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March 24, 2015


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Seems like the ABA Legal Ed section keeps getting more and more eager to help troubled law schools in their race to the bottom. I'm surprised that there is not more protest from the top of the law school pecking order. These are short term life preservers for drowning schools, but they threaten to swamp even more. An 'all comers with access to federal loans' approach to law school helps no one. It pumps more students into a crowded employment market who are less able to succeed. It tarnishes the status of the profession, encouraging the smart and able to stay away. It gives the public an even more cynical view of lawyers and law schools than they already have.

It's just bad, bad, bad, and no one except a very few (Thank you deb Merritt and Bill henderson) seem to even speak up about it. My goodness! It's like the faculty don't care about the future of the profession a lick. We saw the same thing in finance in 2006 and 2007. No one wanted to rock the boat. For heaven's sake, you are the keepers of the kingdom. noah feldman just wrote a mom, apple pie, and western civilization puff piece about the great things that law school does for everyone in society.

Please fix legal education. Keep high quality, try to lower cost, let a few marginal schools fail, keep standards high, train ethical and capable lawyers. You all know what needs to be done. Please do it.


Please get more professors who truly care about students and their career options, and don't look down on the real world or actual legal work.


A big chunk of the changes seem to have been written specifically to benefit Inflaw and its multi-Campus structure.

Former Editor

^^ack, I'm as skeptical as you are about recommendations from the same ABA section that installed an Infilaw trustee as the chair of the Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education, but I'm not sure I'd go that far.

Some proposals seem to benefit Infilaw, but not exclusively. The separate location proposal, for example, seems like it might also be designed to facilitate law school mergers. Others, such as the mediation clinic proposal and the 140 day rule, I can't see any real connection to Infilaw from.

Looking a little ways down the road, some of these might be intended to soften the blow to students whose school tanks or loses ABA accreditation while they are there. The 505(b) suggestion, for example, seems like it would permit a student at a school that loses its accreditation to take all of those credits with them when transferring to someplace that will let them sit for the bar after graduating.


The state bar examiners need to step up since the ABA clearly will not. Schools with 50% of their students failing the bar exam (after investing $100,000) should be shuttered. Where is it written that the ABA is the be all and end all on issues of law school accreditation? Why can't state bar examiners say, "we don't care if you are accredited by the ABA, we are not going to accredit you, and we will not let your graduates sit for the bar exam in our state"?


My read of the transfer change was exactly what FE said. It might be looking forward to failing law schools and looking out for those students.

As to getting more professors who care (Anon @10:18), yes, although critics seem to underestimate those sorts of things ... but keep in mind, law faculty don't control the ABA or the Council. They used to be in control of the accreditation committee/council, but the DOJ came in and said it was an antitrust problem. SO others were brought in to break the control of the faculty ... and THEN we got the explosion of new law schools and for profit law schools.


ATLprof, first, the DOJ didn't require law faculty and administrators to cede all control, but simply that at least 50% of the council not be from law schools. Considering the tendency for the Council to be populated by law faculty and administrators from those schools that require the strictest oversight, I don't think this was a bad idea. Hell, the ABA even violated the terms of the consent decree in terms of Council membership and was fined for it.

Also I don't there is causation here in terms of the "explosion of new law schools and for profit law schools." While the consent decree may be responsible for allowing for-profit law schools, they still make up a tiny percentage of law schools generally. The new law school explosion (which isn't really that much of an explosion) is driven by vanity (e.g., UC-Irvine) or greed, and I don't see which provisions of the consent decree would have prevented the new non-profit law schools from cropping up.


The "profit" "not for profit" distinction seems to be meaningless.

For the former, "profit" goes to investors; for the latter, "profit" is squandered by the faculty and admins, who have developed ever more title to bestow upon themselves (with concomitant pay increases), research budgets, travel budgets, expense accounts, summer stipends (for doing what is required in any event), etc.

By my reckoning the former is not tasteful, but honest. The latter is sort of despicable nest feathering, greed and in some instances graft.


anon: Anyone who confuses the decision-making processes of a for-profit and non-profit educational entity has never seen a for-profit from the inside. Its a huge difference.



We aren't speaking of decision making processes. Follow the money, Anon.

And, its source.

You insist on ignoring the main issue!

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