Executive Committee Regulations of the Association of American Law Schools
Amended through May 2005
Chapter 1. Sections
Chapter 2. Standing and Special Committees
Chapter 3. Association Finances-Membership Dues
Chapter 5. Access to Association Meetings and Documents
Chapter 6. Membership Requirements
Chapter 8. Records and Reports
CHAPTER 1. SECTIONS
1.1 Establishment of Sections.
a. Upon receipt of a petition signed by at least fifty or more full-time faculty members or professional staff from at least twenty-five or more member schools, the Executive Committee may provisionally establish a Section. The petition shall state the proposed name of the Section, the subjects that will be the Section’s concern and the activities and programs contemplated for the Section. The petition shall identify those subjects of the Section’s concerns, activities and programs that do not substantially duplicate those of an existing Section. If the subject that is the concern of a proposed Section appears also to be in material part the concern of an existing Section, the Executive Director shall inform the officers and other members of the executive committee of the existing Section, and shall inform the Executive Committee whether there is any material duplication of the subject and, if so, whether, in their opinion, the interests of this Association and legal education would be better served by establishing the proposed Section and yielding to it the whole or part of the subject that would otherwise be duplicated by establishing the Section. The petition shall also state the names of persons to be the initial officers and executive committee of the Section, these persons to serve until the first Annual Meeting of the Association after granting provisional status to the proposed Section. Proposed bylaws shall accompany the petition. If the Executive Committee finds that (i) the petition and the proposed bylaws conform to the requirements of this chapter, (ii) the subject that is the concern of the proposed Section does not substantially duplicate that of another Section or that an appropriate re-allocation of subject may be made to avoid material duplication, and (iii) the establishment of the Section may serve the purposes of the Association, it shall grant provisional status to the Section. Pending the grant, or after the denial, of provisional status, a person, without the consent of the Executive Committee, may not take any action on behalf of a proposed Section other than actions necessary to petition for provisional status.
b. Petitioners shall propose bylaws with a petition for provisional status, which, if in compliance with the provisions of the Bylaws and Regulations of the Association, shall become the initial bylaws of the Section on approval of provisional status. Upon approval of full status, such bylaws and any amendments thereto made in conformity with this chapter, shall continue as the bylaws of the Section.
c. The bylaws of every Section (whether having full or provisional status) shall provide for a Chair, a Chair-elect, such other officers as the Section determines and an executive committee of at least five persons, including the officers of the Section. Amendments to the bylaws shall be filed with the Executive Director, who shall review them for conformity with the bylaws and regulations of the Association. If the Executive Director concludes that an amendment is in any particular not in compliance with the Association’s bylaws or regulations, the Executive Director shall report this to the President and the Section Chair, and such bylaw shall be of no effect.
d. During the period of provisional status the Section shall operate in all other respects as, and be subject to, all the requirements of a Section under this chapter.
e. A Section with provisional status may petition for full status not earlier than two years and not later than three years after the date of granting provisional status. The petition shall contain a description of the Section’s activities during the period of provisional status, including all programs presented, the estimated attendance for each program, copies of newsletters and other publications and details of funding. The petition shall also include a certification by the Executive Director that the Section has complied with all filing and reporting requirements for Sections during the period of provisional status. The petition shall be signed by the Chair and the Chair-elect of the Section. If the Executive Committee finds that such Section has in fact served the purposes of the Association during its provisional status and that its continuance will serve the interest of a significant number of faculty members of member schools and the purposes of the Association, it shall grant full status to the Section.
f. Failure to petition for full status on or before the third anniversary of receiving provisional status shall automatically dissolve the Section unless the period of provisional status shall have been extended by the Executive Committee, in its discretion. In that event, provisional status shall continue for the period of such extension, at the end of which time such Section may petition for full status. Failure to receive full status at the end of the period of provisional status and any extension granted by the Executive Committee shall automatically dissolve the Section.
g. A Section shall hold its business meeting during every Annual Meeting of the Association. A Section shall hold a program session at least during every other Annual Meeting. The business meeting and Section program shall be held at the time and place in the hotel or convention center assigned by the Executive Director. However, at the request of the Section and upon a determination by the President that the professional interests of the Association and the faculty of its member schools would be materially served thereby, the President may authorize a Section to hold a program at another place.
h. If the President determines that the purposes of the Association and the professional interests of the faculty and professional staff of member schools will be materially served thereby, a Section may sponsor a lecture or regional seminar.
i. A Section shall elect its officers and the members of its executive committee at the Annual Meeting of the Association or by mail if timely notice is given of the nominees. Failure to do so is a Section inactivity under Executive Committee Regulation 1.2 (Dissolution of Sections).
j. No person may serve as section Chair of the same section for more than two consecutive years during any seven-year period. No person may serve as section Chair of more than one section at the same time.
1.2 Dissolution and Merger of Sections: Replacement of Section Leadership.
a. The Committee on Sections and the Annual Meeting shall review the activities of Sections and recommend to the Association Executive Committee what appropriate action should be taken with respect to a Section that is not serving the purposes of the Association. If the Committee on Sections and the Annual Meeting finds, after affording to the officers of the Section, as they appear in the Association records, a reasonable opportunity to respond to the inquiry, that a Section is inactive, materially duplicates the activities of other Sections, or has materially violated the Association Bylaws, Executive Committee Regulations, or policies, the Committee on Sections and the Annual Meeting shall recommend that the Section be dissolved, that it be merged with another Section, that its officers and other members of its executive committee be replaced by individuals appointed by the President or that other action be taken as may be appropriate.
b. A Section may also be dissolved on petition to the Association Executive Committee by the Section’s officers. When a Section does not have twenty or more members from five or more member schools, the officers of the Section should take steps to increase its membership or recommend its dissolution.
1.3 Section Membership.
a. Regular Membership. All faculty and professional staff of member law schools are eligible for regular membership in a Section. In addition, faculty members and professional staff from law schools that subscribe as AALS International Affiliates from Mexican and Canadian law schools are eligible for regular membership in the AALS Section on North American Cooperation. Faculty members and professional staff from any law school that subscribes as an AALS International Affiliate are eligible for regular membership in the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange.
b. Associate Membership. Subject to restrictions set by the Section in its bylaws, any person interested in the purposes of the Section is eligible to participate as an associate member in a Section. An associate member is not eligible to vote in Section meetings or to hold office in a Section. As a condition of Section membership, associate members who are not affiliated with a member or service fee-paid school shall pay an annual membership fee in an amount established by the Executive Committee.
c. A Section may limit membership in terms of substantive interest by stating specific criteria not inconsistent with Association policies. Membership criteria in addition to affiliation with a member law school must be approved by the Executive Committee.
d. Application for membership in a Section may be made by election on forms provided for inclusion in the Directory of Law Teachers or by written application to the Association’s national office.
e. For purposes of this chapter, “faculty and professional staff of member law schools” excludes adjunct or visiting faculty or temporary professional staff who do not have a continuing professional relationship with a member law school as their principal employment.
1.4 Relationship of Sections to the Association and Public.
a. A Section may communicate a statement of position on matters affecting legal education to members of the Section and deans and faculty of member and ABA-approved schools, with a disclaimer that the statement is that of the Section and not the Association. A Section may also post such a statement on its Section website so long as the statement is preceded immediately by the prominent posting of the disclaimer found in Executive Committee Regulation 1.4(c) with an additional notice that the official AALS position may be obtained by contacting the AALS national office, with the phone number and e-mail address provided. A Section may not otherwise publish a statement. A Section may submit to the Executive Committee a recommendation that the Association take a stated position. A Section may not communicate to a member school the Section’s views concerning the school’s compliance with rules of membership in the Association or concerning the quality or characteristics of the school’s educational program or institutional policies.
b. All applications for or grants from outside funding sources are made only in the name of the Association. No Section may itself make any application for, or receive funding from, an outside source.
1. A Section may make preliminary contacts regarding a possible grant with an outside funding source only after receiving the approval of the Executive Director, based on his or her finding that the proposed activity and the communication with the particular funding agency serve the interests of the Association. If the Executive Director disapproves a Section’s request to make these preliminary contacts, the Section may have its request placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Association Executive Committee.
2. After approved preliminary contacts have been made, a Section may ask the Association Executive Committee to make formal application for a grant from an outside funding source in the name of the Association.
c. Newsletters and similar communications of a Section shall bear a legend in the following or similar language:
This newsletter/website is a forum for the exchange of points of view. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Section and do not necessarily represent the position of the Association of American Law Schools.
d. A Section may not file a brief amicus curiae.
e. Any survey or questionnaire that a Section distributes to groups or individuals other than Section members shall be submitted in advance to the Executive Director and may not be distributed without the prior approval of the Executive Director, who shall act in consultation with the President.
1.5 Relationships of Section with Other Organizations.
a. With the approval of the Executive Committee, a Section may establish a liaison relationship with its counterpart Section of the American Bar Association and with similar national organizations. Prior to contacting any organization for this purpose, the Chair shall inform the Executive Director of the Section’s interest and its purpose in establishing a liaison relationship.
b. A Section may not become a member of another organization or join with an organization outside the Association in sponsoring a program or project, unless it obtains prior approval from the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may approve if it finds that the interests of the Association are served and the program or project is limited in time and scope.
a. Upon request of a Section, the Executive Committee may appropriate Association funds to support Section activities and programs.
b. A Section may by its bylaws impose dues upon its members.
c. All funds of a Section, including dues receipts, shall be banked through the Association national office. Funds shall be disbursed by the national office upon the authorization of the officer designated by the Section.
d. General funds of the Association appropriated to a Section may be used, among other purposes, to:
1. compensate law students and others for performing research and similar tasks for a Section project;
2. reimburse a person who participates as a speaker or panelist in a Section program and who is not a faculty member of any law school for the person’s travel and other expenses in accordance with the Association’s travel reimbursement policies; and
3. purchase, for a reasonable amount, a plaque or other memorial of an approved award or citation.
e. General funds of the Association appropriated to a Section may not be used to:
1. reimburse a faculty member of any law school, whether on leave or not, for travel;
2. pay honoraria; or
3. pay for food, drink or entertainment for Section members.
f. Section funds generated by dues and sources other than general funds of the Association are subject to the restrictions in Subsection (e), unless the Section sets other guidelines that are approved by the Executive Committee.
g. Income generated by a Section project, such as from the sale of a section-developed manual, shall be first used to recapture the direct costs of the Association in producing the goods or services that generate the income. After these direct costs have been recaptured, the Executive Director shall quarterly allocate the income from the project so as to allocate to the Section as its funds two-thirds of the net income and to the Association one-third of the income.
1.7 Procedures for Section Awards and Citations. If its purposes, criteria and procedures are approved by the Executive Committee, a Section may make a periodic or occasional award for distinguished scholarship or service. In its application for approval, the Section shall state the purpose of the award, demonstrate that the purpose is germane to the Section’s and the Association’s purposes, describe how the award competition is to be announced and how nominations may be made, state who is to select the recipient and how the award selection committee is to be selected, state the timetable for the selection process and demonstrate that it provides adequate time for the process. After the President has determined that the Section followed its approved criteria and procedures, an award may be announced.
CHAPTER 2. STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
2.1 Establishment of Committees. Standing and Special Committees of the Association are established and appointed as provided in Section 5-3(h) of the Association Bylaws.
2.2 Meetings. Meetings of an Association committee shall be scheduled by the Executive Director in consultation with the Chair of the committee. Except for meetings scheduled in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, committees will ordinarily meet at the Association’s national office.
2.3 Communications With Law Schools and With Other Organizations.
a. Committees may recommend to the Executive Committee Association policies and positions. Unless specifically authorized by the Bylaws, Executive Committee Regulations, or the Executive Committee, no committee may take a position on behalf of the Association. A committee may, however, submit to the Executive Committee a recommendation that the Association take a stated position.
b. When appropriate to the work of the committee, a committee may communicate with deans and faculty of ABA-approved schools for the purpose of gathering information or consulting with them, but such communications must have the prior approval of the Executive Director. Any draft position or statement contained in these communications shall include a notation that the statement has not been adopted by the Association.
c. Any survey or questionnaire that a committee distributes shall be submitted in advance to the Executive Director and may not be distributed without the prior approval of the Executive Director, who shall act in consultation with the President.
d. Unless specifically authorized to do so, a committee may not communicate to a member school the committee’s views concerning the school’s compliance with the rules of membership, or concerning the quality or characteristics of the school’s educational program or institutional policies.
e. A committee may not become a member of another organization or join with an organization outside the Association in sponsoring a program or project, unless it obtains prior approval from the Executive Committee.
f. A committee may not file a brief amicus curiae.
2.4 Outside Funding Agencies. All applications for or grants from outside funding sources are made only in the name of the Association. No committee may itself make any application for or receive funding from an outside source.
a. A committee may make preliminary contacts regarding a possible grant with an outside funding source only after receiving the approval of the Executive Director, based on his or her finding that the proposed activity and the communication with the particular funding agency serve the interests of the Association. If the Executive Director disapproves a committee’s request to make these preliminary contacts, the committee may have its request placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Association Executive Committee.
b. After approved preliminary contacts have been made, a committee may ask the Association Executive Committee to make formal application for a grant from an outside funding source in the name of the Association.
2.5 Finances. The Executive Committee may appropriate Association funds to support the activities of committees. Except for the ordinary travel expenses of committee members, a committee may not commit the payment of or use of Association funds without the approval of the Executive Director or Executive Committee.
2.6 Reports and Minutes of Standing Committees.
a. At the end of each year, the Chair of a standing committee shall submit to the Association a brief report of the activities of the committee.
b. Each committee shall provide for the keeping of minutes of its meetings. The minutes and recommendations shall be submitted to the Executive Committee through the Executive Director. The records of committees shall be subject to policies of the Association concerning Association records as contained in Chapter 5.
CHAPTER 3. ASSOCIATION FINANCES-MEMBERSHIP DUES
3.1 Annual Dues. Each year each member school shall pay membership dues to the Association. For the calendar year 2012, the dues shall be $6,660 for a school whose enrollment does not exceed 250 students; $9,985 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 250 students but does not exceed 500 students; $13,330 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 500 students but does not exceed 800 students; $16,630 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 800 students but does not exceed 1,100 students; $19,975 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 1,100 students but does not exceed 1,400 students; $23,290 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 1,400 students but does not exceed 1,700 students; and $26,630 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 1,700 students.
3.2 Determining Enrollment. To determine a member school’s enrollment for purposes of computing the amount of dues the school shall pay to the Association, the school shall use the following rules and definitions:
a. The applicable enrollment date to be used is the date in the fall preceding the dues year in question that the American Bar Association specifies in its annual law school questionnaire as the date to be used in reporting the school’s enrollment to it.
b. “Student” means a person enrolled in a law school course to obtain credit towards a degree supervised by the faculty of the member school, whether the degree is the first professional degree or other degree, but does not include a person enrolled only as a candidate for a degree in another school or college who is auditing or taking a law school course for credit on that degree nor a lawyer enrolled in a non-credit continuing legal education offering of the member school.
c. The number of students enrolled shall be determined by counting each person enrolled in the full-time program as one student and each person enrolled in the part-time program as three-fourths of a student. If a person is enrolled for nine or less credit hours in the full-time program or six or less credit hours in the part-time program and is charged two-thirds or less the tuition charged a student carrying the normal load in that program, the person shall be counted as two-thirds of a student if that person is enrolled in the full-time program and as half of a student if that person is enrolled in the part-time program.
CHAPTER 4. PROCEDURES FOR COMMITTEE ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND TENURE
4.1 Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (hereinafter referred to as CAFT) is a standing committee created by the Executive Committee pursuant to Association Bylaw Section 5-3(h). CAFT has jurisdiction to consider matters involving academic freedom and tenure of faculty members under Association Bylaw Section 6-6(d), and discrimination against a faculty member under Association Bylaw Section 6-3.
4.2 Definition of Faculty. For purposes of this chapter, “faculty member” means a professional who is or was tenured, on the tenure track, or, although not on the tenure track, engaged in teaching or scholarship, including work in a clinical or research and writing program at a member school.
4.3 Academic Freedom Defined. Bylaw Section 6-6(d) provides: “A faculty member shall have academic freedom and tenure in accordance with the principles of the American Association of University Professors.” Those principles are defined by the American Association of University Professors’ 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the Interpretive Comments adopted in 1970. Specifically, the Association of American Law Schools adopts the position of the 1970 Interpretive Comments that: “most church-related institutions no longer need or desire the departure from the principles of academic freedom implied in the 1940 Statement, and we do not now endorse such a departure.”
4.4 Basis for Complaint.
a. A complaint that a member school has violated a faculty member’s academic freedom or tenure rights under Bylaw Section 6-6(d) or discriminated against a faculty member under Bylaw Section 6-3 shall be sent to the Executive Director of the Association.
b. Upon inquiry from a faculty member about filing a complaint or upon receipt of a complaint if there is not such inquiry, the Executive Director will inform the complaining party that it is the AALS' policy to encourage mediation and that parties should explore mediation before filing of a complaint. If a complaint is received, the Executive Director shall also inform all other potential parties.
c. Whether or not mediation is chosen at or before the filing of a complaint, it is an alternative to continuing with the complaint at any time in the process should the parties so agree.
d. If a complaint is filed after or instead of mediation, the Executive Director shall refer the complaint to the Chair of CAFT. Unless the complaint is in writing and signed by the aggrieved party, CAFT may not consider it.
4.5 Confidentiality. All matters and material relating to a complaint and proceedings undertaken pursuant thereto shall be treated as confidential. A person receiving any of these materials may not show, read, or deliver them to a person not authorized under this chapter to receive them unless required by law. The Chair of CAFT or the Executive Director may make material available to the parties, their counsel, CAFT, the Executive Committee, Consultant on Legal Education to the American Bar Association, and other persons whom the Chair determines may be significantly affected by the proceeding. After final determination by CAFT, the President of the Association, after consulting with the Chair, shall determine which, if any, of these materials may be made public, in light of the interests of all affected individuals and institutions. If information purported to originate from CAFT proceedings becomes public at any time, the President, after consulting with the Chair, may release such information as is necessary to clarify or correct what has become public if the interests of the Association or the parties will be served thereby.
4.6 Initial Review of Complaint. The Chair shall initially review all complaints. If the Chair determines that a complaint is not within the jurisdiction of CAFT or on its face is insubstantial, the Chair shall report that determination with reasons to CAFT. CAFT may overrule the Chair’s decision by a majority vote of the whole committee. If the Chair’s decision is not overruled by CAFT, the Chair shall dismiss the complaint and so inform the complainant. If the complaint is not dismissed, the Chair shall appoint a subcommittee of CAFT and refer the matter to it. The Chair shall then send a copy of the complaint to the member school against which the complaint has been filed and shall notify all parties of the appointment of the subcommittee.
4.7 Role of Subcommittee.
a. If a subcommittee is appointed, it shall promptly consider the complaint. As the subcommittee finds appropriate, it may consult with the parties, gather additional information from relevant sources, and invite written responses from the parties. Except for extraordinary circumstances, the subcommittee may not visit the institution.
b. On the basis of its consideration, the subcommittee shall submit to CAFT a written Report recommending: (1) either that the complaint should be dismissed or (2) a finding that there has been a violation of the Association’s Bylaws or (3) that the matter be set down for a hearing to resolve any facts necessary to a final determination. The Report shall set forth its conclusions and reasons as well as its recommendations and, if it recommends a hearing, shall indicate what factual questions should be addressed at that hearing.
c. The subcommittee’s Report shall be provided to the parties.
d. Any party who so desires may respond to the subcommittee’s Report in such order as the Chair of CAFT shall determine by filing a submission with the Executive Director, who shall distribute the submission to CAFT.
4.8 CAFT Review of Subcommittee Report.
a. CAFT shall review the subcommittee’s report and the parties’ submissions in response thereto. Unless CAFT finds that further subcommittee action is appropriate, it shall (1) find as a matter of law that the complaint should be dismissed or (2) find as a matter of law that there has been a violation of the Association’s Bylaws or (3) determine that the matter be set down for a hearing to resolve any facts necessary to a final determination by CAFT.
b. In making its determination, CAFT may accept or reject the recommendation of the subcommittee, in whole or in part, as CAFT shall determine appropriate.
c. In the event that CAFT determines either that the complaint should be dismissed without a hearing or a violation should be found without a hearing, CAFT shall issue a Report to that effect, which shall be provided to the parties and forwarded to the Executive Committee in conformity with 4.13. Should a violation be found by CAFT, such a Report shall recommend what action should be taken against the member school.
d. In the event that CAFT determines that a hearing is necessary before resolution of the matter, it shall formulate a charge indicating what factual questions should be addressed at that hearing for submission to a Hearing Examiner to be appointed in accordance with 4.10.
4.9 CAFT Resolution of Merits. The Chair of CAFT shall notify the Executive Director who shall then notify the parties of CAFT’s determination and decision and what action CAFT recommends should be taken against the member school.
4.10 Appointment of Hearing Examiner.
a. If CAFT finds that it cannot resolve all issues of material fact to determine whether a violation has occurred, the Chair in consultation with the President shall appoint a Hearing Examiner. The Chair shall inform the Executive Director of the appointment and the charge to the Hearing Examiner.
b. The Executive Director shall promptly inform the parties of CAFT’s decision, the name of the Hearing Examiner, the charge to the Hearing Examiner and the probable date and place of the hearing.
4.11 Hearing; Hearing Examiner’s Report.
a. The Hearing Examiner shall hold a hearing on the disputed issues of material fact as defined by CAFT at the earliest convenient time and place and promptly inform the parties of the time and place.
b. The hearing shall be informal. The parties are entitled to be represented by counsel, present testimony and other evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts, and hear all oral statements and receive copies of all documents submitted to the Hearing Examiner. Any oral or documentary evidence may be received, but the Hearing Examiner may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence. Unless otherwise agreed by all parties or as otherwise required by law, the public is not entitled to be present at the hearing. The hearing shall be recorded; the recording, or a written transcript thereof, shall be available to the parties, CAFT, and the Executive Committee.
c. The Hearing Examiner shall promptly report the findings regarding disputed issues of material fact and a summary of the evidence to the Chair. The Chair shall send copies of the Hearing Examiner’s report to the Executive Director, who will forthwith transmit it to CAFT and the parties.
4.12 CAFT Action on Hearing Examiner’s Report.
a. Upon receiving the Hearing Examiner’s report, the parties may submit further written statements. Upon the basis of the Hearing Examiner’s report, the subcommittee’s report, and the submissions of the parties, CAFT shall determine whether a violation has occurred and, if so, what action, if any, CAFT recommends should be taken against the institution.
b. The Chair shall notify the parties and the Executive Director of CAFT’s determination whether a violation has occurred and, if so, what action CAFT recommends should be taken against the member school.
4.13 Executive Committee Review. The Executive Committee shall review all reports from CAFT. The Executive Committee shall accept factual findings of CAFT unless the Executive Committee determines that these findings are clearly erroneous. In all other matters, the Executive Committee may make an independent determination.
4.14 Sanctions and Remedies. CAFT may recommend to the Executive Committee sanctions to be taken against a member school for violations of the Association’s Bylaws concerning academic freedom and tenure or employment discrimination, and may propose remedies for such violations. Possible sanctions include censure of a member school, placement of the member school on probation, suspension of the member school, or exclusion of the school from membership, and may include the imposition of remedial conditions for the reduction or termination of sanctions. Possible remedies may include, but are not limited to, reinstatement and back pay. CAFT may recommend to the Executive Committee action to be taken by a member school to bring its procedures and policies into compliance with the Association’s Bylaws Sections 6-6(d) and 6-3. The provisions of Article 7 on sanctions of the Association’s Bylaws shall apply.
4.15 Suspension of CAFT Proceedings. Proceedings before CAFT may be suspended when a party to the proceedings files or has filed a claim in another forum if the Chair, with the concurrence of the President, determines that continuation of proceedings may materially prejudice either of the parties and that the interests of Bylaw Sections 6-6(d) and 6-3 will be thus served.
4.16 Complainant’s Advocate. Upon the convening of a subcommittee, a complainant may choose any person to serve as his or her advocate. On request, the Association shall, consistent with the Association’s travel reimbursement policies, pay the advocate’s reasonable travel expenses.
CHAPTER 5. ACCESS TO ASSOCIATION MEETINGS AND DOCUMENTS
5.1 Definition. Unless the context requires otherwise, “document” means report, memorandum, letter, or any other writing or communication in any form or format.
5.2 Chapter Subject to Other Rules. This chapter is subject to special rules found in Chapter 4 (Procedures for Academic Freedom and Tenure Cases) and in other Executive Committee regulations.
5.3 Access to Association Meetings. Upon payment of the registration fee, any individual may attend a program presented at the Association’s Annual Meeting. Upon payment of any registration fee, a legal educator or administrator at a member school may attend any other Association program or committee meeting, unless the matter under discussion concerns (a) the membership review of a particular school, (b) a complaint filed with the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, (c) the professional competence, qualifications, or performance of a current or potential officer or committee member or member of the Association’s staff, (d) litigation in which the Association is a party, or (e) a matter declared especially sensitive by the President. The right to attend a meeting does not necessarily include the right to speak or otherwise to participate in the meeting.
5.4 Classification of Association Documents.
a. A document must be classified as either public or confidential. Unless a document is classified confidential, it must be classified public.
b. A document shall be classified confidential if it relates to (i) the professional credentials, performance, or competence of an identified or identifiable individual, who is a present, former, or potential officer, member of an Association committee, or staff, (ii) an alleged violation of academic freedom or tenure or discrimination in employment by a member or other law school, (iii) litigation in which the Association is a party, (iv) materials received in confidence from other organizations, (v) a sensitive matter affecting the Association’s relations with another organization, government agency, or individual, or (vi) other matters that would unduly invade the privacy of individuals or organizations if released. If a document is a report on a site evaluation visit of an applicant or member law school or relates to the evaluation of a member or applicant school’s compliance with the requirements for membership, it shall be classified confidential subject to the special provisions of 5.6 below. However, if a law applicable to a state law school makes the site evaluation report or other documents relating to the school a public document, it is a public document.
c. The Executive Director shall classify each document according to this chapter. If the Executive Director is in doubt as to the appropriate classification of a document, the Executive Director shall consult the President, who shall classify the report.
5.5 Access to Association Documents. A public document may be obtained by anyone, upon payment of the applicable copying charge. A confidential document may be distributed only to present members of the Executive Committee, to appropriate Association committees and staff, and to those whom the President expressly determines that the individual’s receipt would serve the interests of the Association.
5.6 Access to a Site Evaluation Report and Executive Committee Response Thereto.
a. The site evaluation report on a member or applicant law school made on behalf of the Association, whether or not it is made on behalf of the American Bar Association also, shall be furnished to the dean of the school and the President of the institution. They shall be informed that the report is not for publication, but in the spirit of Bylaw Section 6-5, nothing in these regulations limits or impedes them from showing or giving a copy of the report to members of the full-time faculty and professional staff of the law school and the governing board and to officials in the university administration who have official reason to see the report.
b. The dean shall review the site evaluation report to determine whether it contains criticism of the professional performance, competence, or the behavior of an identifiable member of the school’s full-time faculty or professional staff. If the report contains this criticism, the dean shall make available to the person concerned the germane extract of the report and shall send the Executive Director a copy of the transmitting letter and of the extract. The member of the faculty or professional staff criticized in the report is entitled to submit in writing his or her comments on the statement in the report to the individuals who have received the report.
c. The dean of the law school and President of the institution shall be provided with the resolution or minute adopted by the Executive Committee in response to the site evaluation report and shall be informed that the resolution or minute may be published. The dean and President shall also be informed that those persons to whom subsection (a) authorizes them to show or give a copy of the inspection report are entitled to read or receive a copy of the resolution or minute. If denied access to the resolution or minute, a member of the full-time faculty may obtain a copy of the Association’s response from the Association’s office.
5.7 Access for Research. The Executive Director may provide a researcher with access to or copies of confidential Association documents if the researcher demonstrates that the researcher and the project are qualified and signs an agreement that safeguards will be established to assure the integrity and security of the documents. The factors that shall be considered in determining whether the researcher is qualified include the researcher’s experience, education, and training. The factors that shall be used in determining whether the research project is qualified include the research design, relevance of the confidential documents to the research project, and plans for the research report. The confidential documents must be relevant to the project and its purpose, the research project must relate to legal or higher education or the legal profession, and the research design must assure that the report does not contain data in a form that identifies or makes identifiable a member or other law school or individual. If the Executive Director determines that the researcher’s access should be to copies instead of the documents themselves, the researcher shall pay the reasonable cost of the copying.
5.8 Reclassifying Confidential Reports. The Executive Director shall periodically review confidential Association documents to determine which should be reclassified as public. The Executive Director may reclassify individual or groups of documents where the reasons for the classification as confidential no longer exist. Among the factors that the Executive Director should take into account in taking this action are the age of the document and the present circumstances.
5.9 Access to Documents of Other Organizations in the Association’s Possession. Access to confidential documents in the Association’s possession and prepared for or by the American Bar Association or other organization, including documents prepared for use by the other organization and the Association, may be obtained only upon compliance with the other organization’s requirements and, in the case of a joint document, the Association’s requirements as well.
5.10 Access to Reports by Member or Other Law Schools. An individual who wishes access to documents prepared by a member or other law school which is in the Association’s possession shall apply to the Executive Director in writing designating the school, the kind of document, and the research or other purposes sought to be served. Upon receipt of the request, the Executive Director shall inform the dean of the law school of the request. If the dean grants the request in writing, the Executive Director shall make the documents available. If the school is no longer in existence and there is no successor school, the Executive Director shall grant access unless circumstances indicate material privacy interests would be compromised by doing so. If the Executive Director determines that it is more appropriate to provide the access by copies, the individual shall pay a reasonable copying charge.
6-2.1 Evaluation of Applicants for Admission to the J.D. Program. In determining whether an applicant has the capacity to meet its academic standards, a member school shall consider the applicant’s undergraduate academic record, experience, and an admission test score or other indicia in a manner consistent with Bylaw 6-3. A decision to admit an applicant may be supported by a carefully evaluated academic record earned outside the United States. While an applicant’s dismissal or withdrawal from a law school, even if the result of low scholarship, may not necessarily indicate a lack of capacity to meet the admitting school’s academic standards, the admitting school must, nevertheless, require each applicant to make full written disclosure concerning prior attendance at any law school.
6-2.2 Financial Consideration. A member school may not permit financial considerations to distort its overall admissions policies either by admitting students who may appear to lack the capacity to meet the school’s academic standards to achieve enrollment targets or by making admissions determinations premised on student financial needs.
6-2.3 Recruitment. A member school shall provide to anyone requesting an application the following information: recent historical data regarding the academic qualifications of its student body, attrition rate, student activities and groups, and employment patterns of its graduates; and information concerning the school’s grading system, retention rules and procedures, nondiscrimination policies, and financial aid programs and policies.
6-2.4 Conditions of Admission. A member school may not distort an applicant’s choice of school by requiring an early response or a deposit beyond that necessary to protect the school and other applicants’ opportunities for admission or financial aid.
6-3.1 Law Schools with a Religious Affiliation or Purpose. It is not inconsistent with Bylaw Section 6-3(a) for a law school with a religious affiliation or purpose to adopt preferential admissions and employment practices that directly relate to the school’s religious affiliation or purpose so long as (1) notice of the practices is provided to members of the law school community (students, faculty and staff) before their affiliation with the school; (2) the practices do not interfere with the school’s provision of satisfactory legal education as provided for in these bylaws and regulations, whether because of lack of a sufficient intellectual diversity or for any other reason; (3) the practices are in compliance with Executive Committee Regulation Chapter 4.3, on Academic Freedom, as well as all other Bylaws and Executive Committee Regulations; (4) the practices do not discriminate on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation; and (5) the practices contain neither a blanket exclusion nor a limitation on the number of persons admitted or employed on religious grounds.
6-3.2 The Obligation to Provide Equal Opportunity to Obtain Employment Without Discrimination.
a. A member school shall inform employers of its obligation under Bylaw 6-3(b), and shall require employers, as a condition of obtaining any form of placement assistance or use of the school’s facilities, to provide an assurance of the employer’s willingness to observe the principles of equal opportunity stated in Bylaw 6-3(b).
b. A member school has an obligation to investigate any complaints concerning discriminatory practices against its students to assure that placement assistance and facilities are made available only to employers whose practices are consistent with the principles of equal opportunity stated in Bylaw 6-3(b).
6-4.1 Full-time Faculty Requirement. A member school demonstrates compliance with Bylaw 6-4(d) if in each division of its program, the school’s full-time faculty offer at least two-thirds of the credit hours or student-contact hours leading to the J.D. degree.
6-4.2 Limits on Outside Professional Activities. To determine whether outside professional activities are properly limited so as not to divert a full-time faculty member from the primary interest and duty as a legal educator, the following factors should be considered:
(i) The extent to which the outside activity coincides with the full-time teacher’s major fields of interest as a teacher and scholar;
(ii) The character of the professional activity as a source of novel and enriching experience that can be directly utilized in the person’s capacity as teacher and scholar;
(iii) The degree to which the demands of the outside activity interfere with the teacher’s regular presence in the law school and availability for consultation and interchange with students and colleagues; and
(iv) The extent to which the outside activity may properly be characterized as public service, as distinct from the pursuit of private purposes.
6-7.1 The Juris Doctor Degree Program.
a. A member school shall require, as a condition for award of the Juris Doctor degree, completion of a course of study in residence equivalent to six semesters for full-time students or equivalent to eight semesters for part-time students. The semester shall consist of a sufficient number of consecutive weeks of instruction (including preparation for and the taking of examinations) to assure a course of study that is adequately rigorous and of suitable scope to achieve the goals of Bylaw 6-7(a).
b. A member school shall arrange the curriculum and class schedule of its full-time program to require substantially the full working time of students enrolled therein. It is not inconsistent with this regulation for a law school to have, for example, different length semesters for first year students than for upper-class students, as well as mini-semesters and summer sessions.
6-7.2 Inappropriate Curricular Restrictions. A member school may not operate as though it were a commercial enterprise, relating its staff’s compensation to the number of students taught or to the fees received.
6-7.3 The Juris Doctor Degree Program in Special Circumstances. Schools may modify the normal duration of the Juris Doctor program to accommodate special circumstances of individual students. For example, schools that offer only a full-time program may establish a part-time program for an individual student with special needs. Thus, a law school may authorize a student to graduate in more than six semesters if a full-time student or eight semesters if a part-time student, if that student needs to take a reduced course load for one or more semesters. Similarly, in order to accommodate special circumstances of an individual student, a law school may authorize a student to graduate in fewer than six semesters if a full-time student, or eight semesters if a part-time student if that student carried a heavy course load in one or more semesters. In order to attain the goals of the Juris Doctor program articulated in Bylaw Section 6-7(a), a member school shall establish minimum and maximum limits on the duration of its program to assure that those individual students with special needs complete their course of study within a reasonable time.
6-7.4 Joint Degree Program. A member school may reduce the number of law school credit hours required for the Juris Doctor degree for those students who are completing a graduate degree in another field in a joint degree program, planned to assure appropriate integration of law with the other discipline if the law faculty approves the program as equivalent to its first professional degree program in rigor and pertinence to the study of law.
6-7.5 Academic Credit Earned at Another Institution.
a. In awarding a Juris Doctor degree, a member school may grant a student academic credit up to the equivalent of three semesters for full-time students or up to four semesters for part-time students, for work successfully completed at another member school and two semesters for full-time students or 2.6 semesters for part-time students for work successfully completed at a nonmember law school. Advanced standing for foreign study may be granted to a student being admitted to the law school either initially or as a transfer student but it shall not exceed one year.
b. If a member school permits a student who has already matriculated to earn academic credit for course work offered by a foreign institution, the academic credit allowed must be commensurate with the time and effort expended and the educational benefits derived by the student. In no case may a student obtain more than two semesters of academic credit for participation in foreign programs. The full-time faculty must approve each program in advance and shall periodically review the program for its academic content and benefit. For individual student-initiated study abroad, for which academic credit is sought, a full-time faculty member shall monitor each student’s experience to assure that the educational goals of the member school are being met.
c. A member school may seek a variance from the limitation of two semester credit for foreign study from the Executive Director, subject to review by the Executive Committee if the school and the foreign school have established, or seek to establish, a joint degree program by which students may receive degrees from both institutions by recognizing more than one semester’s credit at each as applicable toward their degrees.
6-7.6 Other Programs. A member school may provide other educational programs so long as the first professional degree program is not impaired. Before establishing such a program, the requirements of Executive Committee Regulation 8.2, Change of Operation of a School, should be reviewed to determine whether they apply.
6-7.7 Study and Instruction. A member school shall maintain a program of study and instruction approved by the full-time faculty. A member school may employ adjunct faculty primarily in advanced and specialized offerings if it maintains effective procedures for their selection, orientation and evaluation.
6-7.8 Evaluation of Student Performance. Evaluation of student performance shall, in primary part, be based on written work, such as written examinations, research papers, drafting exercises, or briefs. In addition, student performance may be evaluated on demonstrated ability to investigate, counsel, interview, negotiate, litigate, and to perform other lawyering activities.
6-7.9 Course content.
a. In order to effectively implement Bylaw 6-7(a), member schools shall offer courses in a wide variety of subject matters, and provide students with an opportunity to study some areas of the law in depth and to gain an understanding of the lawyer’s professional responsibility. Further, member schools are encouraged to offer instruction that develops jurisprudential, transnational, multicultural, and interdisciplinary perspectives on law, lawmaking, and legal practice.
b. In order to effectively implement Bylaw 6-7(c), member schools shall offer instruction that provides students with an opportunity to develop the skills of legal research, written and oral communication, and critical analysis of primary legal materials. Further, member schools are encouraged to offer additional instruction in dispute resolution, planning and problem solving, drafting and counseling.
6-7.10 Externship Programs.
a. If a member school offers opportunities for students to obtain credit for educationally worthwhile experiences obtained in a legal office, including, but not limited to, clerkships with the judiciary, public policy institutes, legislative bodies, international organizations, or legal practice settings, the academic credit allowed must be commensurate with the time and effort expended and the educational benefits derived by the student.
b. In order to ensure the academic value of externship programs, a member law school with an externship program shall set out the goals and methods of the program and explain how the program’s structure is designed to achieve those goals. The faculty shall approve the introduction of any such program and remain responsible for ensuring that the program is meeting its objectives.
c. Member schools are encouraged to include an academic component designed to prepare students to participate effectively as externs and to enable students to derive substantial educational benefits from their externship. The academic component should be taught by one who has the necessary expertise and who is selected and reviewed in the same manner as persons responsible for teaching other courses in the academic program.
6-8.1 Library Governance.
a. In order to ensure that the library policies appropriately reflect and advance the teaching and research objectives of the law school, the library shall formulate its policies with faculty participation.
b. The law library shall have sufficient autonomy within the university in matters of administration, including budget and personnel, to assure a high standard of service.
6-8.2 Planning. A member school, with the participation of the librarian and faculty, shall prepare, periodically review, and implement a written plan of library development, identifying in detail steps appropriate and resources sufficient to achieve its objectives, including appropriate growth of the collection, sufficient personnel to provide services, suitable physical facilities, and an effective system for facilitating access to materials.
6-8.3 Maintaining Physical Condition of Collection. The law library shall assure the preservation of its collection, including binding, restoring, and microforming. It shall also have a preservation program to maintain any unique hard copy materials it possesses.
6-8.4 Access to Information Resources. In order to support and encourage the instruction and research of its faculty and students, the law library shall offer reasonable access in terms of time and form to a wide array of matters including central collections, databases, jointly held special collections, numerous supportive interdisciplinary materials, and other types of off-site auxiliary resources.
6-8.5 Conditions Conducive to Library Use.
a. The law library shall be designed, organized, equipped, operated, and have adequate space to contribute to efficient, comfortable, and productive use by its patrons, and to provide access to appropriate research technology.
b. The law library shall be designed, organized, and equipped to enable its staff to carry out research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities. The director of the library shall be provided with a separate and conveniently located office to allow for interaction among the director, staff and students.
6-8.6 Staffing of the Library.
a. The director of the library should have both legal and library education and should be a full participating member of the faculty.
b. A member school shall have at least one professional librarian in attendance at all times when there is substantial use of the library.
6-9.1 Technology Planning. In order to ensure that member schools take appropriate advantage of available technology to enhance classroom instruction, the research needs of their faculty and students, and the administrative systems supporting the school’s programs, a member school, with the participation of the faculty, shall prepare, implement, and maintain a written plan for the introduction, use, and replacement of technology. This plan shall identify in detail the steps appropriate and the resources sufficient to achieve its objectives.
6-9.2 Faculty Support. In order to allow interaction between faculty and students and to enhance faculty research, the law school shall provide each full-time faculty member with a separate and conveniently located office.
6-10.1 Fundraising. Any funds raised by or on behalf of a member school should be used for program enrichment and not as a replacement for basic university support.
CHAPTER 7. PROCEDURES FOR ADMISSION TO OR WITHDRAWAL FROM MEMBERSHIP IN THE ASSOCIATION; PROCEDURES FOR APPEALS FROM DECISIONS TO NOT RECOMMEND MEMBERSHIP OR TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS
7.1 Application for Membership.
a. Time for Making Application. A law school seeking membership shall, at least 21 months before the Annual Meeting at which it seeks to have its application for membership considered by the House of Representatives, notify the Executive Director of its intention to file an application, 13 months before that Annual Meeting it shall file a notice of readiness, and at least 11 months before that Annual Meeting shall file its application for membership.
b. When a School Is Eligible to Be Admitted. A law school may not be admitted to membership in the Association until it has offered five years of instruction and has graduated its third class.
c. Application Fee-Site Evaluation Expenses. An applicant for membership in the Association shall upon making application pay an application fee of $20,000. The applicant school shall also reimburse each member of the team who inspects the school in connection with the application for all expenses reasonably incurred in making the site evaluation and preparing the site evaluation report and the member of the site evaluation team designated to confer with the Membership Review Committee concerning the site evaluation for all expenses reasonably incurred in attending the conference with the Membership Review Committee.
d. Withdrawal of Application for Membership. A law school that has applied for membership may withdraw its application without prejudice at any time before a final decision on its application is made by the Executive Committee. A law school that withdraws its application for membership after an Executive Committee decision to deny the application shall not be permitted to renew its application or file a new application until 24 months thereafter.
7.2 Appeals from Executive Committee Decision to Not Recommend Membership or to Impose Sanctions.
a. Appeal by Applicant for Membership. If after consideration of a law school’s application for membership and reports in connection therewith, the Executive Committee decides not to recommend that the House of Representatives admit the school to membership, the applicant school may appeal this decision to the House by giving written notice thereof to the Executive Director within ten days after notice of the decision is mailed to the applicant school. The appeal shall be on the ground that the Executive Committee improperly applied a bylaw or Executive Committee regulation to the school and its program in determining not to recommend the school for membership.
b. Appeal by Member School from Action by the Executive Committee Under Bylaw Secs. 7-2 and 7-3. A member school may appeal to the House of Representatives a decision of the Executive Committee to censure a school or place it on probation by filing a written notice of appeal with the Executive Director within 20 days after notice of the censure or probation by the Executive Committee is given [Bylaw 7-2(b)]. If the Executive Committee recommends that the House of Representatives suspend or exclude a member school, the Executive Committee shall give the member school written notice of its recommendation at least one month before the House of Representatives meets to consider the recommendation [Bylaw 7-3].
c. Procedures for Consideration of Appeals Under Either a or b.
1. The Executive Director shall prepare a statement of the pertinent facts concerning the school and its program. If the President of the Association and the dean of the law school cannot agree to the statement, the President, after consulting the dean and chief executive officer of its institution, shall designate an impartial person to prepare the statement. This person shall determine the procedure for formulating this statement. The school shall pay the cost of preparing the statement of facts.
2. Within 10 days after the statement of facts is formulated, the Executive Director shall send it to the members of the House. The Executive Director shall also send to the House the statements prepared on behalf of the school that is bringing the appeal and the Executive Committee describing, in the case of an applicant school, the different interpretations of the bylaw and Executive Committee regulation and the reasons thereof, and, in the case of a sanctioned member, the opposing arguments concerning whether the school is materially failing to meet the requirements of membership and whether it has taken or is taking steps that will bring it into compliance, and when.
3. At the next Annual Meeting held 20 or more days after these statements are mailed, the House shall consider the appeal. The President shall take the steps necessary to assure the orderly and fair consideration of the appeal by the House. Representatives of the school are entitled to the privileges of the floor during the consideration of its appeal by the House. The pendency of the appeal does not preclude further consideration of the issues by the Executive Committee on its own motion and consequent modification of its action or recommendation.
7.3 Withdrawal from Membership. A member school may withdraw from membership (1) by non-payment of membership dues [Bylaw 2-3[b]], or (2) by sending written notice of withdrawal, signed by the dean of the law school and the chief executive officer of the sponsoring institution, to the Executive Director (no refund of membership dues will be allowed in the event of withdrawal).
CHAPTER 8. RECORDS AND REPORTS
8.1 Compliance Reports. A member school is obligated to make reports periodically or on particular occasions as may be directed by the Executive Committee to disclose whether or not it has fulfilled the obligations of membership in the Association.
8.2 Change of Operation of a School.
a. A member school which contemplates a significant change in its operation shall report its plans and undergo review as specified below. A significant change in operation means a major programmatic, locational, or institutional change, including but not limited to the following: creation of a new full- or part-time first degree program; creation of a new division; establishment of a branch at a new location; relocation of the school’s principal campus to a new and substantially different site; the transfer in whole or part of the school and its program to a new entity; merger with a university or education entity which had not previously been affiliated with the school; creation of or affiliation with a related or subsidiary educational entity for the purpose of providing legal education; and closure of a school or a related or subsidiary education entity.
b. A member school shall report fully to the Executive Committee and allow for Executive Committee review before implementing a significant change in operation. The school’s report shall address its present fulfillment of the Association’s requirements and declared policies; the school’s objectives in making the proposed change; the character of the change; the effects of the change on the school’s existing program and operations; and the school’s anticipated ability to comply with membership requirements in connection with its implementation of the proposed change and the school’s future operations. However, in the case of a (1) transfer in whole or part of the school and its program to a new entity, (2) merger, (3) affiliation with a university or education entity that had not previously been connected with the school, or (4) change in the governance structure of a law school, the member school may, if circumstances justify delay, notify and report to the Executive Committee immediately after the transfer, merger, affiliation, or change in governance structure has occurred. When the school’s circumstances justify delay reporting to the Executive Committee, the report should also identify and explain those circumstances.
c. The Executive Committee shall review the report of the member school to determine whether the school is in compliance with the requirements of membership, and whether it appears that the school will continue to be so with regard to all facets of its operation after the change is made. The Executive Committee may reach a decision on these questions or may defer a final determination pending receipt of additional information concerning the school’s initial experience in implementing the change. The Executive Committee may require an inspection of the school at the school’s expense to assist it in making this determination. If the Executive Committee requires such an inspection of a member school that has completed a transfer, merger, affiliation, or change in governance structure, the member school’s membership in the Association will be continued contingent on the school’s remaining in compliance with the Association’s membership requirements.
d. If, in the course of its review, the Executive Committee concludes that the proposed change involves a sufficient modification of the school so as to warrant separate consideration of the change for membership review purposes, it may advise the school that additional review under Chapter 7 of these regulations will be required before a final determination can be made concerning the membership status of the school or certain of its affiliated programs. In making this determination, the Executive Committee shall consider such elements as existing arrangements and anticipated changes in the character of the school’s educational programs; student recruitment and enrollment patterns; faculty hiring, teaching assignments and participation in governance; relationships between the dean, faculty, other administrators, staff and students; arrangements for provision of educational, library and student services; and financial and institutional relationships between the school and related entities.