ABA again wades into the fraught issue of accrediting overseas law schools

, The National Law Journal


The third time may well be the charm this week as the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar debates whether to begin accrediting foreign law schools.

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What's being said

  • Dr. Mathias Alfred Jaren

    You must be kidding. This accreditation charade falls on its own sword. Where 33% of all ABA Law school graduates annually fail State bar exams, how does this obvious fact, coupled with the millions of dollars annually spent on post JD bar prep courses square with the ABA pretention that their accreditation work benefits anyone? The accreditation result appears to annually wreak havoc on thousands of law school graduates, out of money, no job, three years of lost earnings, deep in debt, looking for some bar prep magician to save their careers. How does the ABA accreditation process help these students? At a 67% bar exam pass rate you’re getting pretty close to coin toss and random error in measuring achievement for law school grads. Take note, what number in that pass rate is a result of post JD bar prep and unrelated to any legal education practices? What academic program anywhere could open its doors a second year where 33% of its students consistently failed their comprehensive exams? The Federal Government refuses financial aid to such schools. It’s a clear misalignment of policy and a complete failure in educational practice. The ABA’s power to regulate is void of any demonstrated ability to genuinely create meaningful legal education outcomes . The cleverly construed benign neglect of “ state power” delegated to “ state bar associations” to admit new law grads is where the system crashes. Clearly a severe inability to create, manage or deliver sound legal education pedagogical practices, coupled with States retaining the right to limit entry to the profession with examinations unrelated to the majority of skills and analysis taught in law schools has for years caused untold grief and the loss of many millions of dollars to thousands of law students who deserve something better. Accreditation means you have created something of reliability and value. Validation means you can demonstrate reliable relationships between course materials and examinations and the legal work and skill abilities they are intimated to represent. If you teach people to be members of the legal profession , teach and examine them on the skills and abilities clearly validated to be essential to their work. The ABA many years ago petitioned State Courts to rely on their accreditation decisions in connection with their bar admission decisions. That petition appears now to be an empty promise. Its simple, ABA accredited law grads can’t pass Bar Exams in reasonable numbers. Foreign students would tremble in fear if they knew the gauntlet the artfully maligned term ABA “ accreditation” has become over the decades.

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