American Bar Association

Legal Ed Section announces council slate, and it includes 1 young lawyer

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Following recommendations to bring younger voices to the council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the group has nominated Daniel R. Thies, a Sidley Austin associate, to a three-year term.

In a 2017 recommendation, the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division asked that the council add two young attorneys who are not employed in legal education as members. The YLD has a liaison to the council, but that spot does not have voting power or access to closed meetings.

The council rejected the Young Lawyers Division proposal at its November meeting. One concern was that if the council adopted the YLD recommendation, what would happen when other ABA groups requested voting seats with the group?

There was also a concern that creating a special category on the council for young lawyers could reduce flexibility to find the best candidates available and willing to do the work. Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, suggested getting more young attorneys involved on school site visit teams, because that work is a “primary credential” for being nominated to the council.

In January, Law School Transparency, a group that focuses on law school reform, and the Young Lawyers Division of the Iowa State Bar Association issued a report about improving legal education, with its recommendations including the addition of two young lawyers to the council.

“Daniel Thies is an enormously qualified young lawyer who will make an excellent addition to the council. We look forward to seeing the council welcome more young lawyers to their ranks in the coming years,” Kyle McEntee, Law School Transparency’s executive director, told the ABA Journal.

Theis, a 2010 graduate of Harvard Law School, practices in Sidley’s insurance and financial services group. He’s a member of Legal Ed’s accreditation committee and served as the council’s YLD liaison from 2013 to 2016. Also, from 2008 to 2010, Theis was a law school member on the council, according to information released on the section’s website.

Additionally, Theis was the reporter for the ABA Presidential Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Profession and Legal Needs, and the reporter for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Special Committee on the Impact of Law School Debt on the Delivery of Legal Service.

Election of the council officers and members will take place Aug. 4 in Chicago, at the section’s annual business meeting. Others nominated to three-year terms on the council are Pamela Lysaght and Rebecca Hanner White.

Lysaght, a retired University of Detroit Mercy School of Law professor, currently chairs the section’s standards review committee. She also served as vice chair of the accreditation committee, and she has been involved with several ABA site evaluation teams.

White, now retired, was the dean of the University of Georgia School of Law. She previously chaired the section’s accreditation committee.

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at Saint Louis University School of Law, is slated to serve as the council’s chair. Council members nominated for re-election to a third-year term are Leo Martinez, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law; Charles R. Nash, vice chancellor for academic affairs for the the University of Alabama System; and Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary R. Russell.

Gregory G. Murphy, a Montana lawyer who previously chaired the council, was nominated for election to a two-year term.

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