The ABA’s section on legal education ostensibly regulates the law schools. Recently we’ve seen state bars (e.g., New York and California) implement or think about reforms that have huge impacts on the schools. Those changes are listed in my Top Ten Stories of 2012, at No. 5.
Ben Barros, at Faculty Lounge, looks at the various state bar proposals and reforms that would permit people to sit for the bar before they’ve completed a three year JD degree.
Within the last week we saw NLJ put out very useful data on how well each school places students in the NLJ 250. (Once we’re talking about the NLJ 250 and not just the AmLaw 100, we’re talking about law firms with upside down leverage and great expertise in their particular fields—which can be a terrific learning environment for young lawyers). I suspect that as the years roll forward those will be “go to” data for applicants deciding about the economics of attending law schools and will be used to bypass misleading advertising and claims (e.g., "'lots' of our grads earn in excess of $130,000").
Finally, we noted that the Law School Transparency group did a survey of the websites published by law schools and found what it considered to be massive non-compliance with the ABA’s regulations. LST contacted the schools to discuss the problems and dozens of the schools responded by improving their websites.
That means that enforcement of the ABA regulations is being accomplished by outside regulators and that other institutions are flexing their muscles. Perhaps that's inevitable.
[I've made some small edits since posting this.]