We just received Ave Maria’s official statement via Karen Sloan, reporter for the National Law Journal. From Ave Maria Dean Eugene Milhizer:
Ave Maria School of Law is committed to providing outstanding value to our students. Initially, we were interested in participating in the Transparency Project because we felt that leadership was needed in disclosing to the public appropriate information related to the costs and benefits of attending law school.
Since our earlier indication that we would provide data, the ABA has undertaken concrete action to address this issue, and we are satisfied that meaningful steps are in motion. In light of these recent developments, coupled with our concerns about the confidentiality of personal information about our graduates (which is a special concern at a small law school such as ours), we have decided to give the ABA’s leadership a fair chance to address this issue before acting independently, and for now, to withdraw from the Transparency Project.
The ABA will have its fair chance, but it is not the school’s job to provide that chance. If the ABA fails with its fair chance, the schools will not pick up the slack where the ABA fails. Rather, the Department of Education will have to reconsider whether the ABA Section of Legal Education and its accreditation committee suitably regulate American law schools.
So while it is true that the ABA has a responsibility to provide leadership on this issue, and that the Section of Legal Education committees are progressing towards a solution, the ABA only has to act because the schools are not voluntarily releasing the information prospective students need to make an informed investment. Individual law school’s responsibilities to prospectives and the profession are not absolved or delayed because the ABA seeks to regulate law schools more carefully. Law schools have had their “fair chance” to comport with these responsibilities, and have failed to meet them.