Take Back the Night: Why an Association of Regional Law Schools Will Return Core Values to Legal Education and Provide an Alternative to Tiered Rankings
18 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2007
The system of legal education is fundamentally broken not because of the legal education produced, but because of the social and economic cost to the students and the public. The students have too few price choices and far too much debt while the public has legal services that are too expensive to provide meaningful representation for a significant portion of the population. Moreover, as preferred pedagogical and institutional choices have evolved into baseline accreditation requirements, the ability to reach a broadly diverse group of law students has been stymied. The public is being priced out of legal services, and the racial disparities threaten the credibility and stability of our legal system. This article traces the roots of these problems from the social monopoly which dominates legal education and suggests that an alternative to the ABA and AALS be created with an explicit on new criteria separate from the ABA's mandate of minimum competency and AALS emphasis as a learned society. Emphasizing the roles of law schools in their practice region, the article suggests that a member school in the Regional Association would organize itself around the following five core principles:
Diversity: Promote diversity to diversify and broaden the profession to the greatest extent permitted by law.
Price Sensitivity: Control costs to financially enable graduates to better serve the profession.
Student Learning: Focus on student learning and competency upon completion of law school, including a strong emphasis on experiential learning.
Applicable Scholarship: Emphasize meaningful scholarship tied to the needs of the profession and society.
Regional Engagement: Promote ties to regional institutions including state and regional bar associations and state Supreme Courts.
Keywords: Legal Education, accreditation, ABA, AALS Law School, antitrust, monopoly, justice, rankings
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K19, K23, L10, L13, B2, D4, D43, D45, D63
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