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ABA Launches Commission on the Future of Legal Education
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Summary: The ABA’s new task force will investigate why bar passage rates are falling.

On Wednesday, the American Bar Association (ABA) announced that it had launched a task force to address pressing issues for new attorneys or those in law school. According to Inside Higher Ed, the group will consist of ten individuals who will address “the challenging job market for new lawyers, falling bar-exam passage rates and other pressing issues in legal education.”

  
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“The ABA is in a unique position to work with the various stakeholders, such as bar examiners, legal academics and bar leaders, interested in training future lawyers,” Patricia Bass, president of the ABA, said in a statement. “Through the Commission on the Future of Legal Education, we will enhance our leadership role in anticipating, articulating and influencing dramatic changes in the legal profession and their effect on legal education.”

The Commission on the Future of Legal Education will be chaired by Patricia White, the dean and a professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law. The other members of the task force are:

  • David Faigman, University of California Hastings College of Law chancellor and dean
  • Horacio E. Gutierrez, Spotify general counsel
  • Gillian Hadfield, University of Southern California Center for Law and Social Science director; professor of law
  • Hon. Andrew D. Hurwitz, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge
  • Deborah Jones Merritt, Ohio State University chair in law
  • Blake D. Morant, George Washington University School of Law dean
  • David Stern, Equal Justice Works executive director
  • Richard Susskind, professor in the United Kingdom; IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
  • David B. Wilkins, Harvard Law School professor, vice dean of Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession; Center on the Legal Profession director

Bass, who is also co-president of Greenberg Traurig, took over as president of the ABA this month, and she said that the newly convened commission would be one of her priorities during her one-year term.

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“We’ve created a focus group to study the future of legal education. In particular, to study why bar passage rates have fallen, as well as what skills a future lawyer will need 30, 40, 50 years from now,” Bass said to The Miami Herald. “That’s the whole purpose of the commission on legal education. To make specific recommendations on lawyers on the future —what skills they will need to develop — and to assist law schools in identifying what they will look like.”

Bass said to The Miami Herald that other goals included researching why women leave the profession and working with law firms to provide legal representation to homeless youth in shelters.



The ABA has almost 400,000 members across the country, and the organization’s mission is to improve the profession and make sure that all people have access to justice.

What do you think of the new commission? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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