Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Frakt on Accreditation-by-Lawsuit

UPDATE: Here's David's update on the ongoing Cooley litigation.

Though the jury's obviously still out, the absence of an explanation from the ABA for its finding that Cooley is in full compliance with ABA standards, notwithstanding admissions and bar-pass numbers that appear to be well below those of other sanctioned schools, is worrying. David Frakt has the blow-by-blow of all the litigation at The Faculty Lounge in Admissions, Accreditation and the ABA: An Analysis of Recent Law School Lawsuits.

If David (and Joe Patrice of ATL) are right and the ABA is effectively abdicating its accreditation role because it can't afford to litigate, I think the next obvious question is: who will step into the breach? Even apart from Betsy DeVos's nonexistent understanding of (legal) education, regulation by a politicized DOE seems far from ideal.

State consumer-protection agencies or AG offices? Once it becomes clear that the ABA is out of the game, I can see the possibility of state agencies stepping in to ensure their residents aren't getting ripped off. Fifty different sets of standards by fifty different state AG offices seems a nightmare.

USDOJ? The equivalent of the DOJ regulates law schools in other countries, but there's no precedent for that in the US. Even if DOJ stepped in, it likely would write new rules from scratch.

My basic point is that though current developments may be music to the ears of predatory law schools, every other law school should be intensely worried and should be begging the ABA to step up its game, or should collectively be planning for a different system of meaningful self-regulation. The alternatives all seem far worse.

rb

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