ABA proposal to revise legal education Standard 206

Project Details

Party(ies) Involved

American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar


Chicago, IL

Time Frame

December 16, 2021-August 8, 2022

Project Overview

On December 16, 2021, the ABA published a memorandum (entitled “ABA Standards – Matters for Notice and Comment – Definitions (7)-(8); Standards 206, 306, 311(c) and (e), and 405(b); and Rules 19 and 29”) recommending changes to standards governing law schools. In particular, the memorandum suggested all-but imposing racial and other quotas, so as to “require[] a school to provide full access to the study of law and membership in the profession to all persons but focuses particularly on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity.” Comments were due by January 21, 2022. Despite having received a lot of feedback expressing concern about the “potential violation of the Equal Protection Clause, [and] use of racial balancing or quotas,” the ABA recommended approving the change in a memo dated February 10, 2022. It scrapped the proposal on August 8, 2022, just before it was to be submitted to the ABA’s House of Delegates for final approval.

Our Involvement

On January 21, 2022, LIF founder and president William A. Jacobson submitted a comment letter urging the ABA not to adopt the proposed change to Standard 206 as the proposed new standard – renamed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – sought to impose ideological viewpoint conformity in violation of academic freedom, and illegal racial and ethnic quotas on law school admissions as well as on faculty and staff hiring.

Case Documents

Comment letter from William A. Jacobson to the ABA January 21, 2022

Media Coverage

Mike LaChance, American Bar Association Drops Proposal for Racial Quota System at Law Schools, LEGAL INSURRECTION (August 14, 2022).

William A. Jacobson & Johanna E. Markind, ABA Forcing Wokeness on Law Schools, REALCLEARPOLITICS (February 10, 2022).