In September of 2008, the ABA’s Council of the Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Section (Council) began a comprehensive review of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools relying on the work of the Standard’s Review Committee (SRC). On October 9th, 2009, at the last of its currently scheduled meetings, the Council’s Standards Review Committee will be considering a proposal of the Student Learning Outcomes Subcommittee . http://www.abanet.org/legaled/committees/comstandards.htm
It is worth a look at the ABA site to read the thoughtful and plentiful comments. The Council’s comprehensive review may result in significant changes in how law schools are assessed and “incentivized” (I abhor that word but if fits here). Cogent comments from Law Librarians, the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning, the AALS Clinical Section’s Clinical Skills Committee, CLEA and other individuals and organizations are listed .
On October 2nd, the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) submitted comments in response to the proposal, noting SALT’s long support of a shift in accreditation standards that would result in law schools consciously focusing on their students’ acquisition of the knowledge, skills and values needed for the practice of law. SALT particularly applauded the inclusion of essential values and the references in proposed 302(a) (3) to a “lawyer’s ethical responsibility” for the quality and availability of justice and in 305 to “law as a public profession calling for performance of pro bono legal services and public service activities.”
Notably, on page 3 of the letter, SALT focuses on experiential learning and makes mention of the “important insights” of the Carnegie Report and Best Practices that “students learn best when they are performing real life lawyering tasks.” The letter also encourages the Committee to provide clear Interpretations which encourage schools to provide multiple experiential learning opportunities which are “well-supervised” and “designed to encourage reflection”
SALT’s letter is worth a read. It is a broad-based group of diverse professors who teach both experientially and non-experientially and cannot be dismissed as representing just one group of teachers within academia. Meanwhile, we wait to see how the Standards Review Committee responds on Friday.
Filed under: Who is Using the Best Practices Book? |