ABA Standards for Technology in Law Schools

  • Are standards the way to influence technology in law schools?
  • Technology is moving very quickly. The standards we set today will be out of date tomorrow.
  • Standards for Approval for ABA Schools… Technology is in the Chaper 7 Facilities Section.
  • Proposed Standard 704 is at the bottom of this post.
  • There are other section that impact technology in other sections of the standard.
  • The standards are supposed to be vague so that the site visit committee can give the visitors some latitude when they make recommendations to the Deans.
  • "Technology needs to be innovative in supporting the pedagogical goals of the faculty" – Seattle U Associate Dean.
  • Is one standard appropriate for all law schools. Different standards for different types of law schools?
  • Proposed ABA Standards are minimum standards.
  • A possible good approach would be a best practices approach.
  • ken@law.duke.edu – to create a AALS section for law school IT.
  • Possibly benchmark against other professions (Business & Medical).
  • The standards would aim to set minimum levels for student learning (Wordprocessing, Email, Legal System, e-filing…). Also standards for technology.
  • Some schools have tech boot camps to get people up to the same level.
  • Three actions items 1. AALS section, 2. technology survey in annual AALS survey, 3. Tech committe to recommend changes to 704.


Standard 704.  Technological Capacities

A law school shall have the technological capacities that are adequate for both its current program of legal education and for growth anticipated in the immediate future.

Interpretation 704-1
Inadequate technological capacities are those that have a negative and material effect on the education students receive.

Interpretation 704-2
Adequate technological capacity shall include:

  1. sufficient and up-to-date hardware and software resources and infrastructure to support the teaching, scholarship, research, service and administrative needs of the school;

  2. sufficient staff support and space for staff operations; and

  3. sufficient financial resources to adapt new technology as appropriate.

The ABA is soliciting comments on this proposal. Comments can be directed to Stephen Yandle, Deputy Consultant, yandles@staff.abanet.org, by May 3, 2005.

At some point, "adequate" and "sufficient" need clarification so managers can allocate funds for technology needs. I don’t expect to see that happen now. The connection between emerging information and presentation technologies is too intimately tied to faculties, many of which simply can not be retrofitted because cost issues. These school need a vague standard otherwise they would be put in the position of needing new facilities to be in compliance.


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