Published on International Forum on Teaching Legal Ethics and Professionalism(http://teachinglegalethics.org)

ABA Standards for Legal Education

Long Title
ABA 2018-2019 Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools
Published/Promulgated by
Name of entity
American Bar Association
Type of entity
Professional Body
Year
2019
Country
United States
Who is subject to this regulation?
Other
Abstract

Chapter 3 sets out the most important ABA Standards for law schools

Standard 301. OBJECTIVES OF PROGRAM OF LEGAL EDUCATION

(a)        A law school shall maintain a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.

(b)       A law school shall establish and publish learning outcomes designed to achieve these objectives.

Standard 302. LEARNING OUTCOMES

A law school shall establish learning outcomes that shall, at a minimum, include competency in the following:

(a)        Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;

(b)       Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;

(c)        Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and

(d)       Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.

Standard 303. CURRICULUM

(a)        A law school shall offer a curriculum that requires each student to satisfactorily complete at least the following:

(1)       one course of at least two credit hours in professional responsibility that includes substantial instruction in rules of professional conduct, and the values and responsibilities of the legal profession and its members;

(2)       one writing experience in the first year and at least one additional writing experience after the first year, both of which are faculty supervised; and

(3)       one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours. An experiential course must be a simulation course, a law clinic, or a field placement, as defined in Standard 304.

(b)       A law school shall provide substantial opportunities to students for:

(1)       law clinics or field placement(s); and

(2)       student participation in pro bono legal services, including law-related public service activities.

Standard 304. EXPERIENTIAL COURSES: SIMULATION COURSES, LAW CLINICS, AND FIELD PLACEMENTS

(a)        Experiential courses satisfying Standard 303(a) are simulation courses, law clinics, and field placements that must be primarily experiential in nature and must:

(1)       integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics, and engage students in performance of one or more of the professional skills identified in Standard 302;

(2)       develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught;

(3)       provide multiple opportunities for performance;

(4)       provide opportunities for student performance, self-evaluation, and feedback from a faculty member, or, for a field placement, a site supervisor;

(5)       provide a classroom instructional component; or, for a field placement, a classroom instructional component, regularly scheduled tutorials, or other means of ongoing, contemporaneous, faculty-guided reflection; and

(6)       provide direct supervision of the student’s performance by the faculty member; or, for a field placement, provide direct supervision of the student’s performance by a faculty member or a site supervisor.

(b)       A simulation course provides substantial experience not involving an actual client, that is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks in a set of facts and circumstances devised or adopted by a faculty member.

(c)        A law clinic provides substantial lawyering experience that involves advising or representing one or more actual clients or serving as a third-party neutral.

(d)       A field placement course provides substantial lawyering experience that (1) is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other

lawyering tasks in a setting outside a law clinic under the supervision of a licensed attorney or an individual otherwise qualified to supervise, and (2) includes the following:

(i)        a written understanding among the student, faculty member, and a person in authority at the field placement that describes both (A) the substantial lawyering experience and opportunities for performance, feedback and self-evaluation; and (B) the respective roles of faculty and any site supervisor in supervising the student and in assuring the educational quality of the experience for the student, including a clearly articulated method of evaluating the student’s academic performance;

(ii)       a method for selecting, training, evaluating and communicating with site supervisors, including regular contact between the faculty and site supervisors through in-person visits or other methods of communication that will assure the quality of the student educational experience. When appropriate, a school may use faculty members from other law schools to supervise or assist in the supervision or review of a field placement program;

(iii)      evaluation of each student’s educational achievement by a faculty member; and

(iv)      sufficient control of the student experience to ensure that the requirements of the Standard are met. The law school must maintain records to document the steps taken to ensure compliance with the Standard, which shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, the written understandings described in Standard 304(d)(i).

(e)        Credit granted for such a simulation, law clinic, or field placement course shall be commensurate with the time and effort required and the anticipated quality of the educational experience of the student.

(f)        Each student in such a simulation, law clinic, or field placement course shall have successfully completed sufficient prerequisites or shall receive sufficient contemporaneous training to assure the quality of the student educational experience.

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