The accreditation rule requiring law schools to provide tenure for full-time faculty members as a condition of ABA accreditation lives on. ABA Journal reported that the council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, after two hours of debate this weekend, appeared "hopelessly deadlocked" on changes recommended by the section's Standards Review Committee, first voting down a motion to reject two alternative proposals that would have eliminated the requirement, then voting down each of the two proposals separately. At one point the council had voted to eliminate the tenure requirement in favor of a “security of position” system.
National Law Journal reported that council chair Solomon Oliver Jr. said most council members remain dissatisfied with the current tenure standard but that the council was unable to reach a consensus on the best way to fix it.
Proponents of eliminating the tenure requirement argue that law schools in the 21st century need more staffing flexibility than the tenure system allows, and that tenure for doctrinal professors drives up costs and comes at the expense of job protection for all law faculty, including clinicians and legal writing instructors.
At the same meeting, the council voted to increase the practical-skills credit minimum from one to 6 hours and tentatively approved allowing students receive academic credit for paid externships. On another hot-button issue debated for years, the council voted to maintain the minimum 75% bar-passage standard and the requirement that law schools use the Law School Admission Test in admissions, but allow schools to admit 10% of an incoming class without LSAT scores without first obtaining a waiver from the ABA. The council also modified the interpretation of the existing pro bono standard to suggest, but not require, that law schools "aspire" to have each student perform 50 hours of pro bono work.