Midyear Meeting

Loan counseling and cross-cultural competency programing will be required from ABA-accredited law schools

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Lanette Richardson

Lanette Richardson, chair of the Law Student Division Council, was in favor of Resolution 300. Richardson is a 3L at the Southern University Law Center. Photo courtesy of Lanette Richardson.

A package of proposed revisions to the ABA law school accreditation standards, including two focused on diversity, were approved Monday by the ABA House of Delegates at the 2022 ABA Midyear Meeting.

Resolution 300, which passed with a 348 to 17 vote, suggested changes to four standards in the 2021-2022 Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. The revisions include:

• Adding “ethnicity,” “gender identity or expression” and “military status” to language in Standard 205, which deals with law school governance, and adding wording that requires schools to adopt, publish and follow nondiscrimination policies. The revision does not require religiously affiliated law schools to recognize or support organizations focused on sexual orientation or gender identity, if doing so conflicts with the institution’s religious beliefs.

• Adding a new requirement that law schools provide education about bias, cross-cultural competency and racism to Standard 303, which focuses on curriculum. The offerings should take place at the start of a student’s legal education program and at least once more before graduation. The requirement could be met through new student orientation programs or in courses that incorporate discussion about the topics.

• Adding language to Standard 507, which deals with student loan programs, that requires schools to provide applicants and students with loan counseling.

• Changing Standard 508, which addresses student support services, to require schools to provide students with information or services related to mental health, including substance-use disorders.

The proposed revisions were submitted by the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Many of the proposals were inspired by roundtables hosted by the section, and were discussed at council meetings in May, August and November of 2021.

Follow along with the ABA Journal’s coverage of the 2022 ABA Midyear Meeting here.

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