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ABA Announces Reforms Around Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion took a step forward across law schools last week.

The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar officially approved proposed revisions to strengthen law school accreditation standards addressing diversity, inclusion, and nondiscrimination, the ABA Journal reports.

STANDARD 206

One of the biggest updates was around Standard 206, a rule which states that law schools should have diverse student bodies, faculty and staff. Under the new revisions, Standard 206 will become a core standard around law school compliancy with the ABA.

In the fine print of Standard 206, ABA officials also approved a proposal on replacing the words “concrete action” with taking “effective actions that lead to progress.” Additionally, the ABA also approved replacing the term “minority” with “people of color.”

The new revision also specifically calls out examples of “concrete action,” including utilizing pipeline programs, establishing diversity and inclusion goals, and designing recruitment programs around underrepresented groups.

OTHER CHANGES

In addition to the revisions to Standard 206, the ABA also announced changes to Standards 303, 507, and 508.

The first, Standard 303, will require curricula to include “training and education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency and racism.”

The second, Standard 507, will require law schools to provide school loan debt counseling for applicants and students.

The third, Standard 508, pertains to student support services, requiring law schools to provide students information or services on mental health and substance use disorders.

Sources: ABA Journal, Law 360, ABA

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