Hallelujah! Bring me the finest bagels and muffins from throughout the land! According to the ABA Journal, the ABA is going to take a serious look at the accreditation and review standards for law schools:
For months, the ABA’s law school accrediting body has quietly been working on a comprehensive review of its often controversial standards governing legal education….
The most significant change in the Standards for Approval of Law Schools is likely to be a move away from evaluating law schools on the basis of criteria that measure “input”–such things as faculty size, budget and physical plant. Instead, the Legal Education Section would evaluate law schools more heavily on the basis of “outcome” measures.
Outcomes? As in whether students actually learn anything from law school? Or whether they are able to get a job after law school?
The essential difference is that outcome measures would focus on what students actually take away from their educational experience at a particular law school rather than what the school teaches, and how, explained E. Christopher Johnson Jr. Johnson was one of three members of the Accreditation Standards Review Committee of the ABA’s Legal Education Section, who gave a status report on the committee’s work at a program held in Chicago on Friday during the 35th ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility….
“It is a sea change to tell law schools you should focus more on outcomes as measures,” said committee member Steven C. Bahls, the president of Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. He chairs the outcome assessment subcommittee.
Oh my God. Something good. Something good could be happening!
More details after the jump.
The mere thought that something could be done to: stop the proliferation of law schools all across the land, focus law schools on their students’ outcomes, and maybe just maybe cull come of the under performing law schools from the pack, makes me want to sing and dance.
Shifting to an emphasis on outcomes rather than input is essentially a done deal, said committee vice chair Margaret Martin Barry, a professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. In an interview with the ABA Journal this week, she explained that a special study committee, backed by the council of the Legal Education Section, urged that the change in emphasis be incorporated into the accreditation standards.
Can we climb this mountain, I don’t know
Higher now than ever before
I know we can make it if we take it slow
Let’s take it easy, Easy now, watch it go
He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman, Like you imagined
When you were young.
At least they are asking the right questions:
Speaking on Friday’s panel, Barry and her fellow committee members said the greatest challenge is to determine the best ways to measure outcome. They said bar passage rates of a law school’s graduates will likely be just one measure.
“Knowledge, skills and ethics are the key pillars to a legal education” Johnson said. “The question we’re asking is, does a traditional legal education do the best job on these?”
Make it happen, ABA. Make it happen.
Sweeping Accreditation Review May Prompt ‘Sea Change’ in Law School Evals [ABA Journal]
Earlier: More Law Schools + More Lawyers + Recession = FUBAR