Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Current ABA Response to Distance Education  (Read 2270 times)

jonlevy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2013, 05:08:02 PM »
Kaplan University and Concord unlike every other player in the online law school business - has the ability to take on the ABA.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2013, 06:16:01 PM »
I agree that Kaplan has the money and the lobbying ability to take on the ABA. They have the biggest bankroll of any online school, by far.

However, is the ABA is going to extend approval to a school with a 35% pass rate? Remember, they've recently denied approval to schools with much better pass rates.

Which brings me to my point:

Either Concord will have to drastically increase it's bar pass rate to 60-65% on the California bar (which gets them within 10-15% of the statewide ABA average), or the ABA will have to drastically reduce it's bar pass requirements. Neither is an impossible scenario, but both seem unlikely. Maybe there is another route, but I don't know what it would be.

California CBE approval is a different story, and I could definitely see Concord becoming the first CBE approved online school.

jonlevy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 08:51:03 PM »
How can Concord improve its pass rate if it is getting subpar students?  Average and above students are usually not going to waste their time with an unaccredited law school.  Give Kaplan/Concord provisional ABA status and you will see the pass rate improve.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2013, 09:54:16 PM »
I agree, it's a Catch 22. They can't attract better students without approval, and they can't obtain approval without better students. This is why ABA approval seems unlikely to me, despite Concord's financial resources. 

I suppose there is one route:
Concord could start requiring a degree and the LSAT for admission, which would drastically reduce it's class size but provide higher quality students. Then, attrite the underperformers and seriously support the rest with quality bar prep. If they were thus able to raise their pass rate it might give them more leverage with the ABA.

At this point, however, I just don't see what Concord is bringing to the table other than open admissions and low pass rates.

Duncanjp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 123
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2013, 01:35:41 PM »
There are other factors that the ABA requires to grant accreditation that tend to work against distance learning in addition to the quality of the student body admitted to such schools. For instance, the ABA requires that the faculty be full-time law professors. Concord, etc., would need to have enough students enrolled to justify employing full-time professors. Then they would need to charge enough in tuition to fund all the full-time salaries. I have no numbers, but I suspect they're a good distance from reaching that level. Even CBE schools like mine have to employ sitting judges, deputy DAs, and working attorneys to provide all of the instruction. While I've had some absolutely outstanding professors, as good as anybody I had at East Carolina U. and UC Davis in undergrad, all of my profs  are part-timers, holding down full-time careers with the DOJ, etc., and, candidly, visiting the ivory tower of academia at night and on weekends. Does this mean that ABA professors are better instructors than those who work for non-ABA institutions? Maybe not on a case-by-case basis. But on average, I would think that the best instructors would gravitate to the best schools, and to the teaching profession as a career. I see the ABA's point: they want professional teachers who are attorneys teaching the law, not attorneys by profession who happen to be able to teach.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2013, 04:09:01 PM »
For what it's worth, some of best teachers I had were adjunct faculty (prosecutors, public defenders, etc.) and some of the worst were tenured academics with impressive pedigrees.

Your point is well taken, though. The bar pass rate is just one of many factors the ABA considers. The entire institution is evaluated over a period of several years. The ABA looks at financial resources, bar support services, academic attrition, the physical plant, you name it. They even interview past and present students to get candid opinions on the school. This is why ABA approval is the gold standard for law schools, it's difficult to attain. 

In order to have a shot at accreditation either the ABA or Concord will have to drastically change its current requirements. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

DeltaBravoKS

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2013, 10:38:27 PM »
Good point on all the additional requirements, Maintain.  Don't forget about the library, too.  The ABA likes to see well stocked, well funded, well staffed libraries.  I have no idea how any distance school would get around this requirement.  Even if they had a library (which would be of no value to the students) you're talking millions and millions of dollars to create and maintain it.  I don't see any amount of students being able to fund something like that.

jonlevy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2013, 09:42:57 PM »
The law library requirement is a ridiculous requirement in the 21st Century - books are on the way out in favor of searchable hyperlinked e-texts at many universities. Law firms are ditching their expensive law libraries as a waste of space and money. An new associate would likely be upbraided for wasting valuable time at a law library instead of pulling the material from Lexis or West Law. Most law professors have the same JD as everyone else, in the US a JD is terminal professional degree.  Yes you can get a SJD or a foreign LLD but most law professors don't have those degrees.  The best law professors also practice law, but some have not even passed a bar. 

passaroa25

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 229
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2013, 11:57:20 PM »
Law school professors have to be licensed attorneys.  This means they have to have passed a bar exam.
Angie

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2013, 12:20:55 AM »
Law school professors have to be licensed attorneys.  This means they have to have passed a bar exam.

Is that an ABA rule? I've never heard that before.

I know that you definitely don't have to be a member of your state bar to teach. Several of my law school profs were not members of the CA bar, although they had passed another state's bar.