The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole accrediting agency for most law school programs. At its November meeting, the Council reviewed the status of the Hofstra University Maurice A. Dean School of Law and determined that the school was not in compliance with the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2022-2023 Standard 206(b) regarding diversity and inclusion. The standard requires that “Consistent with sound educational policy and the Standards, a law school shall demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion by having a faculty and staff that are diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity.” The law school must submit a report by March 31, 2023, that outlines its diversity efforts and appear before the Council at their August 2023 meeting.

The Council also made news recently after voting at the November meeting to eliminate the requirement for a “valid and reliable” admission test for law school from ABA Standard 503. The new recommended language for the standard would state that “A law school may use admission tests as part of sound admission practices and policies. The law school shall identify in its admission policies any test it accepts.”

According to the Council, it received almost 120 comments on the proposal during the 90-day notice and comment period that began this summer. Commenters expressed concerns about a possible negative impact on law school diversity, transparency in the admissions process, and an eventual “race to the bottom” as law schools abandon admissions tests. The Council rejected most of the arguments raised by commenters and voted to move forward with the proposal, which will be voted on at the ABA’s February Midyear meeting.

Administrative Law Section Hosts Annual Conference

The Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice kicked off the month with its annual 2022 Administrative Law Conference on December 1-2, 2022. It was a hybrid virtual/live conference that offered 12.5 hours of general continuing legal education credit, including 1.5 hours of ethics credit. The panels focused on a variety of topics, including a conversation with former administrators of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (which oversees the federal agency rulemaking process), the annual Developments in Administrative Law update, and the future of the “Regulatory State.” Among the many panels, D.C. Circuit Judge Neomi Rao moderated a panel on the major questions doctrine, which featured Professors Jonathan Adler and Mila Sohoni, among others. Conference co-chair Chris Walker, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and member of The Federalist Society said, “This is my favorite administrative law event of the year, and this year’s conference surpassed 1,000 attendees for the first time in the ABA’s history. Here’s hoping that next year we’ll be able to return to an in-person format in DC, with the option for attendees to also participate virtually.”

Advocacy Office Seeks Input on Legislative Priorities

The ABA is currently seeking input from members on what the group’s legislative priorities should be for the 118th Congress, which will be sworn in January 3, 2023. The Governmental Affairs Office surveys the entire membership at the end of every congressional session to get their input on where the ABA should focus their policy advocacy in the next Congress. The Board of Governors will use the survey data and other factors to determine the ABA’s legislative priorities at the Midyear Meeting in February. In a statement urging members to participate in the survey, ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross said “I need to know what’s on your mind. What issues among the hundreds represented by ABA policy resolutions adopted by our House of Delegates do you believe are most important?” She added, “Those choices represent the starting point. How you rank them will show is where the finish line is.”

Note from the Editor: The Federalist Society takes no positions on particular legal and public policy matters. Any expressions of opinion are those of the author. We welcome responses to the views presented here. To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].