Law school entry standards may become more stringent
- The American Bar Association has recommended against accreditation approval for the University of North Texas-Dallas College of Law and the Ave Maria College Law School, saying that both have fallen short of prescribed admission standards and test scores for entering students.
- The recommendations come as the organization considers raising institutional standards for bar passage rates, a decision that appears to be in response to a one-year suspension of accrediting power by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, for the ABA consistently falling short of monitoring institutional performance.
- Some worry the ABA's decision is a hasty response to the recent developments and may be unfairly harsh on the involved institutions. Critics say the ABA should take more of a lead in monitoring and making accreditation decisions based upon cost of education, and post-graduate employment outcomes.
Some might call this the "Corinthians Effect" on higher education, as associations are now more concerned and focused on the role of accreditors in member institution performance, thanks to the Department of Education's pursuit of fraudulent activity in the for-profit sector. But much of the anxiety about law school isn't tied to the performance of institutions, but rather, the struggles of the industry itself.
Technology and the economy, seemingly, have limited the need for people to pay for legal expertise or representation. Jobs are more scarce and more competitive to secure, and the brand name on the diploma means more now to firms and companies than it ever has. For law school executives, the new focus has to be preparation for students to enter the public sector in civil service, community advocacy or other areas that were once considered fall-back legal careers, but now may be top choices for a dying industry.
- Inside Higher Ed ABA Tightens Up