And The Paid Externship Debate Continues…

law school paid externshipAs the year comes to a close, change may be in the horizon for law students in 2016.

For the fourth time in about two years, the paid externship debate has been brought to the table.

The conversation gaining momentum (yet again in 2015) was recently discussed among governing members of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and in turn, it was approved for notice and comment.

If approved at the Section’s next meeting in March, the proposed change in the law school accreditation standards would eliminate the current ban on students receiving academic credit for a paid externship experience.

The latest proposal seeks change in the standard of field placements, spelling out all of the terms in writing between the student, the faculty overseeing said placement, and the site supervisor. However, it fails to mention any requirements or restrictions on placements for which compensation is offered.

In addition to this proposal, several others were discussed, including a proposal that would forbid law schools from discriminating on the basis of gender identity, as well as several changes in the wording of the diversity and inclusion requirements.

Does compensation interfere with learning implications? Do you think the ABA should accept or reject academic credit for paid externships? Let us know what you think.

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