An American Bar Association plan to strengthen job protections for untenured law faculty has been received positively by legal writing and clinical professors.
Reuters reported that a proposal under consideration by the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar would require law schools to hire full-time legal writing instructors and other untenured full-time faculty on five-year “presumptively renewable long-term contracts.”
The proffer — offered initially in a Nov. 8, 2023, memorandum from The Standards Committee and then, developed by the ABA — recommended that ABA’s Council approve revisions to Standard 304 and 405. Standard 304 required some clean-up revisions, according to the memorandum. Standard 405 was revised to improve employment security for non-tenure or tenure-track faculty using the proposal submitted by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute on employment security for legal writing faculty as a starting point.
The change would move legal writing, bar preparation, and other untenured faculty roles toward similar hiring rules and protections as clinical legal professors.
The ABA has received more than 30 public comments through the “Notice and Comment” process supporting the change, most from legal writing and clinical professors. The public comment period ends Jan. 8.