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ABA President Names Task Force on the Future of Legal Education

CHICAGO, July 31, 2012 — The _ today announced establishment of a task force to review and make recommendations on the state of legal education and its responsiveness to the needs and opportunities of the legal market.

The Task Force on the Future of Legal Education — consisting of representatives from the judiciary, organized bar, legal education and legal practice — will be chaired by recently retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.

“The growing public attention to the cost of a law school education, the uncertain job prospects for law school graduates and the delivery of legal services in a changing market warrant substantial examination and analysis by the ABA and the legal profession,” said ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III. “Legal education must be evaluated in the context of the marketplace and the nation’s and world’s unprecedented challenges in an ever-more complex global economy.

“Chief Justice Shepard is widely respected for his leadership in promoting legal education, professionalism and civility in the legal profession,” Robinson continued. “He is universally respected for his wisdom, integrity and openness to new ideas. Therefore, I am certain he will lead our esteemed and thoughtful task force members to consider a broad range of issues in order to make sound, compelling recommendations. ABA leadership is grateful for the commitment of Chief Justice Shepard and the task force members to address these issues.”

As Shepard explained, “The task force will solicit views in the widest way possible to help us identify how the bench, bar and legal education community can work together to provide meaningful opportunities for law students and graduates that benefit clients and the public at large.”

The task force is expected to continue its work during the next two ABA presidential terms and conclude in 2014.

Members of the task force are:

  • Randall T. Shepard (chair), former chief justice, Indiana Supreme Court, and currently executive in residence at Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute
  • Paulette Brown, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Madison, N.J.
  • Richard P. Campbell, Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy, Boston, and president, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Ronald D. Castille, chief justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court
  • Michael P. Downey, Armstrong Teasdale, St. Louis
  • Christine M. Durham, justice, Utah Supreme Court
  • Joseph D. Harbaugh, professor and dean emeritus, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center
  • Kevin R. Johnson, Enforcement and Litigation Division, National Credit Union Administration
  • Paula Littlewood, executive director, Washington State Bar Association
  • Thomas W. Lyons III, Strauss Factor Laing & Lyons, Providence, R.I.
  • Margaret H. Marshall, chief justice (ret.), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Leo Paul Martinez, professor, University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • Nancy Hardin Rogers, professor emeritus, Ohio State University College of Law
  • Maritza Sáenz Ryan, head of the Department of Law, U.S. Military Academy
  • James A. Wynn Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • Jolene A. Yee, associate general counsel, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Modesto, Calif.
  • David Yellen, dean, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Jay Conison, dean, Valparaiso University Law School (task force reporter)

In addition, two representatives of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division will be named to the task force.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

Please click here for a biography and photo of Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, president of the _.