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Shepard offering recommendations for changing legal education to ABA

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Retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard will present the final findings and recommendations of the American Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education to the ABA House of Delegates Monday.

The task force has been working since mid-2012 and members have spoken publicly about its ideas prior to the submission of its final report in January. It had earlier released two preliminary drafts of the study and hosted open discussions as well as made presentations of its conclusions.

Members of the committee came from academia, private practice, the courts and other legal entities.

“I’ve been very encouraged by the fact that a committee with many different opinions on the topic was able to come to such a level of agreement,” Shepard said. While he noted everyone on the task force did not agree with every word in the final report, he was unsure after the early meetings that the members could reach any level of agreement.

The task force recommended a rethinking of how lawyers are trained and offered comprehensive suggestions for change.

In particular it called for a modification of accreditation standards so law schools could innovate with new curriculum and programs. Also, it questioned whether the course of study for a J.D. needs to be three years.

Maintaining that other legal organizations also share in the responsibility for teaching lawyers, the committee included recommendations for bar associations, law firms, and the courts. It urged the entities to adopt a uniform bar examination and to reduce the amount of study required to sit for the bar.

The task force also recommended allowing non-lawyers to offer limited legal services as a way to improve access to justice.

Initially, the committee had planned to tender a series of resolutions for the House of Delegates to consider. However, Shepard said as the workgroup got closer to finishing its work, it realized the report was written from the perspective of speaking directly to the institutions and the profession. So instead of investing the extra time to reshape the recommendations into resolutions, the task force decided to spend the remaining months of its mandate to make presentations to various players and hope for prompt action.

Shepard conceded not offering resolutions might weaken the proposals put forth by the committee. He has always thought getting a resolution approved by the House of Delegates was a plus, but he said the task force is hopeful the power of the ideas will carry the weight that is due them.   



 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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