Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Georgetown faculty unanimously passes resolution opposing changes to ABA law school accreditation standards

The ABA is holding an open forum next month to solicit opinions on proposals that would bring sweeping change to law school accreditation standards including eliminating tenure and other forms of job security that would most adversely affect skills profs like legal writing and clinical instructors (see here, here and here).  Today the Georgetown law school faculty voted unanimously on a resolution that opposes the contemplated changes.  Here's the text of the resolution:

Resolution of Faculty of Georgetown Law University School of Law

Regarding Proposed Changes to Existing ABA Standards Regarding Security of Position, Academic Freedom, and Attraction and Retention of Faculty

The Standards Review Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (“Committee”) has proposed substantial changes to ABA Standards 206, 405, and 603.  These changes would dramatically reduce the ABA’s longstanding commitment to a system of tenure and of security of position for law school deans, traditional faculty, clinical faculty, legal writing faculty, and librarians.  Specifically, the proposed changes would weaken or eliminate the:

(1)       Standard 206(c) mandate of tenure for law school deans;

(2)       Standard 405(b) requirement of an established tenure policy for traditional faculty;

(3)       Standard 405(c) mandate of security of position for clinical faculty members;

(4)       Standard 405(d) mandate of security of position for legal writing faculty; and

(5)       Standard 603(d) support for security of position for directors of law libraries.

The Georgetown University Law Center faculty vigorously opposes these proposed changes, on the grounds that they would:

(1)   Undermine the quality of legal education;

(2)   Undermine academic freedom in the legal academy;

(3)   Undermine faculty governance in the legal academy; and

(4)   Undermine the movement, long endorsed by Georgetown, to bring clinical law professors, legal writing professors, and library directors into full membership in the academy.


The faculty of Georgetown University Law Center opposes the proposed changes to ABA Standards 206, 405, and 603 as presently outlined in the Committee’s draft, dated January 8-9, 2011.  The faculty endorses and adopts the official comments filed in opposition to the proposed changes by AALS (Association of American Law Schools), AAUP (Association of American University Professors), SALT (Society of American Law Teachers), CLEA (Clinical Legal Education Association), and an informal group of past AALS presidents.  The faculty urges the dean to take all possible steps to resist the proposed changes and to urge other law schools to do so as well.

Good on GU!  Other faculties are invited to do likewise.


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