Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Dean Erwin Chemerinsky: In These Times, Innovation in Legal Education Should be Applauded: The ABA Should Grant Provisional Accreditation to UNT Dallas College of Law
"The lesson from the past several years of unprecedented struggles for many law schools is that this is a time when innovation in legal education should be encouraged.
Unfortunately, it appears that the American Bar Association is doing just the opposite in its treatment of University of North Texas (UNT) Dallas College of Law. The recommendation of the Accreditation Committee of the ABA to deny provisional accreditation to UNT raises disturbing issues concerning how important innovation is being squelched."
"The ABA should grant UNT provisional accreditation and allow it to show that its programs work and that its students can pass the bar. If UNT's law school succeeds in this regard, it should receive full accreditation. It will have demonstrated that this model for a law school is viable. Of course, it is possible that it won't work and despite all the law school does, it will have a very low bar pass rate. I then would understand the ABA denying accreditation, though there is still an argument that these students should have a chance at a legal career."
"I am very troubled by how UNT's law school is being treated. But I am even more concerned about the larger issues concerning the role of the ABA. I support the ABA accreditation process and believe that it helps protect all involved by ensuring a quality legal education from every law school. However, the ABA acts inappropriately when it stifles innovation and does not give law schools with an alternative vision the chance to show they can succeed."