June 8, 2005
What You Need to Know About the ABA Standards Fight
CLEA President Alex Scherr has prepared this primer on the fight over proposed changes to Chapter Four of the A.B.A. Standards for Approval of Law Schools.
The A.B.A.'s Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the (the "Council") is now considering revisions to the standards that govern the certification of law schools. Last fall, the Council referred two proposals to a sub-committee (the "Standards Review Committee") relating to clinician participation in governance and clinician security of position. The proposals did not change the underlying standard, which requires both security and governance rights that are "reasonably similar" to those enjoyed by full-time, tenure-track faculty.
The proposals would change the formal interpretations of this standard, in two ways:
- one change would state that schools that provide five year renewable contracts to clinicians would have satisfied the standard requiring a form of security "reasonably similar to tenure." This formalizes and extends a previously unstated rule that three year renewable contracts satisfy the requirement. NOTE: under this proposal, the five year contracts would be renewable, but not presumptively renewable. This distinguishes them both from tenure and from contracts that are renewable except for good cause.
- the other change would require schools to accord clinical faculty full participation in governance, allowing them to vote at faculty meetings to the same extent as other full-time faculty. Instead of the former language requiring "an opportunity to participate", the proposal requires "participation". The proposal also specified that "participation" must extend to "faculty meetings, committees, and other aspects of . . . law school governance". NOTE: as initially published by the Council, this change left an implication that schools might not be required to permit clinicians to vote on personnel matters.
For more information or to get involved, e-mail Alex Scherr or other members of CLEA's A.B.A. Relations Committee. They are Margaret Barry, Jon Dubin, Peter Joy, Susan Kay, Gary Palm, Michael Pinard, Jay Pottenger, and Paula Williams.
June 8, 2005 | Permalink
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