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ABA committee formed to study law school cost and debt

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Former Mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer has been appointed to lead a special task force to examine the cost of legal education and the spiraling loan debt of students.

The American Bar Association has formed the Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education to look at the cost of attending law school as well as the financing of law schools, student loans and educational debt. It will also review how law schools use merit scholarships, tuition discounting and need-based aid.

Pointing to the increase in tuition and debt loads coming at a time when job opportunities are limited, ABA President James Silkenat said the organization must conduct a thorough examination of costs and financing of legal education. He asked task force members to conduct a comprehensive study of the complex economic and political issues involved and produce sound recommendations.

Convening a task force specifically to untangle the money issues was the recommendation made by the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education when it issued its final report in February. The group, led by retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard, found the questions surrounding the financing of legal education were too big for them to tackle and advised a separate committee be formed just to examine those concerns.    

Archer, an attorney, served two terms as mayor of the Motor City from 1994 to 2001 and as an associate justice on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1986 to 1990. He was also ABA president from 2003 to 2004. His current responsibilities include service on the board of InfiLaw, a consortium of independently owned and operated ABA-approved law schools.

He will lead a 13-member task force comprised of practicing lawyers, judges and law school deans.  
 

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