ABA Panel Favors Dropping Law School Tenure Requirement

, The National Law Journal


The American Bar Association's Council of the Section of the Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Friday tentatively embraced two plans that would eliminate tenure as an accreditation requirement.

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What's being said

  • BCReed

    The ABA should clearly drop this job protection. No where else in the economy do we have such Job protections for the mere fact that it ties the hands of management, reducing their ability provide sound fiscal management especially in turbulent economic times. Ending tenure might bring the same kind of increase in lateral movement among the Legal Education Sector as we have seen among the Legal Business Sector, which could be a very profitable change for the professors with the most skill and prestige. Though, even if the ABA terminated this requirement for accreditation does not mean law schools still wouldn't provide it. The incumbent schools may still use it as a means of attracting the best talent, but new schools that emerge might contracted networks of legal instructors, perhaps Lawyers wanting to leave Biglaw or lawyers from small firms wanting to of a steadier stream of income. If the ABA also eliminated the restrictions on online education we would likely see substantial technical innovations in the delivery of legal education as well, which would alleviate cost pressures through increased scale.

  • Matt

    The ABA should be careful here. If there is no tenure, then the only lawyers with "tenure" would be biglaw partners. They have effectively always had the equivalent to tenure. And these were the people voting in favor of abolishing tenure and could not understand why it exists! The irony! Almost all law profs have some (or a lot) of consulting/of counsel/etc. on the side. If law schools don't have tenure, then the profs will shift the bulk of their employment into biglaw and squeeze out the new law grads. Further there may be pressure on biglaw to abolish the extensive partnership job protections too.

    Everyone says that the biggest expense is law prof salaries, but that is only partly true. Usually one of the biggest expenses is the "profit" on the law school that is clawed away by the larger university system the school is part of. In some places this is 20% . This supports many other programs from humanities to athletics.

  • gregor

    With tenure of office anyone has the right to administrative proceedings and any course of actions brought against him/her before the committee on hearing and not "at will" dismissal.

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