Friday, August 27, 2021

Summary of actions of the section’s Council at its public meeting Aug. 20, 2021

Summary of actions of the section’s Council at its public meeting Aug. 20, 2021. Excerpt:

The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar met both virtually and in-person in Chicago on Aug. 20 to consider recommendations, reports and other issues on its agenda. The Council took these actions, among others:


Approved final revisions for Standards 205, 303, 507 and 508, and will send them to the ABA
House of Delegates for concurrence at the Midyear Meeting in February 2022. All four
proposals were subject to previous Notice and Comment.

o Standard 205 addresses non-discrimination and equality of opportunity and was
expanded to include military status, ethnicity, and gender identity and expression.
The standard now covers race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual
orientation, age and disability. The change would make the standard consistent with
the ABA’s non-discrimination policy as well as some law schools in including military
status, and clarifies that a law school that is part of a university may rely on the
university’s non-discrimination policy provided the policy complies with the Standard.


o Standard 303 adds a professional identity formation requirement and a requirement
that students receive education in bias, cross-cultural competency and racism both at
the beginning of their legal studies and later during their law school careers. The
reference to “training” was changed to “education” to avoid implying a requirement to
a particular method of education. Also, Interpretation 303-8 was added to specifically
state that nothing in the Standard prescribes the type and content of the education on
bias, cross-cultural competency and racism. The final language also clarifies that the
second occasion for education can also take place as part of a law clinic or a field
placement.

o Standard 507 requires all admitted students receive information on resources related
to financial aid and student loan debt and individual student loan counseling. The
resources can be provided by the law school, the parent university or third-party
services. There were no changes to this proposal.

o Standard 508 adds information on law student well-being resources to the range of
student services that a law school is required to offer.


Under ABA procedures, the House of Delegates has two opportunities to review changes to rules
and standards and can concur, reject or make recommendations for changes. But final approval
to change
ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools rests with the
Council.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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