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Report to Congressional Requesters: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

March 2007: 

Higher Education: 

Issues Related to Law School Accreditation: 

GAO-07-314: 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Appendix I: Briefing Slides: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Education: 

Appendix III: Comments from the American Bar Association: 

Abbreviations: 

ABA: American Bar Association: 
Education: Department of Education: 
NACIQI: National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and 
Integrity: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

March 8, 2007: 

The Honorable George Miller: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Howard P. "Buck" McKeon: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Education and Labor: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones: 
House of Representatives: 

In order to participate in certain federal programs, such as federal 
student financial aid, postsecondary institutions must be accredited by 
an accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education 
(Education). Accreditation ensures that schools provide basic levels of 
quality in their educational programs, and Education recognizes those 
agencies it concludes can reliably determine the quality of education 
provided by the schools and programs they accredit. Since 1952, 
Education has recognized the American Bar Association (ABA) as an 
accrediting agency for law schools. ABA accreditation is important to 
the 195 law schools it accredits because it allows their graduates the 
flexibility to take the Bar exam in any jurisdiction in the United 
States. 

The Department of Education requires that all recognized accrediting 
agencies periodically reapply for continued recognition. The Secretary 
of Education's accreditation advisory group, the National Advisory 
Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), considered 
the ABA's most recent application for continued recognition in December 
2006. The ABA was originally scheduled for review in December 2005, but 
Education postponed it twice based on the large volume of public 
comments that had to be reviewed, as well as concerns about the ABA's 
diversity standard. To address your interest in these issues, we 
answered the following questions: (1) What is Education's process for 
recognizing accrediting agencies? (2) What is ABA's process for 
accrediting law schools? (3) What concerns have been raised about the 
ABA's accreditation process? 

We used the following methodologies to develop our findings. To 
understand Education and ABA processes related to accreditation, we 
reviewed relevant laws and regulations, ABA accreditation standards, 
and documents pertaining to the ABA's application for renewed 
recognition. We also interviewed Education officials, ABA 
representatives, and four law school administrators. To identify the 
concerns that have been raised about ABA's accreditation process, we 
reviewed third-party comments submitted to Education in advance of the 
NACIQI meeting. We also attended the December 2006 public meeting that 
NACIQI held to consider ABA's application for continued recognition, 
and reviewed the transcript of the meeting. Finally, we analyzed ABA 
data on first-year law school enrollment and found the data 
sufficiently reliable for our purposes. We conducted our work between 
October 2006 and February 2007 in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. 

We briefed your staff on results of our analysis on February 9, 2007. 
This report formally conveys the information provided during that 
briefing. In summary, we reported the following findings: 

* Education has established criteria for recognizing an accrediting 
agency and has mechanisms in place to assess compliance with the 
criteria. Agencies found to be in compliance with Education's criteria 
can be approved for up to 5 years. There are also mechanisms in place 
to defer or deny an agency's recognition. 

* ABA has established standards for approval of law schools and has 
mechanisms in place to assess compliance with the criteria. Law schools 
are eligible for provisional approval when they demonstrate that they 
are in substantial compliance with each of the standards, and must 
demonstrate they are in full compliance to be fully approved. 

* Some Education staff, law school administrators, and other third- 
parties have raised concerns about ABA's accreditation process, 
particularly with respect to the transparency and consistency of the 
process, as well as the legality of its diversity standard, which 
requires schools to demonstrate they are reaching out to 
underrepresented groups. Based on concerns that ABA is not fully in 
compliance with regulatory provisions that govern accreditation, 
Education and NACIQI have recommended that the Secretary of Education 
renew ABA's recognition for a period of 18 months, rather than the 
maximum period of 5 years. 

We provided copies of a draft of this report to the Department of 
Education and the American Bar Association for review and comment. In 
written comments, Education provided technical comments and 
clarifications, which we incorporated as appropriate. In particular, 
Education clarified that its recommendation suggested that NACIQI 
require ABA to submit interim reports on ABA's compliance with all 
criteria for accreditation recognition, not just the diversity standard 
as stated in the draft. We revised our report accordingly. However, we 
note that the recommended interim reporting requirements focus heavily 
on the diversity standard. Education also expressed concern about our 
characterization of why NACIQI excluded from its recommendation the 
additional reporting requirements related to diversity, as Education 
had recommended. Our report correctly notes that NACIQI did not think 
additional reporting related to the diversity standard was necessary 
because Education had not identified any instances in which ABA 
inconsistently applied the diversity standard or provided evidence that 
law schools had been compelled to violate existing state laws. However, 
Education thought our report should also note that NACIQI did not 
address Education's broader concern that ABA had not demonstrated that 
it has effective controls in place to prevent inconsistent application 
of the standard as required by the recognition criteria. While 
Education is correct that NACIQI did not discuss this concern 
specifically, it addressed these concerns by affirming Education's 
recommendation to limit ABA's recognition to a period of 18 months. 
Education's comments appear in appendix II. 

The ABA said that the report was generally balanced and fair, and 
provided technical comments and clarifications, which we incorporated 
as appropriate. ABA expressed concern about our statement that it uses 
thresholds on bar passage and attrition rates to prompt further review. 
ABA emphasized that these thresholds are not used to determine whether 
or not a school is in compliance with the accreditation standards. We 
revised our report to clarify this issue. The ABA also provided updated 
data on law school enrollment that was not available to us at the time 
we conducted our briefing. Finally, with respect to the background 
information the report provides on non-ABA approved law schools, the 
ABA said the number of such law schools is much greater than indicated 
in our draft report. Specifically, ABA identified a number of 
California law schools that were not included on the list of non-ABA 
approved law schools that we obtained from the Law School Admission 
Council (LSAC). While the information from LSAC is not exhaustive, it 
provides the most complete source of readily-available data on non-ABA 
approved law schools. Additionally, because graduates of these law 
schools can sit for the bar exam in California, our overall message 
remains the same--graduates of many non-ABA law schools can take the 
bar exam in the state where they earned their degree. ABA's comments 
appear in appendix III. 

We are sending copies of this report to relevant congressional 
committees, the Secretary of Education, and other interested parties 
and will make copies available to others upon request. In addition, 
this report will be available at no charge on GAO's Web site at 
http://www.gao.gov. 

If you or your staff has any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-7215 or scottg@gao.gov. Contact points for our 
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on 
the last page of this report. Key contributors to this report include 
Jeff Appel (Assistant Director), Debra Prescott (Analyst-in-Charge), 
Summer Pachman, John Mingus, and Jim Rebbe. 

Signed by: 

George A. Scott: 
Acting Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Briefing Slides: 

Issues Related to Law School Accreditation: 

Briefing for the House Committee on Education and Labor and 
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones: 

February 9, 2007: 

Briefing Overview: 

Introduction: 

Research Objectives: 

Scope and Methodology: 

Background: 

Research Findings: 

Next Steps in the Recognition Process: 

Introduction: 

Concerns have been raised about trends in law school enrollment for 
certain racial/ethnic groups. 

Questions have been raised about the transparency of the American Bar 
Association's (ABA) accreditation process for law schools. 

Questions have also been raised about the extent to which ABA is 
consistently applying its standards. 

Research Objectives: 

1. What is Education's process for recognizing accrediting agencies? 

2. What is ABA's process for accrediting law schools? 

3. What concerns have been raised about ABA's accreditation process? 

Scope and Methodology: 

To address our research objectives, we: 

Reviewed relevant laws, regulations, ABA accreditation standards, and 
documents related to ABA's request for renewed recognition, including 
third party comments submitted to Education. 

Interviewed Education officials, ABA representatives, and four law 
school administrators about the accreditation process. 

Analyzed data from ABA on first-year law school enrollment, and found 
the data sufficiently reliable for our purposes. 

Conducted the review from October 2006 to February 2007 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Background: 

To be eligible to participate in certain federal programs, such as 
federal student aid, a postsecondary school must be accredited by an 
accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education. 

Education recognizes agencies that it determines to be reliable 
authorities in determining the quality of education provided by the 
schools and programs they accredit. 

The American Bar Association's (ABA) Council of the Section of Legal 
Education and Admissions to the Bar is recognized for accrediting law 
schools. 

History of ABA as a Recognized Accrediting Agency: 

First began approving law schools in 1921, and federally recognized 
since 1952. 

* Must petition for continued recognition at least every 5 years. 

Most recently reviewed in December 2006 after being postponed twice 
based on high volume of public comments and concerns about the legality 
of ABA's standards related to diversity. 

As of January 2007, 195 law schools have received ABA approval. 

* Seven provisionally approved; two on probation. 

* Since 1952, only eight institutions have applied for but never 
received approval. 

According to ABA, it is not uncommon for law schools to apply more than 
once before being approved. 

* Since 1990, 8 of 22 law schools were denied provisional approval at 
least once before being approved. 

J.D. Degree from ABA-Approved Law School Provides Eligibility to Take 
Bar Exam in Any U.S. Jurisdiction, and for Some States It Is a 
Prerequisite: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: American Bar Association (data); map, Map Resources 
(presentation). 

[End of figure] 

Graduates from Many Non-ABA approved Law Schools Can Take Bar Exam in 
Their State: 

Of the 41 law schools identified by the Law School Admission Council as 
non-ABA approved, graduates from 37 can take bar exam in their state. 

* Over half of these schools are in California, which allows graduates 
of non-ABA approved law schools in the state to take the bar exam. 

* Seven of these schools offer J.D. programs through distance 
education, but the ABA will not accredit schools that require more than 
12 hours of credit via distance. 

Six of the 41 schools are in the process of applying for ABA approval. 

* Five of these have not been open long enough to graduate their first 
class of J.D. students. 

Percent First Year Law School Enrollment for Selected Minorities, 1971- 
2006: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of ABA data. 

[End of figure] 

In Recent Years African American Enrollment Has Declined While Asian 
and Hispanic Enrollment Has Increased: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of ABA data. 

[End of figure] 

Objective 1: Education's Process: 

Education Has Established Criteria for Recognizing an Accrediting 
Agency: 

To establish eligibility accreditors must, among other things, 
demonstrate they: 

Have at least 2 years of accrediting experience. 

Have the capability to administer its accreditation activities. 

Are separate and independent, both administratively and financially, of 
any related trade association or membership organization if the 
accreditor is recognized for federal student aid purposes. 

Accreditors must have standards for assessing institutional or 
programmatic quality, and consistently apply and enforce standards. 

Establish standards to assess quality in areas such as student 
achievement, admissions, curricula, faculty, facilities, support 
services, fiscal and administrative capacity. 

Establish regular intervals for reevaluating accredited institutions or 
programs, and processes for approving substantive changes. 

Make final accreditation decisions publicly available. 

Review complaints against itself in timely_ fair, and equitable manner: 

Education Has Mechanisms in Place to Assess Compliance with Criteria: 

Accreditor submits application for recognition. 

Education makes initial recommendation based on review of petition and 
third-party comments. 

Accreditor invited to respond with additional support, and Education 
modifies analysis and recommendation, as appropriate. 

Education forwards complete package to the Secretary of Education's 
accreditation advisory group, the National Advisory Committee on 
Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). 

Following public meetings to consider each accrediting agency's 
petition, NACIQI recommends that the Secretary approve, deny, or defer 
request. 

Secretary considers entire record of application, including Education 
staff and NACIQI recommendations, and approves, denies, or defers the 
request. 

Possible Recognition Decision Outcomes: 

Approval - Agency recognized for up to 5 years. 

Deferment - deficiencies do not warrant immediate loss of recognition 
and agency should be able to demonstrate compliance within a maximum of 
12 months. 

Denial - If agency fails to comply with criteria or is not effective in 
its performance. 

Limit, suspend, or terminate recognition of an already recognized 
agency can happen anytime. 

Agencies can appeal final decisions. 

Objective 2: ABAS Process: 

ABA's Organizational Structure for Accreditation Activities: 

ABA's accreditation activities fall under the Section of Legal 
Education and Admissions to the Bar. 

Accreditation and compliance decisions are made by the Section's 
Council, which is comprised of 21 voting members. 

The Section's Accreditation Committee, which administers the ABA's 
accreditation process and has primary oversight responsibility for ABA 
approved law schools, generally makes accreditation recommendations to 
the Council. 

* The Committee may make accreditation decisions without consulting the 
Council when schools seeking continued approval are found to be 
sufficiently in compliance with the standards. 

The Section's Office of the Consultant provides assistance to the 
Council and the Accreditation Committee. 

ABA's Process for Accrediting Law Schools Includes Multiple Levels of 
Review: 

School requesting accreditation completes application, data 
questionnaire, and self-study and is visited by a site evaluation team. 

Accreditation Committee reviews site evaluation team's report of 
findings and materials submitted by school and as appropriate, makes 
final decision or recommendation to Council. 

Council makes final decision to grant, deny, or withdraw accreditation 
based on Committee's report and all application materials. 

* ABA has requested that the Committee also be recognized by Education 
as a decision-making body. 

Due Process - Schools have the right to appeal accreditation decisions. 

ABA's Standards for Approval of Law Schools: 

ABA considers the extent to which law schools comply with standards in 
the following areas: 

* Organization and administration: 

* Program of legal education: 

* Faculty: 

* Admissions and student services: 

* Library and information resources: 

* Facilities: 

Provisional approval granted when schools demonstrate substantial 
compliance with each of the standards; must demonstrate full compliance 
to be fully approved. 

Data Collected on a Range of Indicators: 

Data elements collected annually: 

* First-time bar passage: 

* Attrition (academic, transfers, etc.) 

* Employment of graduates: 

* LSAT scores/Undergraduate GPA: 

* Student to faculty ratio: 

Objective 3: Concerns: 

Education, School Administrators, and Third-Parties Have Raised 
Concerns Regarding ABA's Petition for Recognition: 

Education, some law school administrators, and others are concerned 
that ABA has unpublished standards, including minimum LSAT 
requirements. 

* ABA says it follows its published standards and has no requirement 
for a minimum LSAT score. 

* ABA acknowledges that indicators such as low bar passage rates and 
high attrition can prompt further review of other areas, including a 
school's support services and the credentials of entering students. 

- First-time bar passage rate: < 70 percent overall or more than 10 
percentage points below state average. 

- Academic attrition: about 15 to 20 percent. 

Education and other third-parties have expressed concern about ABA's 
diversity standard, which requires schools to demonstrate a commitment 
to having both a diverse student body and faculty. 

* Education expressed concern that ABA will evaluate compliance with 
the standard based in part on the results achieved and that ABA does 
not have sufficient controls in place to prevent inconsistent 
application of the standard. Additionally, Education is concerned that 
the lack of specificity about the requirements would lead the ABA to 
use unpublished criteria in evaluating compliance. 

* The Chair and Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights along 
with other third parties expressed concern that the ABA's diversity 
standard would. put pressure on law schools to employ race conscious 
admissions and hiring practices including racial or ethnic quotas. 

The ABA and others defend the current diversity standard: 

* According to ABA representatives, the standard only requires schools 
to demonstrate that they are reaching out to groups underrepresented in 
the legal profession. Quotas are not involved and it should not 
conflict with state laws that prohibit the consideration of race in 
hiring and admissions. 

* Law school administrators we spoke to and those administrators who 
provided third-party comments, along with other commenters, were 
generally supportive of ABA having a diversity standard. 

Education identified instances in which ABA was inconsistently 
enforcing its standards by allowing some schools to exceed the maximum 
time allowed to enter compliance without adverse action: 

* According to ABA, each instance involved compliance in the areas of 
bar passage rates or facilities, which cannot be readily addressed in 
the two-year period schools are given to demonstrate compliance. 

* ABA has approved changes that make clear that if a school has not 
been able to address noncompliance within the allowable two-year 
period, ABA must take adverse action or find good cause to extend 
accreditation. 

Next Steps in the Recognition Process for ABA: 

Because Education identified a number of compliance issues that ABA 
could not fully address in advance of the NACIQI meeting, it 
recommended that NACIQI renew ABA's recognition for a period of 18 
months and require the ABA to submit interim reports on its compliance 
with the criteria for recognition, with particular emphasis on the 
diversity standard. 

* ABA representatives said they were able to address a number of the 
concerns immediately, and the remaining items would be addressed by 
August 2007. 

At a public meeting on 12/4/2006, NACIQI recommended that the Secretary 
of Education renew ABA's recognition for 18 months; however, it did not 
recommend any specific reporting requirements related to the diversity 
standard. 

* NACIQI did not think the reporting requirements related to diversity 
were necessary given that Education had not identified any instances in 
which ABA inconsistently applied its diversity standard or provided 
evidence that law schools had been compelled to violate state laws. 

The ABA is awaiting the final decision from the Secretary of Education 
on whether its recognition will be renewed. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Education: 

United States Department Of Education: 
Office Of Postsecondary Education: 
Assistant Secretary: 

Mr. George A. Scott: 
Acting Director: 
Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Mr. Scott: 

The Department thanks you for the opportunity to comment on the 
Government Accountability Office's (GAO's) draft report, "Higher 
Education: Issues Related to Law School Accreditation" (GAO-07-314). 
Accreditation is an important accountability measure for ensuring the 
quality of higher education, and we appreciate GAO's study of the 
Department's significant involvement in this area. 

GAO makes no recommendations in this study, In reviewing the content of 
the' draft report, however, the Department has identified the following 
items that require clarification: 

* At page 15 of the Draft Report, in Objective 1: Education's Process, 
GAO has listed three eligibility factors for recognition. Please revise 
the third bullet to read: "Are separate and independent, both 
administratively and financially, of any related trade association or 
membership organization, if the accreditor is a Title IV, Higher 
Education Act gatekeeper." 

* Also on page 15, the fourth bullet should refer to admissions and 
thus read as follows: "Establish standards to assess quality in areas 
such as student achievement, admissions, curricula, faculty, 
facilities, support services, fiscal and administrative capacity." The 
Higher Education Act permits the Department to assess an accrediting 
agency's standards pertaining to admissions, recruiting, and faculty, 
20 U.S.C.  1099b(a)(5)(C) and (G). The diversity standard of the 
Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of 
the American Bar Association (ABA) explicitly relates to admissions and 
faculty hiring. In this vein, the Department staff recommendation found 
that the ABA's diversity standard (which governs admissions and faculty 
hiring) fails to comply with 34 C.F.R.  602.18(a) and (b) and 
602.23(a)(3), which require effective control mechanisms to ensure 
consistent accreditation decisions and which bar the use of unpublished 
accreditation criteria by an accreditation authority. 

* At page 20 of the Draft Report, in its description of the Department 
staff's concerns about the ABA diversity standard, GAO leaves out an 
important concern that the Department staff has about the standard-that 
the agency now intends to evaluate a law school's satisfaction of "its 
equal opportunity and diversity obligations" based not only on the 
"totality of actions" (the test under the prior rule) but also on "the 
results achieved." 

* At page 24 of the Draft Report, in the fist bullet, GAO leaves the 
reader with the mistaken impression that the Department staff opposes 
the use of diversity standards in admissions. The Department staff does 
not oppose the use of such a standard in admissions but has concerns 
about requirements specific to the ABA Standard 211 The bullet should 
thus read as follows: "The ABA and others defend having Standard 212." 

* At page 26 of the Draft Report, in the first bullet, GAO erroneously 
states that the Department recommended that the National Advisory 
Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) require the 
ABA to submit interim reports only concerning the diversity standard. 
The Department staff recommendation suggested that NACIQI require 
interim reports on the ABA's compliance with all criteria for 
accreditation recognition, not just the diversity standard. The bullet 
should thus read as follows: "Because Education identified a number of 
compliance issues. that ABA could not fully address in advance of the 
NACIQI meeting, it recommended that NACIQI renew ABA's recognition for 
a period of 18 months and require[d] the ABA to submit interim reports 
relating to its compliance with the Criteria for Recognition."  

* The fourth bullet on page 26 of die Draft Report, is not entirely 
accurate. Regarding bar passage rates and Standard 212 (the ABA's 
diversity standard), the Department staff advised NACIQI that the ABA's 
lack of effective controls to ensure consistent application of the 
ABA's standards violated 34 C.F.R.  602.18(a). 602.18(a) imposes an 
obligation on the accreditation agency to demonstrate that it "has 
effective controls against the inconsistent application of the agency's 
standards." GAO should note that NACIQI did not address this important 
element of the staff's recommendation. 

If you have any questions about these clarifications, please contact 
Annora Bryant in the Office of the Secretary, Executive Secretariat, at 
202-260-I854. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

James F. Manning: 
Delegated the Authority of the Assistant Secretary:  

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Comments from the American Bar Association: 

Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice: 
American Bar Association: 

March 1, 2007: 

George A. Scott: 
Acting Director: 
Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 
General Accounting Office: 
441 G St., NW: 
Room 5928: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

RE: Draft Report: Issues Related to Law School Accreditation (GAO-07-
314): 

Dear Mr. Scott: 

I am writing to provide comments from the American Bar Association's 
("ABA") Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (the 
"Section") on the draft report, Issues Related to Law School 
Accreditation. First, let me commend Ms. Prescott and your staff on the 
professionalism with which they conducted their research. In our 
interactions, they were always pleasant and respectful. As a result of 
their efforts, the Section believes the draft report is generally 
balanced and fair; however, there are a few areas that require our 
response. 

Bar Passage: 

The slide on page 22 of the draft report asserts that "ABA acknowledges 
that it has thresholds, and exceeding them can prompt further review." 
The Section does not use unpublished thresholds in deciding whether a 
school's bar passage or attrition rates satisfy the Standards for 
Approval of Law Schools.[Footnote 1] There are, however, some general 
characteristics that have, over time, proven to be indicators that 
further inquiry into a school's bar passage rates might be useful. 
These characteristics include such things as having a bar passage rate 
below 60 percent or a weak system of academic support. But, these 
characteristics alone are not factors for determining compliance or non-
compliance with the Standards. 

In a December 2005 guidance memorandum, the Section attempted to 
clarify the factors and process it uses to review a school's bar 
passage rates. After that memorandum was circulated, a small handful of 
schools continued to express confusion about whether their bar passage 
rates complied with the Standards. Thus, the Section began a process of 
reviewing and revising its Standards on bar passage in November 2006. 
The proposed Interpretation of those Standards, which the Council 
approved to be circulated for comment at its most recent meeting, would 
require a school to provide additional information demonstrating 
compliance if its first-time bar passage rates are frequently below 70 
percent. 

The comment period will conclude in mid-May following an open session 
to discuss the proposed Interpretation held in conjunction with a 
meeting of the American Law Institute. After the open session, a final 
proposed Interpretation, taking into account all of the comments 
received throughout the comment period, will be issued. The plan is 
that final consideration by the Council of the proposed Interpretation 
will occur in June and House of Delegates concurrence will occur in 
August. If the proposed Interpretation is adopted in its current form, 
the Section will have a measurable threshold for bar passage rates; 
however, no such unpublished threshold exists today. 

Factors Reviewed if Low Bar Passage Rates Exist: 

On page 21 of the draft report, GAO indicates that relatively low bar 
passage rates can prompt a further review of support services and 
credentials of entering students. This statement is accurate though the 
list of items that might be reviewed if a school presents low bar 
passage rates also includes: first-time bar passage rates in other 
jurisdictions, second-time taker bar passage rates, ultimate bar 
passage rates, information on academic support, attrition rates, bar 
preparation programs, and the entering credentials of students. 

Diversity: 

The draft report spends two pages discussing the controversy over the 
Section's diversity standard. It indicates that in addition to the 
Department other third parties have expressed concern about the 
Section's standard. The draft report then describes the comments filed 
by Gerald Reynolds and Abigail Thernstrom. But, it fails to mention 
either that their comments were echoed only by four of about 60 third 
party commenters or that all four of those commenters were special 
interest groups ideologically opposed to diversity and affirmative 
action. 

Moreover, the draft report's characterization of those who support the 
Section's diversity standard mentions no specific supporters and only 
indicates that law school administrators were "generally supportive of 
ABA having a diversity standard." The real picture is much more stark - 
no law school dean, judge, or practitioner filed a third-party comment 
with the Department opposing the Section's standard. And two of the 
nation's most respected civil rights organizations, the Lawyer's 
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Leadership Conference on 
Civil Rights, filed comments supporting the Section's standard and 
explaining the legal basis for its existence. Thus, to accurately 
reflect the support that exists for the Section's diversity standard, 
the second bullet on page 24 (slide 21) should provide, "Law school 
administrators we spoke to and those who provided third-party comments, 
including the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the 
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, members of the judiciary, and 
practicing lawyers, were generally supportive of ABA having a diversity 
standard and contended that the standard did not require the use of 
quotas or race-conscious admissions programs." 

Finally, it is worth noting that the report correctly reflects NACIQI's 
recommendation to reject any reporting from the Section related to its 
diversity standard. NACIQI did not believe the Department had 
identified any instances in which the Section inconsistently applied 
its diversity standard, nor did it believe that complying with the 
standard would require schools to violate the law. Thus, as stated in 
the report, NACIQI disagreed with the Department's contention that the 
diversity standard would necessarily lead to inconsistent application 
of the standards and also rejected the Department's recommendation that 
the Section report on all activities related to the application of its 
diversity standard. 

Minority Enrollments: 

Page 14 of the draft report contains a chart showing recent figures on 
minority enrollment in law schools. The chart is accurate but I can 
provide more recent information which you may wish to add to the chart. 
On February 15, 2007, the Section distributed to the Deans of all ABA- 
approved law schools its most recent data on Fall 2006 law school 
enrollments, including minority enrollments. See attached. For the 2006-
2007 academic year, there are a total of 9,529 African-American 
students, (and for information purposes 11,306 Asian students, 2,499 
Mexican American students, 551 Puerto Rican students, and 8,564 Other 
Hispanic students) enrolled in ABA-approved law schools. In other 
words, 6.8 percent of all enrolled students in an ABA-approved law 
school in 2006-2007 are African-American, an increase of .6 percent 
over the 2005-2006 academic year. African-American enrollment in the 
first-year class is even higher, 7.2 percent, and total minority 
enrollment for 2006-2007 is 21.6 percent. 

Technical Corrections: 

The draft report asserts on page one that the ABA was "deferred" 
because of "concerns about the ABA's accreditation process." Later, on 
page 7, the draft report asserts that the ABA was "deferred" because of 
concerns about the "ABA's standards related to diversity." It is 
important to clarify that the Section was not formally deferred by the 
Department in accordance with the recognition criteria. Instead, the 
Department administratively postponed its appearance before NACIQI. 
Also, the April 5, 2006 letter the Section received from the Department 
postponing its appearance clearly indicated that the postponement was 
due to the Department's concern about the Section's standards related 
to diversity, not because of concerns about the Section's accreditation 
process. See attached letter. Thus, the Section respectfully requests 
that the draft report be amended to state that the Section was 
administratively postponed and to state on page one that the April 2006 
postponement was due to concerns regarding the Section's diversity 
standards. 

Finally, the draft report on page 12 asserts that there are 41 law 
schools identified by the Law School Admission Council ("LSAC") as non- 
ABA approved. Although this statement is true, the number of non-ABA 
approved law schools in the country is actually much higher. A search 
of just the non-ABA approved law schools identified by the California 
Bar Association combined with the LSAC list yields a total of 61 non- 
ABA approved law schools. 

Thank you for providing the Section an opportunity to respond to the 
draft report. We hope these comments have been helpful and look forward 
to their incorporation in the final report. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Hulett H. Askew: 
Consultant on Legal Education to the American Bar Association: 

Cc: Bill Rakes: 
Hank White: 
John Przypyszny: 

Enclosures: 

[End of section] 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Indeed, the Department itself recently concluded, after a 
comprehensive review of third-party comments and attendance at a 
meeting of the Section's Accreditation Committee, that no evidence 
exists that the Section relies on unwritten standards in its decision- 
making. See Final Determination of Complaints Lodged Against the 
Council on Legal Education at 8 (Nov. 2, 2006). 

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