Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), come on down! Okay, I’m sure Senator Coburn wouldn’t put it this way, but you can count him as the latest Senate member who has joined the fight for something that the Occupy Wall Street people should really care about. He wants there to be more transparency when it comes to American law schools.
First, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) led the charge to try to get law schools to engage in some basic honesty when telling prospective students about the value of a law degree. Then Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) added his voice. That was important, as Grassley is the Republican leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And now Coburn, another Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is joining in.
Democrats, Republicans, men, women, when will the ABA figure out that there will be broad support for law schools that are required to tell the truth about their graduate outcomes?
In mid-July, we wrote about Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his quest to get answers from the American Bar Association about the future of legal education in this country. Grassley’s inquiry came on the heels of a similar request from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Steven Zack of the ABA responded quickly, making sure to pass a great deal of the blame off on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
Grassley was apparently unimpressed with the response he received from the ABA, so last week he fired back with a shorter (and snarkier) list of questions.
Recall that Zack’s last response to Grassley touted that “no one could be more focused on the future of our next generation of lawyers than the ABA.” Will those be Zack’s famous last words in this debate?
When Republicans start asking an organization to make more use of its regulatory authority, you know that organization has grossly failed its mandate.
We’ve documented the pressure Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has been putting on the ABA. Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) decided to join the party. He also wrote a letter to the ABA asking it to “account for its work on behalf of both law students and taxpayers.”
Grassley’s on the Senate Judiciary committee. I bet the ABA will want to stay on his good side….
I’m telling you, the tide is turning against the American Bar Association and the weakness the organization shows when it comes to regulating law schools. People are starting to figure out that major American law schools purposely mislead prospective students about post-graduate outcomes. People are starting to figure out that the ABA hasn’t done enough to stop this practice. And people are starting to try to hold the ABA accountable for its failure to hold law schools accountable.
It’s not just former and current law students who are demanding changes. Right now the ABA is dealing with a U.S. senator who wants action from the organization.
That’s right, Senator Barbara Boxer is once again urging the ABA to do its job….
Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer called out the American Bar Association and asked the ABA to require law schools to provide accurate post-graduate employment and salary information about their former students. And so now the movement to get law schools to engage in some basic transparency about the value of a legal education just got some political muscle.
What a day.
And the ABA should heed this warning. Those who are ruined in part due to the misleading information spewed out by American law schools are generally a powerless bunch; the ABA can ignore their cries with impunity. But you ignore U.S. senators at your peril. If you want to turn a blind eye to the senior legislative chamber, you best be a President eager to engage in military action. Heck, with the political muscle of a U.S. senator behind it, maybe the mainstream press will start noticing that America’s future lawyers are lied to by legal educators on a daily basis.
You can read the full press release below (which has been blasted out to a number of publications). Law schools, the time for honoring yourselves is almost at an end….
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