Sessions Information

  • January 6, 2011
    3:30 pm - 5:15 pm
    Session Type: AALS Hot Topic Programs
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: Hilton San Francisco Union Square
    Room: Yosemite C
    Floor: Ballroom Level


    This panel will address the concerns arising out of the July 19, 2010, Report of the Special Committee on Foreign Law Schools Seeking Approval under ABA Standards. The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar appointed this special committee in June 2010. In its July report, the special committee recommended that:


                The Council should authorize the Accreditation Project to go forward with         considering the accreditation of law schools outside the United States borders that   meet all of the prevailing Section Accreditation Standards and Rules of             Procedure. . . .


    This proposal has attracted numerous comments and raises a host of issues, including:


    • Would existing ABA standards be adequate to measure the quality of legal education delivered in a foreign setting where education and social context differ from that of the U.S.?
    • How will “accreditation” of a foreign law school from a different social, economic and political system be squared with some of the fundamental core values of American law schools, e.g., full time tenured faculty, academic freedom, and diversity?   Will it lead to a weakening of these values to “accommodate” the “local” situation?
    • How would such an expansion of ABA approved schools overseas impact the quality of existing U.S. schools?  Would such “outsourcing” of legal education result in law degrees of lower quality, albeit at significantly reduced cost?
    • How would such an expansion of ABA accreditation activity be viewed by other nations, already suspicious about U.S. intentions to dominate developing countries by exporting its legal system?
    • Will such an effort to export a “U.S. Gold Standard” in legal education divert foreign law schools from developing a more jurisdictionally and culturally responsive legal educational system for their countries?
    • Will this initiative result in the tightening of bar exam qualification criteria among the several states that permit foreign country common law educated students to sit for their respective exams?
Session Speakers
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

University of Milan

University of California College of the Law, San Francisco

Peking University School of Transnational Law

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Penn State Law

Session Fees

Fees information is not available at this time.