Tuesday, July 24, 2018
The American Bar Association House of Delegates ("HOD"), the body that determines association-wide policy, will review proposals at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting to change rules and procedures affecting how the ABA accredits the nation’s 204 law schools. The HOD will also consider updates to the model rules governing lawyer-client communications.
The HOD made up of 601 delegates from state, local, and other bar associations and legal groups from across the country. It will meet at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Aug. 6-7, 2018, at the close of the Annual Meeting, which begins August 2. Altogether, about 50 proposals are on the House’s agenda. The HOD debates are open to observers and may also be available by webcast.
Proposed Changes to the ABA Standards and Procedures to Approve Law Schools
The proposed revisions to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools follows a lengthy review and comment process. The changes will modify not only rules and standards, but the way the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar – the association’s independent arm which serves as the national accreditor of law schools -- operates. Altogether, there are five legal education resolutions (111A-111E) before the House.
For law schools, the most significant proposed change affects the standard requiring a “valid and reliable test” for prospective law students. While a test, such as the LSAT, would no longer be required, language would establish that a school whose admissions policy and practices are called into question is presumptively out of compliance with the standards if it does not require a valid and reliable admissions test as part of its admission policy. In recent years, close to two dozen schools have announced they will accept the GRE in addition to the LSAT.
The Council, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole national accrediting agency for law school education, is also seeking to eliminate both its Accreditation and Standards Review committees and fold their work into the Council itself to accelerate its review of schools. Under ABA rules, the House can either concur with the recommended changes or send them back to the Council with or without a recommendation. The Council must then resend any changes back to the House for re-consideration, but the final decision rests with the Council.
Proposed Changes to the ABA Rules of Professional Responsibility
The lawyer communications proposal culminates several years of work by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and affiliated groups, which have shepherded the process for review of model rules related to advertising and lawyer communications with clients.
The standing committee is asking the House to approve amendments to the following ABA Model Rules: 7.1: Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services, 7.2: Advertising, 7.3: Solicitation of Clients, 7.4: Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization, and 7.5: Firm Names and Letterheads. Proponents contend the current web of complex, contradictory and detailed advertising rules impedes lawyers’ efforts to expand their practices and thwart clients’ interests in securing the services they need.
The key changes focus on model rule provisions related to false and misleading “communications” and solicitations by lawyers. The changes in the ABA Model Rules, which serve as recommended guidelines to state regulators, would streamline and simplify the rules and still adhere to constitutional limitations on restricting commercial speech; protect the public; and permit lawyers to use technologies to inform consumers accurately and efficiently about the availability of legal services. For instance, “office address” would be changed to “contact information” (to accommodate technological advances), and the changes add new language to the general provision against paying for recommendations to permit nominal “thank-you” gifts.
Other Proposed Changes Before the HOD
The House is also being asked to approve a major change in how the ABA collects dues from its members. Under the proposed new membership model, the current 157 price points would be streamlined into five, ranging from $75 to $425 depending on years of bar admittance. Under the plan, the change would take place in the association’s 2020 fiscal year, which begins September 1, 2019.
Other proposals before the House include:
- Resolution 103, which adopts the ABA Model Impairment Policy for Legal Employers, dated August 2018, to provide a mechanism within law firms to identify impairment and craft proper intervention, and to prevent professional standards and the quality of work for clients from being compromised by any legal employer personnel’s impairment. The resolution also urges legal employers to adopt the new model policy.
- Resolution 106A, which reaffirms the ABA’s commitment to advance the rule of law and condemns the harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, arbitrary disbarment, denial of due process, other ill-treatment and killings of judges, lawyers, other members of the legal profession and their extended families throughout the world for serving in their designated capacities.
- Resolution 114, which adopts the black letter and commentary to the ABA Ten Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees, dated August 2018, and urges governmental agencies to promulgate law and policy consistent with the guidelines, which are intended to minimize excessive penalties if an individual cannot afford to pay them.
- Resolution 118, which urges the federal government to recognize that service by persons who otherwise meet the standards for accession or retention, as applicable, in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be restricted, and transgender persons should not be discriminated against, based solely on gender identity.
- Resolution 10A, which asks states to adopt General Provisions for Regulation of Online Providers of Legal Documents to establish reasonable standards of product reliability and efficacy for online legal providers.
- Resolution 100B, which urges Louisiana and Oregon to require unanimous juries to determine guilt in felony criminal cases and reject the use of non-unanimous juries where currently allowed in felony cases.
All proposed and filed resolutions and reports can be found here. Only proposals adopted by the House constitute association policy.
(Adapted from an ABA Press Release)
Thursday, July 19, 2018
The John Marshall Law School will Merge with the University of Illinois at Chicago, Creating the First Public Law School in the City of Chicago
|UIC and John Marshall Join Forces to Create Chicago's Only Public Law School|
The board of trustees of both the University of Illinois at Chicago and The John Marshall Law School have voted to create UIC John Marshall Law School—Chicago’s first and only public law school.
"The decision to create a public law school marks a historic day for higher education in Chicago," said Michael Amiridis, UIC Chancellor. "It is also a historic day for UIC, which will fill a 50-year gap in its academic offerings as a comprehensive research university. Through our research and scholarship, we have celebrated and contributed to the rule of law for decades, and now we open the doors of our academic community to those who teach the law and those who study the law. We look forward to welcoming the John Marshall family into UIC."
UIC initiated informal discussions with The John Marshall Law School leadership in 2016. Subsequently, the parties determined that this transaction would be financially feasible without requiring any new state funds. At the closing, significant John Marshall assets will transfer to UIC and the University of Illinois Foundation. The law school's real estate in the Loop will initially be leased and then transferred within five years. UIC will bear no financial obligation for the acquisition and will fully integrate the law school into UIC after the closing.
In addition to providing current and prospective students with a more affordable legal education, UIC's acquisition of John Marshall will create opportunities for interdisciplinary courses and new joint and dual-degree programs aligned with UIC strengths in disciplines such as the health sciences, engineering and technology, urban planning and public administration, the social sciences and business. John Marshall joining UIC will also open up new possibilities for research collaborations between UIC and John Marshall faculty.
"When you combine the strengths of the John Marshall Law School and UIC, one plus one is much greater than two," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The merger of these two bright lights on Chicago's scholastic landscape will strengthen education and career opportunities for generations of Chicago students, and strengthen our city's reputation for world-class academic excellence."
The UIC John Marshall Law School will require accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and the American Bar Association's Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, and approval for a change of control from the U.S. Department of Education. A law school at UIC is also subject to review and approval by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. If the necessary approvals are obtained within the anticipated timeframe, the first entering class of the UIC John Marshall Law School is expected to matriculate in fall 2019.
"Chicago is the largest city in the U.S. without a public law school. The UIC John Marshall Law School will fill that gap while also enhancing legal services available to the people of Chicago. We are already putting plans in place to enhance the program of legal education, build innovative programs within a strong public university, and continue the law school's long-standing efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession," said John Marshall's Dean Darby Dickerson, who will stay on as dean of the UIC John Marshall Law School.
Both institutions have track records of excellence in research and scholarship, access for underserved students, and service to Chicago and its people. "Our shared commitment in these areas guarantees that the doors of UIC John Marshall Law School will continue to remain open to all aspiring law students regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds," said Paula Holderman, President of the Board of Trustees of The John Marshall Law School.
"John Marshall has a broad curriculum, an excellent faculty, and a long history of giving back to the community by providing pro bono legal services in the areas of veterans’ affairs, international human rights, fair housing, family law, landlord-tenant issues and more," said Susan Poser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UIC. "There are UIC faculty who study these same issues from the perspective of social science, public administration, and health care. We plan to harness these areas of expertise to graduate lawyers who are grounded in and understand the context in which they will practice."
Approximately 900 Juris Doctor (JD) students and 117 Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) students are currently enrolled at John Marshall. The school expects to add a fall 2018 entering JD class of approximately 280.
When the transaction closes, John Marshall students will become UIC students and will have enhanced student services, including access to health care services, recreational facilities, residence halls, and college athletics. UIC students will benefit from access to law courses and opportunities to take classes jointly taught by John Marshall and UIC faculty.
The new UIC John Marshall Law School will continue to operate at its downtown Loop location at the corners of State Street, Jackson Boulevard and S. Plymouth Court and will become the sixteenth college at UIC. The dean will report to the UIC Provost, and John Marshall staff will become UIC employees. UIC also welcomes John Marshall alumni to the UIC community.
Press release from The John Marshall Law School.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
The International Human Rights Clinic at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has won the 2017 Elmer Gertz Award from the Illinois State Bar Association. The award will be presented to the Clinic this evening at a ceremony in Chicago.
The Elmer Gertz Award recognizes long-standing, continuing, and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the protection or advancement of Human Rights. It is named for Elmer Gertz, a civil rights attorney and former adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School. He also was the plaintiff in the landmark defamation case of Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.
The Illinois State Bar Association established the Elmer Gertz Award in 2000. The award is designed to honor often-unsung heroes of the legal community who have shown a continued commitment to preserve and advance human rights. For many years, the award was jointly presented by the ISBA and the Blind Services Association.
The 2017 recipient of the award is the International Human Rights Clinic at The John Marshall Law School. Pictured here with Blog Editor Mark Wojcik is the Clinic Director, Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak, who will accept the award this evening. The clinic is e a non-profit, non-partisan legal clinic dedicated to the protection of human rights in the United States and around the world. It has advocated for human rights in international and domestic tribunals, provided resources and research on human rights, and engaged in public education and outreach on various human rights issues.
Here is a list of past recipients of the Illinois State Bar Association Gertz Award:
- 2017 - The John Marshall Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic
- 2016 - Cindy Buys, Southern Illinois University Law School
- 2015 - Mary M. McCarthy, executive director, National Immigrant Justice Center
- 2013 - Jody Raphael, DePaul University College of Law
- 2012 - Judge Martha A. Mills, Cook County Circuit Court
- 2009-20011 - Award not given
- 2008 - Prof. Doug Cassel, Notre Dame University School of Law
- 2007 - R. Eugene Pincham, Retired Justice, Illinois Appellate Court
- 2006 - Prof. Michael P. Seng, The John Marshall Law School
- 2005 - Award not given
- 2004 - Fay Clayton, Chicago
- 2003 - Prof. Victor J. Stone, University of Illinois College of Law
- 2002 - Prof. Ralph Ruebner, The John Marshall Law School
- 2001 - Gregory A. Adamski, Chicago
Photo by Karen Cross
Sunday, July 1, 2018
Sheila Slocum Hollis Finishes Three Years as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress
Sheila Slocum Hollis has finished a three-year term as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. She's pictured here with incoming Standing Committee Chair, Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, at the 2018 Burton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Writing.
Sheila Slocum Hollis is chair of the Washington, D.C. office of Duane Morris LLP, and was the office’s founding managing partner, as well as the founding practice group leader for the firm’s Energy, Environment and Resources Practice Group. She served on the firm’s Executive Committee for more than a decade and the Partners Board for 20 years. Ms. Hollis practices in the areas of energy transactional and regulatory law and international and administrative law before government agencies, Congress, state and Federal courts, and other entities. She focuses on domestic and international energy, water and environmental matters, representing governmental bodies, the power and natural gas industries, and other entities.
Established in 1932 as the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Facilities of the Law Library of Congress, with a name change in 1993 to the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, the committee serves as the voice of the legal profession concerning the Law Library of Congress (LLC). Over the years, working with Members of Congress and their staffs, the committee has obtained higher levels of funding for the LLC. In addition, collaborating with other nationally recognized professional societies, the committee facilitates efforts to increase Law Library visibility and supports the digitization of legal materials and other efforts that improve access to legal literature and resources. The committee has continued to work toward the development of the LLC as a national resource serving not only Congress but also the legal profession, universities, law schools, and the public.
Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago will become the new Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago this August. He has been a member of the Standing Committee and also previously served on the Advisory Commission to the Standing Committee.