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Legal Education in the US. 1910 - 1930. Widespread Discrimination. Coincided with growth of part-time / night law schools Against Jews, Catholics, Blacks, Immigrants Claim: these students could not be “taught the ethics of the profession” b/c their background is so different

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Widespread discrimination
Widespread Discrimination

  • Coincided with growth of part-time / night law schools

  • Against Jews, Catholics, Blacks, Immigrants

  • Claim: these students could not be “taught the ethics of the profession” b/c their background is so different

  • Apparent Goal: limit # of people admitted to the bar


Educational shifts
Educational Shifts

  • General Movements

    • Away from law offices and into law schools

    • Growing support for a college requirement

    • Knowledge of

      • Int’l Law

      • Legal history

      • Economics

      • Political Science

  • Why?

    • “Rising threat of socialism”

    • Labor / industry disputes

    • Need for social reform


1915 aba committee s decisions on admission to the bar
1915: ABA Committee’s Decisions on Admission to the Bar

  • Admission to state bar is regulated by state’s supreme court

  • Disapproved of diploma entry

  • Candidates must be US citizens

  • Law schools w/ high stds tended to have 3-yr programs


Ny state requirements
NY State Requirements

  • Candidate must speak English

  • Moral fitness must be proven by candidate

    • Inquiry conducted by committee appointed by court

    • Sworn statement by candidate

    • Affidavits on character – by atty personally known to a member of the committee or by teacher or minister

  • Similar req’ts in other states


Growing concern over inferior schools
Growing Concern over “Inferior Schools”

  • 1917: ABA’s Council on Legal Education formed

    • Meant to inspect and classify schools, but not given funding

  • AALS increased membership requirements, effectively excluding part time schools

  • 1921: Root Committee

    • Goal: recommend actions the ABA could take that would “strengthen the character and improve the efficiency of persons admitted” to the bar

    • Recommendations were adopted by ABA in 1922


The root report
The Root Report

  • Paved the way for the ABA to be an accrediting agency

  • Minimum stds for law schools

    • At least 2 yrs college before law school

    • Law school = 3 yrs f/t or equivalent in p/t

    • Law school must have at least 7500 volumes

    • Sufficient faculty (min. 3 f/t faculty; 100:1 student: prof ratio)

  • Discouraged diploma privilege for bar admission

  • Called on ABA to fund the Council on Legal Education


States bar admission requirements
States’ Bar Admission Requirements

  • 1927: No states req’d law school for admission

  • 1928: Only 1 jxn did NOT require a bar exam


Convergence of aals aba
Convergence of AALS & ABA

  • 1923: cooperation on ALI

  • 1926: accreditation lists were identical

    • 62 accredited schools

      • 56 full time schools

      • 6 offered full & part time programs

    • 108 non-accredited schools (73 of those were night schools)

      • These schools had 70% of law students

  • 1927: Sec of AALS appointed ABA’s 1st full-time legal education adviser


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