calls for police reform, the ABA, in collaboration with more than 50 U.S. law schools, announced Oct. 12 the formation of a Legal Education Police Practices Consortium. The consortium will examine and address legal issues in policing and public safety, including conduct, oversight and the evolving nature of police work.

The new consortium will be based in the ABA Criminal Justice Section with access to the full range of the ABA’s expertise and programs.

The new consortium will be based in the ABA Criminal Justice Section with access to the full range of the ABA’s expertise and programs.

Getty Images / Frederic Cirou

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.”

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 based in the ABA Criminal Justice Section and will have input from and access to the full range of the ABA’s expertise and programs. Each law school will develop opportunities for its law students to participate. Law student 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 research support to public commentary and advocacy;  and
  • developing model curricula for law schools related to consortium goals. 

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