Professor Carpenter to Chair ABA Accreditation Committee
A nationally recognized expert on law school curricula, Professor Catherine L. Carpenter has been named Chair of the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The Committee is responsible for ensuring that all ABA‑approved law schools meet ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, which are designed to assure a sound program of legal education prepares students to meet the legal needs of clients. Included in the ABA Standards are minimum requirements regarding curricular design, faculty size and quality, ensuring diversity in faculty and students, quality of library, technology and facilities. The Committee is charged with the administration of the ABA accreditation process, including review of site evaluation, progress, and fact finding reports. It reviews J.D. programs, post-J.D. programs, foreign summer programs, semester abroad programs, cooperative programs for foreign study and individual student programs for foreign study. The Accreditation Committee and the section Council are recognized by the Department of Education as the accreditors for legal education in the U.S. Carpenter was appointed Committee chair effective August 9, 2008.
"I feel honored and privileged to be named chair of this committee," Carpenter said. "It is a process I believe in deeply. The breadth and depth of the standards and the mechanisms for their enforcement have contributed to making U.S. law schools the strongest in the world and emulated by so many law schools abroad."
Carpenter has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1980. She served as academic associate dean from 1984 to 1997 and teaches courses in criminal law, defenses in the law and future interests and an upper division criminal law seminar. In 1996, she was named as the Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law, in 2001 she received Southwestern's Excellence in Teaching Award, in 2004 she was named the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law, and in 2006 she was named the Marshall McComb Professor of Law.
"She is a superb choice," Southwestern Dean Bryant Garth said. "She is a national leader in legal education with just the right mix of skills to handle this extremely sensitive position."
Carpenter has been involved extensively with the ABA section, having chaired numerous site evaluation teams and conducting accreditation workshops for deans and site team leaders. She served on the section's Law School Administration Committee from 1995 to 1999, and was chair from 1996 to 1999. She then served on the Curriculum Committee from 2000 to 2004, was chair from 2002 to 2004, and was the principal drafter of Survey of Law School Curricula 1992-2002, a major resource for law schools around the country. She also was a member of the Nominating Committee from 2003 to 2005. She has been a member of the Accreditation Committee since 2004.
Carpenter also served as a consultant to the Board of Regents for the State of Kansas and the Office of Higher Education for the State of Minnesota. She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and has also served on the Executive Board of CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction). A fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a member of the California State Bar, Carpenter earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her law degree from Southwestern, where she was Notes and Comments editor of the Southwestern University Law Review.