Victory for Tenure in Law Schools

By Ezra Deutsch-Feldman

The latest in a series of attempts to eliminate tenure as a requirement for American Bar Association accreditation of law schools has been dealt a major setback, with an ABA panel voting in March to maintain the requirement. The AAUP applauded the decision, which came as part of a five-year review of the standards for law school accreditation. The ABA must still approve the panel’s recommendations; a final vote is scheduled for August. 

As with past attempts, the AAUP submitted written argument to the panel, and AAUP general counsel Theresa Chmara spoke at a recent hearing on the issue, encouraging the ABA to retain the tenure requirement as especially necessary to ensure academic freedom for law faculty. In its written presentation, the AAUP noted: “A serious commitment to academic freedom must be operationalized and made meaningful through a well-developed, well-understood, and readily administrable system of peer review, professional advancement, and due process. That system is tenure.”