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1983 Newsl. 1 (1983)

handle is hein.aals/aalsnews1983 and id is 1 raw text is: 





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ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN LAW SCHOOLS * ONE DUPONT CIRCLE o WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036 NO. 83-1 FEB. 1983


PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

  David H. Vernon


   L   m  E
       Over the past several years, the American Bar Association (A.B.A.) and the
 Association of American Law Schools (A.A.L.S.) have worked cooperatively in carrying
 out their accreditation (A.B.A.) and merbership (A.A.L.S.) functions. While initial
 inspections appropriately are carried out independently -- they take place at different
 times in a school's history -- all reinspections are joint ventures, with a single
 questionnaire being used and a single inspection team preparing one report for use by
 the two accreditation committees. The advantages of the joint effort are obvious, the
 cooperation between the A.B.A. and A.A.L.S. clearly should continue.

      While duplication is avoided by the use of joint inspection teams, consideration
 of the single report by two independent committees involves substantial duplication of
 effort, at least to the extent that the two committees focus on identical or very
 similar issues as they tend to do. While the goal of both organizations is to assure
 the quality of the educational process and the academic integrity of the inspected
 school's program, the focus of the two organizations may be sufficiently different to
 warrant evaluations of the schools that reflect the different focus.

     As the official national accrediting agency of legal education, the A.B.A. must
 focus on a variety of details, all of which collectively go to the quality of the
 educational program. Many of the details, however, when viewed separately, relate to
 the quality issue only indirectly. A.A.L.S. functions more as a learned membership
 society than it does as an accrediting agency. As such, it may be that the A.A.L.S.
 should concentrate almost exclusively on qualitative issues -- those that relate
 directly to the academic and scholarly aspects of the operations -- while leaving most
 of the quantitative issues to the A.B.A. process.

    The suggestion is not that A.A.L.S. ignore quantitative matters completely but that
 it take a substantially less active interest in them than it currently does. Thus,
 perhaps A.A.L.S. ought not to worry much about the number of seats in the library, or
 even the number of books, but should focus directly on whether the students in fact are
 being stimulated to work to their full capacity and whether the library collection is
 sufficient to support broadly-based scholarship by faculty and students. While it
 certainly is true that the quality of a school's educational program will suffer if the
 university with which it is affiliated is imposing an overhead tax on the law school to
support other programs, it may be that A.A.L.S. should leave that and similar issues to
the A.B.A. and concentrate on what it knows best, the overall quality of the academic

                                                              (Continued on page 2)


ADIIU: JANES M. LA BARBERA, AZ3U,1PA I r UIIA.t, I U


EX1 (Li1~IVF DIRECTOR .JOHN A. HAIJMAN


Printing and Distribution Courtesy of Foundation Press, Inc.


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