Being Kind to Lawyers for Christmas, but There is Still News

ABA Accreditation Issues

Law schools are supposed to play by a set of rules issued by the American Bar Association, Law School Accreditation Committee.  They are regularly audited for their performance, and deans have been known to lose their jobs for weak reports.  Fines are pretty unusual for violation – But the Rutgers School of Law – Camden just got whacked.

Admission credentials are pretty important, but Rutgers found a way around the normal LSAT-GPA process, unsuccessfully.  It violated Standard 503 and Interpretation 503-1 in allowing admissions off the grid.

$25,000 is a small fine if you are a big time coach (Steelers’ Coach Tomlin as an example), but in the ABA world, with the dual requirement to post the findings on the law school website for a full year, it makes pretty big news.  Rutgers is already in the news for a coach’s actions, basketball coach Rice apparently was too tough on players, fired and sued.  New Jersey has some catching up to do with the coach situation, but no Indiana law schools are in trouble like Rutgers – Camden.  NJ has two law schools, similar to Indiana University. Rutgers’ are in Newark and Camden. Indiana University’s are in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

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Ethics Update – Get with Tech

The ABA Ethics 20/20 report tells lawyers that to be considered competent, they must “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks association with relevant technology. . .

Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program Director tells lawyers “You cannot be Luddites” in a blog post here.  Comment 8 to Rule 1.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct was amended by the ABA recently, and submitted to the states for consideration and adoption. He identifies other articles concerning lawyers messing up trials by not understanding such programs as Twitter and Facebook.  The solution suggested by some – talk to the younger lawyers or staff members of the firm.

For Solos, it means get thee to a Solo and Small Firm Conference of your choosing. They are great sources for tech lessons. Indiana’s SSF conference will be June 5-7 in French Lick, IN.  Check the Indiana State Bar website for more information.

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Finally Good news for Young Lawyers

The pipeline behind you is emptying, the pressure of ever more lawyers has dropped.  The current 1L class is the smallest in 45 years, even with more law schools being built. Another decade of this, and the ratio of lawyers to clients, at least at the retail end of the practice might be back in balance.

I will now take a couple of weeks off the blog, to give you a chance to avoid looking over your files during the holidays, to see if you have committed any recent misdeeds.

Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to honor during the early winter season.