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American Bar Association
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About the Section of Legal Education

Created in 1893, the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar was the first ABA section. About the time that the ABA was organized in 1878, written bar examinations were just coming into use. Although required by most states, the bar examination had been largely oral and informal. Thus, the two subjects of legal education and admissions to the bar were coupled from the ABA's founding and remain so today. One of the ways in which the Section pursues its objectives is through its program of accrediting U.S. law schools. The Section's Council and Accreditation Committee are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) as the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the J.D. In this function, the Council and the Section are independent of the ABA, as required by DOE regulations. All state supreme courts recognize ABA-approved law schools as meeting the legal education requirements to qualify for the bar examination; forty-six states limit eligibility for bar admission to graduates of ABA-approved schools.

To achieve its goals of improving the quality of legal education, character and fitness assessments, and bar admission standards, the Section works closely with the Association of American Law Schools, the Law School Admission Council, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the Conference of Chief Justices, the American Association of Law Libraries, the National Association for Law Placement, and the Access Group. The Section supports its members by providing services that assist law schools in improving their programs, supports committees that develop recommendations for improvements in legal education and the bar admissions process, and gathers and disseminates information about legal education through publications and conferences.

Each year at the ABA Annual Meeting, The Section and the national Kutak Rock law firm present the Robert J. Kutak Award in recognition of an individual who has contributed significantly to increased cooperation between legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary.

Consultant on Legal Education

Officers and Council

Section Staff


Internal Operating Procedures

Strategic Plan

Section Bylaws

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