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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, December 18, 2006

ABA Troops Come in Despite Expert Handling

I want to turn your attention to two very strange anomalies concerning the announcement that the ABA is coming for a fact-finding investigation: (i) Dean "N.C." Dobranski was heralded as a tactful handler of things ABA, and the school did in fact hit ABA accreditation timely under his tutelege; and (ii) the Dean described Deans Read and White as "two of the most experienced individuals in American legal education." (NC Dob. Memo "Possible reloc. of AMSL", 3/17/05).

Read/White Feasibility Study Actually Said A Lot:
Moving will Take 20 Years to Recoup

Given the following information from Dean "NC" in the 3/17/06 memo:
Professor White served for twenty-six years as the Consultant on Legal Education to the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the most important position in legal education. As the Consultant, he oversaw and guided the development of the ABA Standards on Legal Education, during the most critical period in legal education. He also served as a member of the team which conducted the 2003 Feasibility Study. Professor Read not only served as Dean at five different law schools, but also served as Deputy Consultant on Legal Education. He is also a past president of the Law School Admissions Council and past Chairman of the Board of the Law Access Group (legal education's loan program). In addition, Professor Read served as our Consultant on Accreditation.
These guys know about accreditation. Their input on what a move would mean, then means a lot when looked at through the lens of how such a move would affect accreditation. Among the first quotes is "the move would be a major change." That's code speak for: the law school will lose full accreditation. OK, the experts have spoken -- but shouldn't their job have been to outline a process by which the law school could be re-accredited? Yes. The experts were able to nail the accreditation schedule down to a year for the first run of the school.

So what about the new study? It's silent about the new accreditation process that would need to be taken. It speaks about effects decades later, but nothing about how much work it would take to make the school fully accredited again. The inference available, in the best light to their expertise and the purpose of the study, is that the move will affect accreditation status for 20 years.

In my estimation, that report was well worth what it says: moving will cause the loss of accreditation resulting in a twenty year recovery period.

Can anybody dispute how well they guided the first run? Then why was the R+W feasibility study notably silent about the process that would occur if the school moved? Details regarding the first process seemed infinite, with such things as to how many places where available in the library to privately pick one's nose. In contrast, the R+W feasibility study has five words and no discussion about the process caused by the loss of accreditation. Because the experts were silent, it can't be good, or they'd have offered some insight to assuage the downside of that loss.

ABA Fact-Finding

Given all of the ABA expertise floating around AMSL, especially purportedly in the Dean, another question comes as to how the school triggered a discretionary investigation. From the ABA standard, it sounds as if getting the ABA to investigate is a little like getting UN involvement.

Why, given all that ABA-handling expertise, and when AMSoL natives remember so well that wariness to ABA standards were so scrupulously adhered to lest there be a reason to fail the school, would they "inadequately respond" to a complaint to such a degree of misfeasance that it merited an investigation?

They are coming, though. It seems with all the experts floating around on ABA things, there is an irreconcilable problem in the leadership of the school, in order to merit their coming, however.

In honor of my being selected as T.M.'s Man of the Year, 2006, my typical caveat about arbitrary and capricious comment editing applies.