ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education releases final report

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014
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During his 2011-12 Massachusetts Bar Association presidency Richard P. Campbell formed an MBA task force to examine whether law schools could do a better job preparing students for a career in the legal profession. Campbell is also a member of the ABA’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education, which released its final report this week.

The American Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education presented its final report to the ABA House of Delegates on Monday. The report calls on law schools, bar associations, regulators and others to redesign the financial model now prevalent in law schools. In addition, the report encourages revisions to the system that accredits law schools and the expansion of opportunities for delivery of legal services. Massachusetts Bar Association Past President Richard P. Campbell is a member of the ABA's task force.

"At present, the system faces considerable pressure because of the price many students pay for their education, the large amount of student debt, consecutive years of sharply falling applications, and dramatic changes, possibly structural, in the market for jobs available to law graduates," the report states. "These factors have resulted in great financial stress on law schools, damage to career and economic prospects of many recent graduates, and diminished public confidence in the system of legal education."

"The predicament of so many students and so many recent graduates who may never procure the employment they anticipated when they enrolled in their law schools is a compelling reality that should be heeded by all who are involved in our system of legal education," the report continues.

The task force was commissioned in July 2012 by then-ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III and supported by all subsequent ABA presidents. It was authorized to investigate problems that plague the U.S. system of legal education and to identify potential solutions.

To prepare the report and recommendations, the task force reviewed relevant literature, solicited testimony and obtained more than 100 sets of written comments from interested parties. The task force also held three public hearings and conducted a webcasted mini-conference in April 2013, to which various knowledgeable parties were invited to share information and perspectives.

Click here to view the report.