Wednesday, December 5, 2012
For those who aren't aware, this spring the New York Court of Appeals came out with a series of regulations regarding which law school graduates will be eligible to sit for the NY bar. Because the overwhelming majority of law schools care deeply about insuring that their grads can at least theoretically sit for the New York bar - even if relatively few students ultimately do so - New York regulations are powerful. Admittedly, law school advisors can help students seeking New York admission to navigate these rules - even if they diverge from the rules applicable to all other students at a given law school. But for many institutions, it may simply be easier to build universal policies that comply with New York. I discussed this issue in the context of attacks on the ABA as a regulator here.
Four particularly important rules diverge from the ABA Accreditation Standards:
1. Schools may count no more than 30 credits of clinic - even in-house clinic taught by full-time faculty - toward the 83 credits required for graduation. The ABA has a minimum number of "in-class" credits - but in-house clinics are treated as "in-class" for ABA purposes. New York is putting a hard cap on clinical experiences that does not exist under ABA rules.
2. Schools must require every student to take a two credit Professional Responsibility stand-alone course. The ABA, at least in principle, allows law schools to meet its PR requirement by integrating ethics into substantive law courses.
3. Students may not count any asynchronous distance learning courses toward NY graduation requirements. This is essentially a ban on most online courses.
4. Students have 60 months - rather than 84 months - to complete their degree.