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Thursday, March 05, 2009

ABA Standards for Faculty Employment Challenged

Inside Higher Education (3/2/2009) reports on challenges
by some law school deans to the ABA standards on the
hiring and employment of faculty members. According to
the article, "many law deans have argued that the
[ABA] requirements represent unwarranted intrusion in
their schools' affairs and drive up costs." Others argue
that the status of some law school staff (such as clinical
faculty members and librarians) would likely be negatively
affected should the standards be eliminated.

A push to drop the standards was launched by Henry Bienen
(departing president of Northwestern University), who
sent a letter to 130 college presidents whose law schools
belong to the law deans' group, encouraging them to
sign a statement requesting that the ABA Council on
Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar drop the
standards related to terms of employment. Bienen
has faced critics at Northwestern and elsewhere, who
fear that the proposed changes could threaten academic
freedom for tenured as well as and non-tenured faculty.