Advice to the ABA

May 13th, 2013 / By

Like many other lawyers and educators, I have submitted comments to the ABA’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. As I note in my letter, the challenges facing legal education will require responses from many quarters. I tried to focus my comments on issues where the ABA could play an effective role. My six recommendations are:

1. Limit the availability of federal loans by (a) advocating for Congress or the Department of Education to modify loan rules, and (b) adopting accreditation standards that would tie accreditation to graduates’ ability to repay loans.

2. Adopt an accreditation standard that would require law schools to divide scholarship dollars equally between need-based and merit-based awards.

3. Encourage “flex-time” degree programs that would allow students to integrate work and academic study in a greater variety of ways.

4. Allow law schools to apply some pre-matriculation credits toward the JD. This would change current Interpretation 304-5 in the accreditation standards.

5. Adopt proposed Alternative C to Accreditation Standard 405, which would allow schools to protect academic freedom through mechanisms other than tenure, and would require schools to afford the same job security and status to all full-time professors.

6. Repeal Rule 5.4 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibits lawyers from forming partnerships with non-lawyers or obtaining outside investment in their practices.

I’ll offer more detail on each of these proposals in separate posts. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in my letter to the Task Force, it appears here.

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