Ready to play the blame game again? This week, they’re the ABA’s fault.
At least that’s what Dean Lawrence Vevel of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover and Kurt Olson, an assistant law professor there, argue in their new book, “The Gathering Peasants’ Revolt in American Legal Education.”
You may remember Dean Velvel for his efforts to try George W. Bush for war crimes. You may also remember him for calling for Rod Blagojevich’s acquittal. Or you may remember him as another high profile victim of Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. Just as long as you remember him.
A brief and non-comprehensive list of the Velvel/Olson grievances against the ABA:
· The ABA has drastically lowered the permissible faculty to student ratio in law schools and refuses to count adjunct professors, which drives up the cost of legal education.
· The ABA prohibits professors from doing administrative work, forcing law schools to hire many more personnel, which drives up the cost of legal education.
· The ABA forces law schools to build new physical facilities or renovate existing facilities, driving up the cost of legal education.
Velvel and Olson go on to argue that top law schools don’t criticize the ABA because they benefit financially from these rules, and less established law schools don’t criticize the ABA because they are scared of having their accreditations revoked.
This sounds about right, and, in case you forgot, the ABA is also responsible for stifling law school innovation and forcing law schools to “build an Acura instead of a Corolla.”
What I don’t understand is how these accreditation standards can be changed or if they should be. The ABA, according to what I do understand, is basically a voluntary association of lawyers and law students. It is governed by a representative body. Doesn’t this suggest that the legal community, at some level, has considered and endorsed the ABA standards?
That’s not a rhetorical question, I really don’t know enough about how the ABA operates to answer it. Until I do, it’s the ABA’s fault this week, and U.S. News’ the next.