March 02, 2020

ABA elevates William Adams to top job at legal education section

CHICAGO, March 2, 2020 — William Adams, who served as deputy managing director of the
Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar at the American Bar Association for 5½ years, has been promoted to managing director of Accreditation and Legal Education, the section’s top job.

Adams will begin his new role April 6. He succeeds Barry Currier, who announced his summer 2020 departure last August. He has served as managing director since 2013. Currier led the section’s governing body, the Council, through a series of changes in standards that enhanced accountability of the nation’s accredited law schools through strengthening standards and providing more information to prospective law schools and the public in areas such as bar passage and employment.

Like his predecessor, Adams is an experienced legal education administrator, having served as a dean, associate dean and professor of law in prior positions during the past quarter of a century. His appointment comes after a nationwide search that considered several candidates for the job.

“On behalf of the search committee, I wish to express our complete confidence that Bill will do an outstanding job when he succeeds a hard act to follow — the act of Barry Currier,” Jeffrey Lewis, chair of the search committee and immediate past chair of the Council, said.

Adams is a 1978 graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He is past chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS)’ Section on Aging and the Law, the AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identify and the Florida Bar’s Public Interest Law Section. He is the 1994 recipient of the Dan Bradley Award, the National LGBT Bar Association’s highest award for contributions to LGBTQ equality.

“I look forward to following in the long tradition of managing directors who have ably assisted the Council in regulating legal education to assure that graduates of ABA-approved law schools are prepared to enter the practice of law,” Adams said. “I am honored to follow Barry Currier, who has performed this responsibility in a challenging time for legal education with integrity and foresight.”

Currier praised the appointment, saying Adams’ experience and expertise in legal education accreditation will serve as key plusses for the job. The section’s council, which acts as an independent arm of the ABA, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole national accreditor of U.S. law schools.

“Bill and I have had a close and constructive working relationship for many years,” Currier said. “The office, the council and legal education are in good hands going forward.” 

(Photo available upon request to bill.choyke@americanbar.org)

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