Tenure Standard 405 Remains

Dear SALT members:

At its meeting over the weekend in San Diego, the Council of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (“Council”)  declined to make any changes to the current law school accreditation standard, Standard 405, which requires that each ABA-accredited law school should have a policy providing tenure or equivalent security of position for most of its full-time faculty.   The Council is the national accrediting body for American legal education.   The Council had sent proposed changes to tenure and  security of position for notice and comment.  Over 60 law schools, hundreds of law professors, and dozens of organizations filed comments opposing changes to the current requirement.  The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) has consistently advocated in favor of tenure and security of position in several comments submitted to the Council’s Standards Review Committee.

While the current Standard 405 does not achieve the kind of equity in faculty employment that many would like to see, maintaining the current standard is a major victory for faculty governance and academic freedom in the face of proposed alternatives that would weaken both of those core values.   Further, SALT, sister organizations like the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), and the many organized faculty who spoke out against the change have demonstrated the importance of being heard about the changes that the Council is considering.  The volume and quality of the opposition to deregulating these faculty employment standards clearly mattered to the Council.  SALT and other organizations weighed in on other matters before the Council involving experiential education, externships, and bar passage, and there our comments were also considered by the Council.

This Council meeting is not the end of the continued discussion of the future of legal education; and indeed the Council’s recommendations must go forward to the ABA House of Delegates in August.   SALT will stay engaged in debates over the challenges in preserving academic freedom and security of position because we believe that these values enhance the quality of legal education.  In order to make sure that our voice is strong, we need you to renew your membership now.  If it has been more than a year since you renewed your membership, it is time to do so again.  You can do so at www.saltlaw.org at the “Join Now” button at the top left of the home page.

Thanks for all you do to keep SALT an effective voice in legal education.