Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
North
Posts: 4041
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:09 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby North » Wed May 08, 2013 5:10 pm

Behold, the root of the evil. Thanks, Clinton Administration. ABA rolled over and signed a consent decree. AMA didn't.



UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA wrote:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff,

v.

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

Defendant.



Civil Action No.

Filed: [6/27/95]


FINAL JUDGMENT


Plaintiff, United States of America, filed its Complaint on June 27, 1995. Plaintiff and defendant American Bar Association ("ABA"), by their attorneys, have consented to the entry of this Final Judgment without trial or adjudication of any issue of fact or law. This Final Judgment shall not be evidence or admission by any party with respect to any issue of fact or law. Therefore, before any testimony is taken, and without trial or adjudication of any issue of fact or law, and upon consent of the parties, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:

I. JURISDICTION

    This Court has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this action and of the parties consenting to this Final Judgment. The Complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted against the ABA under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1.

II. DEFINITIONS

    As used in this Final Judgment:

    (A) "ABA" means the American Bar Association and all of its components.

    (B) "Accreditation Committee" means the Accreditation Committee of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the ABA.

    (C) "Board" means the ABA Board of Governors.

    (D) "Council" means the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the ABA.

    (E) "Faculty" means all persons who teach classes (except adjunct professors), including administrators who teach, emeritus or senior faculty, visiting professors, joint-appointed faculty, clinical instructors, and instructors holding short-term appointments.

    (F) "Section" means the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

    (G) "Standards," "Interpretations" and "Rules" mean the Standards for Approval of Law Schools and Interpretations and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools and Policies of the Council of the Section and its Accreditation Committee.

III. APPLICABILITY

    This Final Judgment shall apply to the ABA and its governors, officers, employees, and full-time consultants involved in law school accreditation.

IV. PROHIBITED CONDUCT

    The ABA is enjoined and restrained from:

      (A) adopting or enforcing any Standard, Interpretation or Rule, or taking any action that has the purpose or effect of imposing requirements as to the base salary, stipends, fringe benefits, or other compensation paid law school deans, associate deans, assistant deans, faculty, library directors, librarians, or other law school employees, or in any way conditioning the accreditation of any law school on the compensation paid law school deans, associate deans, assistant deans, faculty, library directors, librarians, or other law school employees;

      (B) collecting from or disseminating to any law school data concerning compensation paid or to be paid to deans, administrators, faculty, librarians, or other employees;

      (C) using law school compensation data in connection with the accreditation or review of any law school; and

      (D) adopting or enforcing any Standard, Interpretation or Rule, or taking any action that has the purpose or effect of prohibiting a law school from:

        (1) enrolling a member of the bar or graduate of a state-accredited law school in an LL.M. program or other post-J.D. program;

        (2) offering transfer credits for any course successfully completed at a state-accredited law school, except that the ABA may require that two-thirds of the credits required for graduation must be successfully completed at an ABA-approved law school; or

        (3) being an institution organized as a for-profit entity.

V. PERMITTED CONDUCT

    Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the ABA from: (1) adopting or applying such other reasonable Standards, Interpretations or Rules, consistent with all other provisions of this Final Judgment, as are necessary to attract and retain a competent faculty; (2) investigating or reporting on whether a law school is in compliance with such Standards, Interpretations or Rules, or the cause of non-compliance; or (3) requiring that a law school take remedial action to comply with such Standards, Interpretations or Rules as a condition of obtaining or maintaining ABA approval.

VI. ADDITIONAL RELIEF

    The ABA shall:

      (A) require that all Interpretations and Rules be subjected to the same public comment and review process and approval procedures that apply to proposed Standards;

      (B) permit appeals from Accreditation Committee Action Letters to the Council;

      (C) revise the Council's membership as follows:

        (1) for a period of five years, all elections shall be subject to Board approval;

        (2) members shall serve staggered three-year terms, with a two-term limit; however, officers may serve as officers for an additional term beyond the six-year limit; and

        (3) no more than 50% of the members shall be law school deans or faculty;
      (D) revise the Accreditation Committee's membership as follows:

        (1) for a period of five years, all appointments shall be subject to Board approval;

        (2) all members shall serve staggered three-year terms, with a two-term limit; and

        (3) no more than 50% of the members shall be law school deans or faculty;

      (E) revise the Standards Review Committee's membership as follows:

        (1) for a period of five years, all appointments shall be subject to Board approval;

        (2) members shall serve one three-year term; and

        (3) no more than 50% of the members shall be law school deans or faculty;

      (F) require that no more than 40% of the members of the Nominating Committee for officers of the Section shall be law school deans or faculty;

      (G) require that each site evaluation team include, to the extent reasonably feasible, at least:

        (1) one university administrator who is not a law school dean or faculty member; and

        (2) one practicing lawyer, judge or public member;

      (H) require the Accreditation Committee after each meeting to send a written report to the Council, that may be done on a confidential basis if necessary, identifying all actions taken by it, including a list identifying all law schools on report or under review, and for each law school, identifying the areas of actual or apparent non-compliance and the length of time the law school has been on report or under review;

      (I) require the Council to send an annual report to the Board, that may be done on a confidential basis if necessary, on its accreditation activities during the preceding year, including a list identifying all law schools on report or under review, and for each law school, identifying the areas of actual or apparent non-compliance and the length of time the law school has been on report or under review;

      (J) require Council approval and Board receipt of annual and site inspection questionnaires before they are sent to law schools;

      (K) publish annually in The ABA Journal and the Section's Review of Legal Education in the United States:
        (1) all proposed Standards, Interpretations, Rules, and Policies, and the name(s) of the sponsors of each; and

        (2) the date, place, and names of the evaluators for each law school and foreign program inspected; and

      (L) hire, by October 31, 1995, an outside independent consultant who is an expert on education and accreditation and who is not a legal educator, to assist in validating all Standards and Interpretations, as required by the Department of Education, and develop a plan for validation by December 31, 1995.

VII. SPECIAL COMMISSION

    The ABA shall:

      (A) establish a Special Commission to Review the Substance and Process of the ABA's Accreditation of American Law Schools to determine whether the Standards, Interpretations, and Rules, and their enforcement governing the following subjects should be revised:
        (1) faculty teaching-hours;

        (2) leaves of absence, compensated or otherwise, for faculty and other staff;

        (3) the calculation of the faculty component of student-faculty ratios;

        (4) physical facilities;

        (5) the allocation of resources to a law school by the law school or its parent university; and

        (6) the treatment of bar preparation courses;

      (B) require that the Special Commission complete its review no later than February 29, 1996. The Special Commission shall file its report with the Board. Upon completing its review, the Board shall file its report with the Court and the United States setting out its analysis and any proposed revisions; and

      (C) allow the United States 90 days in which to review the Special Commission's report and determine whether to challenge any of the proposals. The United States may challenge any such proposal and, if the ABA chooses to defend it, the challenge will be decided by this Court applying a Rule of Reason antitrust analysis.

VIII. COMPLIANCE PROGRAM

    The ABA is ordered to maintain an antitrust compliance program which shall include designating, within 30 days of the entry of this Final Judgment, an Antitrust Compliance Officer with responsibility for accomplishing the antitrust compliance program and with the purpose of achieving compliance with this Final Judgment. The Antitrust Compliance Officer shall, on a continuing basis, supervise the review of the current and proposed activities of the ABA's law school accrediting activities to ensure that they comply with this Final Judgment. The Antitrust Compliance Officer shall be responsible for accomplishing the following activities:

      (A) reviewing the ABA's Standards, Interpretations, Rules, and practices, and identifying and recommending the elimination of any provisions or activities that violate or are inconsistent with Sections IV or VI above to the Board or to the ABA's House of Delegates within 90 days of entry of this Final Judgment;

      (B) distributing a copy of this Final Judgment within 30 days of entry to:

        (1) all members of the Board and officers of the ABA, the Section and the Law Student Division;

        (2) all members of the Council, Accreditation Committee and Standards Review Committee;

        (3) all university presidents with ABA-approved law schools, the deans of all ABA-approved law schools, the Chief Justices or Judges of the highest Courts of the States and other admitting jurisdictions, and to make a best effort to notify the deans of all state-accredited law schools; and

        (4) all persons serving on site inspection teams during the term of this Final Judgment;

      (C) causing this Final Judgment to be published in the next issue of The ABA Journal and the Student Lawyer following the entry of the Final Judgment;

      (D) providing the United States, during the term of the Final Judgment, a copy of all proposed changes to the Standards, Interpretations and Rules before they are acted on by the House of Delegates, and a copy of all Standards, Interpretations and Rules adopted by the House;

      (E) briefing annually the Section's officers, all members of the Council, Committee and Standards Review Committee, the Consultant and the Consultant's staff, and all participants at site inspectors' workshops on the meaning and requirements of this Final Judgment;

      (F) obtaining from all Section officers, all members of the Council, Accreditation Committee and Standards Review Committee, and the Consultant and the Consultant's staff an annual written certification that they: (1) have read, understand, and agree to abide by the terms of this Final Judgment; and (2) are not aware of any violation of this Final Judgment that they have not reported to the Antitrust Compliance Officer; and

      (G) obtaining from the Executive Director of the ABA, the Consultant and the Consultant's staff, an annual written certification that they have been advised and understand that their failure to comply with the Final Judgment may result in conviction for contempt of court.

IX. CERTIFICATION

    (A) Within 90 days after the entry of this Final Judgment, the ABA shall certify to the United States whether it has designated an Antitrust Compliance Officer and has distributed the Final Judgment in accordance with Section VIII above.

    (B) For 10 years after the entry of this Final Judgment, on or before its anniversary date, the Antitrust Compliance Officer shall certify annually to the Court and the United States whether the ABA has complied with the provisions of Section VIII.

    (C) At any time, if the Antitrust Compliance Officer learns of any past, current or anticipated violation of Sections IV or VI of this Final Judgment, the ABA shall, within 45 days after such knowledge is obtained, take action, or where appropriate initiate action, to terminate or modify the activity so as to comply with this Final Judgment.

X. PLAINTIFF ACCESS

    (A) To determine or secure compliance with this Final Judgment, duly authorized representatives of the United States shall, upon written request of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, and on reasonable notice to the ABA, be permitted:

      (1) access during the ABA's office hours to inspect and copy all records and documents in its possession or control relating to any matters contained in this Final Judgment; and

      (2) to interview the ABA's officers, employees, or agents, who may have counsel present, regarding such matters. The interviews shall be subject to the ABA's reasonable convenience and without restraint or interference by the ABA.

    (B) Upon the written request of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, the ABA shall submit such written reports, under oath if requested, relating to any of the matters contained in this Final Judgment as may be requested.

    (C) No information or documents obtained by the means provided in this Section X shall be divulged by the United States to any person other than a duly-authorized representative of the executive branch of the United States, except in the course of legal proceedings to which the United States is a party, or for the purpose of securing compliance with this Final Judgment, or as otherwise required by law.

XI. FURTHER ELEMENTS OF DECREE

    (A) This Final Judgment shall expire 10 years from the date of entry.

    (B) Jurisdiction is retained by this Court for the purpose of enabling either of the parties to this Final Judgment to apply to this Court at any time for further orders and directions as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out or construe this Final Judgment, to modify or terminate any of its provisions, to enforce compliance, and to punish violations of its provisions.

    (C) Entry of this Final Judgment is in the public interest.

DATE: /d/ __________________

/s/ _______________________________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

User avatar
TheBiggerMediocre
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:26 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby TheBiggerMediocre » Wed May 08, 2013 5:41 pm

Options:

1) Simply divide all law school classes sizes by 2.

2) Make it only part time and require your company to say they will transition to that job.

3) Change the tuition back to 10-20k no scholarships and no public loans.

4) Completely radical idea that somehow forces our entire military and police force to have a law degree. (this is what lobbyists are for)

5) All lawyers must be sole proprietors.

6) Change admission criteria to male only.

More to come

User avatar
JamesDean1955
Posts: 744
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby JamesDean1955 » Wed May 08, 2013 5:45 pm

TheBiggerMediocre wrote:Options:

1) Simply divide all law school classes sizes by 2.

2) Make it only part time and require your company to say they will transition to that job.

3) Change the tuition back to 10-20k no scholarships and no public loans.

4) Completely radical idea that somehow forces our entire military and police force to have a law degree. (this is what lobbyists are for)

5) All lawyers must be sole proprietors.

6) Change admission criteria to male only.

More to come


Fuck, I wouldn't even go to Yale under those circumstances alone.

ETA: And lets not hate on PrezBillyJeff.
Last edited by JamesDean1955 on Wed May 08, 2013 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TheBiggerMediocre
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:26 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby TheBiggerMediocre » Wed May 08, 2013 6:04 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:
TheBiggerMediocre wrote:Options:

1) Simply divide all law school classes sizes by 2.

2) Make it only part time and require your company to say they will transition to that job.

3) Change the tuition back to 10-20k no scholarships and no public loans.

4) Completely radical idea that somehow forces our entire military and police force to have a law degree. (this is what lobbyists are for)

5) All lawyers must be sole proprietors.

6) Change admission criteria to male only.

More to come


Fuck, I wouldn't even goal to Yale under those circumstances alone.

ETA: And lets not hate on PrezBillyJeff.


I agree its not Clinton's fault, he just democratized law school. I do however believe the LSAT cutoff should be 158. That is a score any reasonably intelligent person can attain with minimal studying. Also GPA should not matter at all since there are no required courses. The BLS says we need 7,000 lawyers per year and 4,500 Judges, Mediators, and Hearing Officers, currently we graduate 45,000, now obviously there are other jobs for law grads besides attorney, and of course we need competition so lets place the number at 20k. A 158 should accomplish that.

Are you a woman? I am not really sure about that idea but it might correct for the current gender issues in employment seeing as how females dominate healthcare which is coincidentally the largest growing U.S. market.

User avatar
JamesDean1955
Posts: 744
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby JamesDean1955 » Wed May 08, 2013 6:35 pm

No, not a woman, but what guy wants to go to an all guys law school for 3 years? Law school is douchey enough without subtracting women from the equation :lol:

User avatar
TheBiggerMediocre
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:26 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby TheBiggerMediocre » Wed May 08, 2013 6:38 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:No, not a woman, but what guy wants to go to an all guys law school for 3 years? Law school is douchey enough without subtracting women from the equation :lol:


There will still be lots of college girls around. I tend to do worse on exams when studying with women. :?

User avatar
star fox
Posts: 13680
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:13 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby star fox » Wed May 08, 2013 7:34 pm

There's 202 ABA Accredited Law Schools. Data suggests that even if things get better there will still be 2 law grads for every 1 legal job that opens up. So how about we limit the number of Law Schools to 1 public school per state (since all states need at least some lawyers) + the 50 best remaining (private or public) schools (figure out some criteria for this.. LSAT/GPA.. Employment.. Whatever, don't care). Now there's only 100 Law Schools and a greater symmetry between need for lawyers and the amount of law grads being produced. If you are incapable of getting accepted into one of these 100 Law Schools then you don't get to be a lawyer, which isn't too different than it is right now, except you just don't go into a life-ruining amount of debt.

Would never happen because everyone sucks but man would it be nice.

User avatar
North
Posts: 4041
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:09 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby North » Wed May 08, 2013 7:42 pm

Anybody send something in yet?

User avatar
Winston1984
Posts: 1789
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:02 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Winston1984 » Wed May 08, 2013 9:02 pm

john7234797 wrote:There's 202 ABA Accredited Law Schools. Data suggests that even if things get better there will still be 2 law grads for every 1 legal job that opens up. So how about we limit the number of Law Schools to 1 public school per state (since all states need at least some lawyers) + the 50 best remaining (private or public) schools (figure out some criteria for this.. LSAT/GPA.. Employment.. Whatever, don't care). Now there's only 100 Law Schools and a greater symmetry between need for lawyers and the amount of law grads being produced. If you are incapable of getting accepted into one of these 100 Law Schools then you don't get to be a lawyer, which isn't too different than it is right now, except you just don't go into a life-ruining amount of debt.

Would never happen because everyone sucks but man would it be nice.


Some states need more than one public law school. Especially large states like CA, TX, and NY. The ranking part would be too complicated and unfair. But I do love the idea of 100 law schools!

eric922
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby eric922 » Wed May 08, 2013 9:06 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
john7234797 wrote:There's 202 ABA Accredited Law Schools. Data suggests that even if things get better there will still be 2 law grads for every 1 legal job that opens up. So how about we limit the number of Law Schools to 1 public school per state (since all states need at least some lawyers) + the 50 best remaining (private or public) schools (figure out some criteria for this.. LSAT/GPA.. Employment.. Whatever, don't care). Now there's only 100 Law Schools and a greater symmetry between need for lawyers and the amount of law grads being produced. If you are incapable of getting accepted into one of these 100 Law Schools then you don't get to be a lawyer, which isn't too different than it is right now, except you just don't go into a life-ruining amount of debt.

Would never happen because everyone sucks but man would it be nice.


Some states need more than one public law school. Especially large states like CA, TX, and NY. The ranking part would be too complicated and unfair. But I do love the idea of 100 law schools!

True, but two of those states have some really good private schools. NY has Cornell and NYU. CA has Stanford. But I see your point, especially regarding rankings. What would the criteria for the top 50 be? Employment stats? If so, should we give more points to schools that place primarily into biglaw? It would be hard to sort out fairly.

User avatar
star fox
Posts: 13680
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:13 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby star fox » Wed May 08, 2013 9:10 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
john7234797 wrote:There's 202 ABA Accredited Law Schools. Data suggests that even if things get better there will still be 2 law grads for every 1 legal job that opens up. So how about we limit the number of Law Schools to 1 public school per state (since all states need at least some lawyers) + the 50 best remaining (private or public) schools (figure out some criteria for this.. LSAT/GPA.. Employment.. Whatever, don't care). Now there's only 100 Law Schools and a greater symmetry between need for lawyers and the amount of law grads being produced. If you are incapable of getting accepted into one of these 100 Law Schools then you don't get to be a lawyer, which isn't too different than it is right now, except you just don't go into a life-ruining amount of debt.

Would never happen because everyone sucks but man would it be nice.


Some states need more than one public law school. Especially large states like CA, TX, and NY. The ranking part would be too complicated and unfair. But I do love the idea of 100 law schools!


Meh, true but I wouldn't be too worried about a lack of law schools in those states. CA would have UC-Berkeley to fill the state flagship criteria but Stanford, USC, UCLA would all easily fit into the second and maybe some more too. NY easily too with NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham.. I dunno about Texas. There's UT, SMU.. maybe they'd need a few more I dunno. Maybe you could combine a couple smaller states if the numbers would make more sense that way.. It's all hypothetical bullshit anyways so whatever.

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Wed May 08, 2013 10:29 pm

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
justonemoregame
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby justonemoregame » Wed May 08, 2013 10:43 pm

Accredit every school that wants it. Let them charge whatever the crazy fuck they think people will pay. Let them pay faculty whatever the hell they want. Let them transfer credits to and from each other however they please. Let them offer every worthless LLM with a quasi-purposeful sounding name. Let them spam prospective students about their innovative experiential learning environments and cabinet full of trial advocacy championship trophies.

But require either A) a minimum LSAT score or B) a composite minimum LSAT/GPA combo.

User avatar
Crowing
Posts: 2636
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Crowing » Wed May 08, 2013 10:48 pm

Running with that ideology, we also need to distinguish between idealistic and realistic as far as tangible solutions to this issue.

Idealistic, but not realistic, at least for the foreseeable future: close all the shitty schools, cut class sizes in half, drastically lower tuition

It has to be a gradual process, but also should be a process that starts now. Some ideas include freezing tuition, setting a limit on professor salaries (grandfather some of these fucking boomers if must), denying accreditation to any new schools like the Space Coast School of Law, cutting class sizes by 10%, etc.

I would love to see an LSAT floor; maybe it could start at like 140 and work up a point every year until like 160.

Broader solutions like changing the legal profession itself, the purpose of a legal degree, or the student loan system are also worth discussing imo.

User avatar
nickb285
Posts: 1500
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby nickb285 » Wed May 08, 2013 11:04 pm

Sent in my comment; it got away from me and became tl;dr pretty quickly but it's below if you're interested. For the record, the comments page is now requesting that comments be sent to futurelegaled@americanbar.org

Hello Mr. Garwin,

My name is nickb285. This fall, I will be attending law school at [school]. Although I am excited to begin my legal education, I nevertheless approach the beginning of the semester with some trepidation. [school] boasts an excellent program, ranked in the first tier of the US News & World Report, with a full century of history, yet a significant number of graduates in recent years have failed to find a job in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar passage. Some have failed to secure any job at all. If this were a handful of students, or even a handful of schools, the situation could be dismissed as laziness or poor administration in those instances. Unfortunately this is not the case. Nearly half of the 201 ABA-approved law schools place less than 50 percent of their graduates in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar passage within nine months of graduating. Put another way, nearly half of the people who go to law school, all of whom presumably dream of practicing law, are unable to do so, despite spending three years of their lives and in many cases hundreds of thousands of dollars in often borrowed money following that dream.

The problem, in its most basic terms, is that there are too many students, at too many schools, paying too much money, in pursuit of too few jobs. Some law schools continue to churn out hundreds of graduates every year, after charging many if not most of them with six figures worth of tuition and fees, despite a market saturation unlike any previously seen in the legal profession. At best, these practices indicate willful blindness and unfounded optimism regarding the state of the job market; at worst, they indicate the deliberate exploitation of naïve potential students whose outdated assumptions about legal work make them willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing what they believe to be a prestigious, lucrative, and all but guaranteed career. Though some schools are following a more responsible course of action—being open and transparent about job placement statistics, cutting class sizes, and shifting renewed focus and resources to career services—many seem interested only in ensuring that poorly informed young people continue to spend their guaranteed loan money on high-priced tuition.

The American Bar Association is the only organization, with the possible exception of the United States Congress, with the power to do something about this situation. Unfortunately, the ABA allows schools to remain accredited with seemingly no concern for the ability of those schools to put their graduates in a good position to find jobs as attorneys. Over the past 25 years, the ABA has given accreditation to 30 new law schools. According to the website Law School Transparency, which compiles employment data from all ABA-accredited schools, only four of these schools currently place over 50% of their graduates into long-term, full-time jobs requiring bar passage. Only one, the provisionally approved University of California-Irvine, places more than 75% of their graduates into these jobs, and it remains to be seen whether Irvine's job placement will be sustainable in years to come.

Yet no punishment has come for even the worst offenders. For instance, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law was accredited in 1996, and last year accepted an entering class of 338 full time students. Each of these graduates is charged tuition of $42,000 per year, minus any merit aid, leading to an average indebtedness upon graduation of just over $150,000 per student. This debt means that in order to pay back their loans in a decade, students must be able to pay around $1,750 per month, or around $21,000 per year, after taxes. Unfortunately, graduates of this school have less than a one in four chance of being able to find a job as an attorney upon graduating, and those who do are often unable to find employment that allows them to service their debt. Yet the ABA continues to allow this school, and others like it, to sell themselves as “ABA Accredited Institutions.” This, combined with the school's tendency to focus on positive aspects like its location in San Diego or its new campus, makes TJSL seem like a good choice to those who may not have done a significant amount of research. After all, prospective students reason, if it weren't a good law school, how could it be ABA accredited?

Admittedly, few schools are as bad as Thomas Jefferson, but many engage in the same misleading practices. The best way to put a stop to this is for the American Bar Association to demand that accredited institutions earn that title. Prospective students should be able to see that a school is accredited by the ABA and know that their tuition money will give them a reasonable chance at being able to find employment in their chosen field. Whether this is done by mandating class sizes, requiring that schools maintain a certain percentage of graduates employed in the legal profession, or simply removing accreditation from those schools that do not deserve it, is up to you. But the ABA can no longer stand idly by, accrediting more and more new schools to churn out more and more unemployed graduates in a field that grows more and more oversaturated every single year. You have a responsibility—to future law students, to legitimate schools, to practicing attorneys, and to the profession as a whole—to put an end to the status quo.

Thank you for your time, and I wish the Task Force the best of luck.

Sincerely,
nickb285

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Wed May 08, 2013 11:06 pm

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Wed May 08, 2013 11:09 pm

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jrsbaseball5
Posts: 290
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Tell the ABA to make accreditation harder and close TTTTs

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Wed May 08, 2013 11:22 pm

North wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:I think it would be interesting to see law schools move towards the model of medical schools. Medical schools have such high standards, which means everyone cannot become a doctor. Imagine if all law schools had a LSAT median of at least 160. This would be a great step in the right direction.

This is my dream.

Exceptions for public state flagships only.


Just wanted to add my support to this idea expressed by quite a few of you on here. It may sound elitist, but if you aren't able to clear certain minimal standards you probably shouldn't be an attorney.

User avatar
Tekrul
Posts: 493
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:17 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Tekrul » Wed May 08, 2013 11:24 pm

Freezing/lowering tuition keeps cropping up as an idea. My post regarding how the economics of that move is on the bottom of page 1. It got no visibility as we've moved on the page 2, but if you send in proposals to Mr. Garwin, please read it first before choosing to include a section on tuition. It is absolutely the wrong way to go.

User avatar
jenesaislaw
Posts: 996
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 6:35 pm

Re: Tell the ABA to make accreditation harder and close TTTTs

Postby jenesaislaw » Wed May 08, 2013 11:37 pm

North wrote:
BlueDiamond wrote:I think we definitely need a large group of people to send in comments. My only issue at the moment is that there are so many problems that I have no idea where to start. I feel like just writing "Please refer to Law School Transparency, any blogs or books written by Paul Campos, and the legal employment thread on top-law-schools. Thanks."

Just his a couple points that are most important to you. Hate that TTT's mislead students to get them to enroll? Write about that. Think accreditation should be tied to employment numbers? Write about that.

I was actually a little disappointed with LST's letter. Dude could have suggested so much more.


Go on. I can send another if you convince me.

User avatar
Crowing
Posts: 2636
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Crowing » Wed May 08, 2013 11:43 pm

Tekrul wrote:Freezing/lowering tuition keeps cropping up as an idea. My post regarding how the economics of that move is on the bottom of page 1. It got no visibility as we've moved on the page 2, but if you send in proposals to Mr. Garwin, please read it first before choosing to include a section on tuition. It is absolutely the wrong way to go.


Your argument provides reasoning for why a tuition drop is not a solution on it's own, but I see no reason why it can't be used alongside other methods. If the ABA refuses to grant accreditation to more law schools and limits the class sizes of current schools, then I see no reason why a rise in applicants would be an issue.

Higher tuition is also not the reason why schools like HYS are more prestigious. You know what school has the highest tuition? Hint: It's in the UC system, and isn't one of the prestigious UCs. The top schools are the top because of decades of tradition and humongous endowments. Lowering tuition isn't going to devalue a Yale Law degree.

User avatar
justonemoregame
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby justonemoregame » Wed May 08, 2013 11:46 pm

This focus on “shortcomings in the delivery of legal education” is bullshit. There are no problems with the delivery other than the fact that it’s delivered to everybody who signs up for the LSAT. Your legal education will be delivered to you by you via your nose in a book. Eventually we’ll be able to take the LSAT online, maybe as part of a group project, and enroll in our online JD week after, before setting sail on our transnational classroom over winter break to learn about globo-international monetary exchange law in St. Croix. Or at least learn about how our tuition dollars were transferred there.

Campos has already pointed this out, but the people involved in this task force would have us believe that jobs are created through their brainstorming. I mean, if only law schools could just double their clinical offerings, firms and governments might find a way to justify a bigger budget for employee salary. It’s never going to work that way.

Proposals that do not encourage A) cutting enrollment or B) directly employing your students are completely off the mark in my opinion. Stop talking about the expansion of clinics. Stop talking about your business law program. Start talking about A) real admission standards which promote decreased enrollment or B) ASU’s Alumni Law Group – basically a law firm founded by the law school itself which plans to hire about 10 recent grads per year.

Every public state flagship school should start a law firm. They have the resources, and we’ve been reminded countless times about the unmet legal needs of millions of Americans that we are too naive or stupid to tap into. So why don’t law schools do it? They have a fresh crop of students they brag about in adverts which they could choose from to work for the firm – moot court extraordinaires, students who have benefited from innovative experiential learning opportunities. I hope law schools haven’t been lying to us when they say these kids are practice-ready out of the gate. Sounds like you could just hire these brilliants to work full-time for $35-40K churning paperwork, satisfying all those unmet needs.

I have a feeling this task force will turn into academic circle jerk about how to Dead Poet Society our way out of the problem by teaching things differently. Completely ignores the fact that no alternative 3L curriculum will A) create a job or B) save someone from having to find one that doesn't exist.

User avatar
jenesaislaw
Posts: 996
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 6:35 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby jenesaislaw » Wed May 08, 2013 11:51 pm

Here's the PDF of my letter on behalf of LST. Feel free to send it to the ABA, that tactic is effective.

Comments for the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education
February 2013

Law schools have become the butt of a new series of lawyer jokes. No longer is it a secret that law schools enroll too many students, fail to adequately prepare people for law practice, and cost too much. Prospective law students—especially the brightest among them—have sprinted away from law school, which in the long run jeopardizes the profession’s ability to serve its important role in society. Failure to fix this crisis quickly risks serious, long-term effects on the credibility of the everyday, important work done by lawyers. In our opinion, that’s something our country cannot afford.

In this comment, Law School Transparency (LST) suggests two action items for the Task Force that will help strengthen the gateway to our profession.

• Identify the accreditation standards that are necessary to a sound legal education.
• Take a strong, public position advocating for drastic changes to the student loan program as applied to law schools.


Together, these action items can help bring sanity to the law school market while sparking and facilitating innovation at law schools. Our goal is a system that provides fair and effective entry into the legal industry, ensures the future quality of service to clients, and maintains the legal profession’s important role in society, keeping in mind that each of these ends is impacted by the cost of legal education. The challenges are numerous, but long-term solutions justify short-term pain. Ultimately, we hope to see law schools and the legal profession come out from this crisis stronger than ever.

Identify the accreditation standards that are necessary to a sound legal education.

When looking at the accreditation standards and law school prices, a common question is whether to blame the accreditation standards for the tuition growth over the last 30 years. The answer is probably no. The standards may have contributed to keeping novel law school models at bay, but whether these hypothetical schools would have competed is speculative at best. Rather, escalating costs have been caused by competition between schools, the unchecked expansion of federal loan programs, a widely exploited information asymmetry about graduate employment outcomes, and a lack of financial discipline masquerading as innovation.

Parsing blame, while an interesting academic exercise for some and a conscience-clearing exercise for others, misses the point. Law schools cost too much right now. Law schools need to evolve, innovate, and reduce prices right now. Can they?

There are many kinds of barriers to creating change in legal education, from requisite attitudinal shifts to long-term contracts. The ABA Standards should not be a barrier for reforms that are in the interest of the legal profession. Are they?

The Task Force should adopt an operating principle for analyzing whether the current accreditation standards make sense. The principle we suggest is that the accreditation standards should contain only those rules necessary for ensuring a sound legal education. This principle is not foreign: the preamble to the ABA Standards indicates that the standards are “minimum requirements designed, developed, and implemented for the purpose of advancing the basic goal of providing a sound program of legal education.” However, as the Standards currently exist, they do not guarantee a minimum quality of education, but instead promulgate a model law school. While there are merits to this model, it should not be mandated through the accrediting standards.

By slashing through the standards with this operating principle in mind, and then convincing the Section of Legal Education to adopt total reform, schools (new and old) will be able to innovate to better deliver legal education at a more affordable price. For example, is a student-faculty ratio that weights teaching resources by the employment status of professors (Standard 402) necessary, as opposed to calculating the ratio with credits taught? Or is utilizing any student-faculty ratio for accreditation purposes necessary at all? The same questions must also be asked about the 24-month minimum course of study, 58,000 minutes of instruction minimum, physical library requirements, and full-time faculty scholarly expectations.

Of course, analyzing whether something is necessary for a sound legal education requires defining “sound legal education.” Interestingly, the ABA Standards do not define this term or even signal what it means. A prerequisite for innovation and cost reform is the Task Force clearly identifying the outcomes law schools need to produce, and developing rules necessary for reaching those goals.

Take a strong, public position advocating for drastic changes to the student loan program as applied to law schools.

The federal government lends as much money to students as schools say it costs to attend. With this power, law schools have exercised little fiscal restraint and increased tuition well above the rate of inflation. After all, the money has been there to lend and the students were in tow to borrow. Now, law schools face decreased demand due to better insight into job prospects and still-increasing sticker prices—prospective law students appear to be collectively more price sensitive than ever before.

At some schools, the average amount paid by students has decreased, at least in the short term, but not nearly enough. Even at these schools, the students who are least likely to succeed after graduation are subsidizing the students who are most likely to succeed using student loans they are unlikely to fully service. The sticker tuition price point exploits both students and lending structures, which has a sad consequence of encouraging unethical behavior among debt-laden professionals.

The current model of unlimited lending to law students will not hold up. In 2013, the Higher Education Act of 1965 is up for reauthorization and Congress will decide whether this policy of unchecked lending makes sense in light of higher education economics. Limiting lending to students and increasing the financial accountability of educational institutions are important steps towards affordable legal education.

The Task Force must take a strong, public position on the availability of student loans to law students. It should articulate that law schools have failed to exercise fiscal restraint and that law schools do not deserve blank checks from the federal government without regard to the student’s ability to repay the debt. The high debt loads of recent graduates are an ethical issue, both in terms of the relationships between schools and their students, and in terms of how that debt can undermine the ethical provision of services to clients. Moreover, the Task Force should articulate that the cost of legal education is unlikely to be affordable if the current lending system remains in place. Recognizing and affirming the need to change the lending system is an important first step, and we expect this issue to move quickly.


Conclusion

We believe that reforming the accreditation standards to allow for innovative law school models and putting an end to the unrestrained flow of debt-financed tuition dollars to law schools will work in tandem to allow and cause schools to provide an education where both quality and the costs of that quality are given appropriate consideration.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit these comments. The crisis in confidence that law schools face poses a serious problem for the legal profession. We are pleased that the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility has endeavored to address this problem. Law School Transparency is available to discuss these action items and help in any other way we can.

Sincerely,

Kyle McEntee
Executive Director
kyle@lawschooltransparency.com

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby timbs4339 » Thu May 09, 2013 1:06 am

Not to be a downer, but the problem with the LSAT floor (other than the huge hit in revenue most school are going to take) is going to be the disparities between the average scores of URMs and ORMs. It's going to open reformers up to a cry of "racist," as if it's doing some kid (of any race) any good to take on 150K of debt at 7.9% to go to Cooley or TJSL. It's the same crap that happens when the state bars try to raise the minimum passing score.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Thu May 09, 2013 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Tell the ABA to make accreditation harder and close TTTTs

Postby timbs4339 » Thu May 09, 2013 1:08 am

justonemoregame wrote:Somebody tell Lila C. Milford to shut her yapper. And come back in two years and ask how her classmates are managing their loan debt.

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/taskforcecomments/201305_lila_milford_comment.authcheckdam.pdf


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quisling

or perhaps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Christinabruin, tasha88 and 4 guests