November 27, 2023
This won't have any benefits for legal education (and certainly won't make it more "practical"), although it will be a windfall for those who teach in these areas. There may be schools whose student body and local legal markets mean that it would make sense for them to require more "experiential" courses and clinics; but not all schools are the same, and there is no justification for imposing this on all American law schools. Yet another reason the ABA should be stripped of its regulatory authority.
November 20, 2023
The letter is here, and is still accepting signatures. I quite agree that it is outrageous the extent to which private employers (and even some universities) are willing to sanction lawful political speech by students, and am sympathetic to the ultimate recommendations (but less sympathetic to other parts of the letter). But law professor readers should take a look and decide for themselves.
November 03, 2023
...and asking them to do what exactly? I'm not really sure. Many of the disturbing campus incidents (e.g., at Cornell) do not involve the law school; at others (e.g., Berkeley), the First Amendment protects most of this speech, so there is nothing for the law school to do. Harvard and NYU both had law students involved in notorious incidents. In the latter case, the student expressed a lawful but offensive opinion, and she has already lost a job offer; in the former case, the student may be criminally liable for assault and battery. Most of the top law schools have not had any anti-semitic or racist incidents. If the point of the letter is to signal to students that the private market will punish them for otherwise lawful speech that is offensive or expresses incorrect views, then it certainly does that. All these law schools were already under a legal obligation to provide a learning environment free of unlawful discrimination, and as far as I can see, they are all fully committed to that.
One interesting thing about the letter is that many of the firms now concerned about anti-semitism were firms that would not hire or promote Jews to partnership only fifty or sixty years ago. Times do change, and sometimes for the better!
October 16, 2023
May 02, 2023
Purdue has been runnning "Concord Law School" online in Indiana since 2017, and wants to avoid ABA oversight (UPDATED)
A concerned Indiana law professor writes:
Purdue's [Concord] law school enrolled 798 students last year.
These facts are not mentioned in the Indiana Supreme Court's proposed rule change to exempt Purdue from ABA oversight, nor the working group report behind it.
If the exemption passes, Purdue will be free to advertise itself as "Indiana approved," with no obligation to continue disclosing its lackluster attrition bar passage and attrition rates.
Locals expect the court to approve the exception as a favor to Purdue, whose outgoing President, Mitch Daniels, appointed Chief Justice Loretta Rush in his prior role as Governor.
There is no public outcry in Indiana, where the legislature is busy debating transgender policy and criminal penalties for librarians who distribute banned books. Indiana University's general counsel has discouraged its faculty from engaging in "activism."
UPDATE (MAY 4): A colleague elsewhere (not Indiana) writes:
The Concord bar exam pass rate document linked to is only for the California Bar Exam. 8 students passed in 2022 as first-time takers, but it was not out of 798 as the Indiana law professor implies, but out of 17 sitting for the exam for the first time. That’s a 47% passage rate. That’s dismal, but on par with Elon and Cooley, and better than a few ABA accredited schools.
The real issue is that only 17 students took the California bar. Perhaps others took the bar in other jurisdictions, but that generally requires an ABA-accredited JD. And yet Concord only seems to graduate 25-40 students per year. Most of the students who matriculate never make it to graduation—the attrition is crazy high: In 2021 there were 535 1Ls. In 2022 there were 122 2Ls. That’s 78% attrition after 1L year. Where did the other 413 former 1Ls go?
April 10, 2023
April 03, 2023
March 15, 2023
That's the story according to this journalist (with a somewhat selective interest in free speech matters in my experience). I'd be curious to hear from those at Stanford, faculty or students, whether this is accurate. Please use a valid email address, which will not appear. (Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.)
February 27, 2023
The association is considering dropping that requirement, and letting each law school decide for itself whether tests are necessary.
Opponents and supporters of the change both make arguments on behalf of diversity — a sensitive subject in the field of law, which is disproportionately white. The arguments echo other debates over standardized testing at all levels of higher education, a practice that some see as an equalizer and others see as a barrier.
What's odd, of course, is that more attention is not being given to the question whether the LSAT is a useful predictive tool, regardless of its effects on "diversity."