ABA to propose greater transparency obligations for law schools

November 21, 2011 The momentum behind moves for increased transparency in consumer information regarding law schools is growing, with an ABA committee working on a new accreditation standard requiring greater public disclosure of key statistics including admissions data, bar passage rates and employment outcomes of its graduates by job status and employment type, including the number of graduates working in jobs requiring a law degree and the number of those who are not. The proposals would also ensure that schools report the number of unemployed graduates who are and who are not seeking work; the number of graduates working in full-time or part-time jobs, whether those jobs are short-term or long-term and how many of them are funded by the school from which the job-holder graduated. In addition, where a school chooses to publish data about graduates’ salaries they will be required to clearly identify the number of salaries and the percentage of graduating students included.

The Standards Review Committee is now finalizing a proposal to be considered at its next scheduled meeting Washington, D.C., in January. At the conclusion of that meeting the Committee will send its recommendation the governing council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which could take up the committee's recommendations as soon as March.

"We want to be in a position to move forward on this matter as quickly as possible," committee chair Jeffrey E. Lewis said at the conclusion of the meeting last week.

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