Law Students

ABA Task Force Calls to Fix the Flaws of the Law School System
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Several themes permeated the working paper put out by the ABA task force. Several critical themes were law school financing, and the need for greater diversity in the law school curriculum. In terms of costs, the ABA mentions that methods for financing law school have driven up the cost of tuition and student debt. According to the ABA journal, the system in place is “deeply flawed and In need of a serious re-engineering.” Clearly if the government gives out loans to students, and students don’t get a reasonable return while tuition increases, inherent problems in that kind of financial scheme become obvious. The task force asked the ABA to scrutinize law school pricing and financing issues.

Another problem addressed by the ABA Task Force was the “need for greater heterogeneity in the law school curriculum, and a clear recognition that law schools exist to teach people how to provide legal services.” Another point the task force’s paper addressed was that the current law school accreditation standards should change so that there is not only more diversity in law school curricula but also so that its easier for schools to innovate as well as adapt to the changing times.

  
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The ABA feels that the law school accreditation standards “impose more standardization of legal education than may be necessary.” There is a need for skills training and experience, and current law school education has less of a variety of those skill sets, with more emphasis on scholarly learning. They also feel that lawyer regulatory authorities should “devise new ways of licensing limited providers of legal services.” Specifically, the document also asks that state supreme courts and lawyer regulatory authorities should “reduce the educational requirements for admission and authorize people without JDs to provide limited legal services.” Adding more providers of legal services may glut the already oversaturated legal market. The 34 page document issued by the ABA task force also commented that lawyer regulatory authorities should “authorize bar admission for people whose preparation is not the traditional three year classroom mold.”

The task force calls their document a “working paper” and it is important to note that the top of it carries a disclaimer that says the paper not only is neither a final draft nor a reflection of ABA policy, but also that the document should be viewed as a “field manual for people of good faith who wish to improve the legal education as a public and private good.”

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