December 9, 2004
Law professor Rennard Strickland named to national council that accredits all U.S. law schools
University of Oregon law professor Rennard Strickland, one of the foremost authors and experts on federal Indian law, will serve as one of 21 decisionmakers on a powerful council that acts as the frontline force for accreditation of all United States law schools.
On December 4, Strickland was elected to fill a vacancy on the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. In August, he will run for election to a full six-year term. The council is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the only accrediting agency for law schools. One hundred and eighty-nine schools now have ABA approval.
I am deeply honored to have been named to the council and hope to continue to work on improving the quality and diversity of the legal profession through education, Strickland said.
A legal historian of Osage and Cherokee heritage, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law Rennard Strickland was dean of the UO School of Law from 1997 to 2002. He pioneered the introduction of Indian law into university curriculum, has authored a number of scholarly and popular books on Native American law and culture, and was revision editor of the Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the foundation text for the field.
Strickland is one of two Oregon law faculty who have served as presidents of the Association of American Law Schools. With this appointment, he becomes one of the few people to have served on the governing boards of the three major legal education organizations the AALS, the Law School Admission Council and the ABA education section.
The 400,000-member American Bar Association, based in Chicago, is the world’s largest professional association for lawyers. When the ABA was organized in Saratoga, New York, in August 1878, one of its first standing committees was the Committee on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Written bar examinations were just coming into use at that time. Although required by most states, the bar exam previously had been largely oral and informal. The two subjects of legal education and admissions to the bar were coupled from the ABA’s founding and remain so today.
The legal education section council determines law school adherence to rigorous ABA standards and has the final say on accreditation decisions. The section works with other groups on questions of preparation of students for bar examinations.
Accreditation is critical to a law school’s reputation and vitally important to attracting students and faculty. In most states, students must graduate from an ABA-approved law school before they can take the bar exam.
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