chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
July 20, 2023

Bill Adams, ABA head of legal education, to retire in spring 2024

CHICAGO, July 20, 2023 — Bill Adams, who has served as managing director for accreditation and legal education at the American Bar Association since spring 2020, is stepping down from his position next spring.

Adams also served as deputy director for nearly six years prior to taking his current post. In his position as managing director for accreditation and legal education, he has helped steer both the 15,500-member ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its governing council, which serves as an independent arm of the ABA for accreditation of U.S. law schools.

“My appointment as managing director coincided with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, and obviously the section and the legal ed team faced many different challenges during my tenure, including the move of nearly 200 law schools to remote learning,” Adams said. “I believe that my team and I have helped the council make improvements in the legal education standards, school site inspection process and the collection and reporting of consumer information. We have also provided new opportunities for law schools, the profession and the public to provide input to the council.”

Adams has informed the council that he plans to leave in May 2024, but is flexible if a replacement has not come on board. A graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington with an A.B. in political science and a J.D., Adams also served as a law dean and law professor prior to his ABA tenure.

“Bill had an unexpected challenge called COVID at the beginning of his tenure, and he handled it with grace, competence and an informed view of accreditation,” said Leo Martinez, who heads the nine-member search committee. “Bill has been a good face for the council. He has been accessible to and a real resource for the deans. His approach was to deal with problems quickly before they became bigger problems, and he served legal education well.”

Martinez, a former law school dean and immediate past chair of the council, said he expects the committee to select a new managing director by the time Adams departs next spring.

The ABA has launched a nationwide search for Adams’ successor, which will be coordinated by the firm Isaacson, Miller. The managing director, who is based at the ABA office in Chicago, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the section and oversees a staff of 20. The person will also be responsible for managing relations with a host of other legal education organizations as well as the U.S. Department of Education, which recognizes the council as the sole accreditor of 196 U.S. law schools.

Further information on the job posting can be found here.

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.