ABA Plan to Collect Detailed Law School Employment Data Riles NALP
Posted Aug 2, 2011 2:39 PM CST
By Mark Hansen
The ABA's latest plan for collecting more detailed employment and placement information about law school graduates has created a rift with the National Association for Law Placement.
Under the new plan, the ABA would collect the data directly from the schools rather than rely on NALP to collect and process the information on its behalf, as it originally planned to do.
Hulett "Bucky" Askew, the ABA's consultant on legal education, said Tuesday the executive committee of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits law schools, felt the ABA should obtain the information directly from the schools.
"As an accrediting agency, we're responsible for holding schools accountable for the production and accuracy of the data," he said. "It's no criticism of NALP. It's a matter of what the executive committee felt we were obligated to do."
But NALP contends that the move will duplicate its own efforts, unduly burden law school career service offices and hamper its ability to develop and provide useful information to the public about the legal job market.
In a letter (PDF) Thursday to Askew and council chair Christine Durham, NALP president Marcelyn R. Cox and executive director James G. Leipold detailed their objections to the plan. They also threatened to sue the ABA if the section tries to use NALP's research materials in its own data collection efforts.
Leipold, who has been invited to voice his concerns to the council Friday during the ABA's annual meeting in Toronto, struck a more conciliatory tone on Tuesday, saying he still hopes the dispute can be amicably resolved.
He noted that both organizations share the same goal: to increase transparency and provide consumers with more information about the legal job market.
"The only thing we disagree about is the methodology," he said.
Askew said the council could revisit the executive committee's decision but that he has no idea whether it will. He also noted that time is running short because the law school questionnaires used to collect the data must go out by the end of the month.