CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2020) — The American Bar Association, in collaboration with dozens of U.S. law schools across the country, announced today the formation of a Legal Education Police Practices Consortium to contribute to the national effort to examine and address legal issues in policing and public safety, including conduct, oversight and the evolving nature of police work.
Miami Law is one of the inaugural law schools and also helping fund the effort. Dean and M. Minnette Massey Professor of Law Anthony E. Varona has been named one of ten deans across the country on the Dean’s Advisory Committee to the consortium.
“I am pleased that Miami Law, a longtime leader in criminal law and civil rights and social justice law and policy, is an inaugural law school member of this important new ABA Consortium,” said Varona. “I also am deeply honored to serve alongside prominent leaders in American legal education on the Consortium’s Dean’s Advisory Committee, which will help guide its work. We have already started developing our initial plans and initiatives. They are ambitious and, we hope, will be far-reaching and effective.”
The consortium will leverage the ABA’s expertise in developing model police practices and that of interested ABA-accredited law schools to collaborate on projects to develop and implement better police practices throughout the United States. Fifty-two law schools so far have agreed to participate in the consortium for the next five years.
“The ABA has the ability to bring together diverse groups to address these problems and the duty to act to help bring racial equality to our criminal justice system,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. “The consortium will engage law students and legal experts from around the country in studying and forming solutions to help improve policing practices in our communities.”
Drawing on the geographic diversity of the ABA, the participating law schools and their networks, the consortium will advance the widespread adoption of model police practices and initiate other projects designed to support effective policing, promote racial equity in the criminal justice system and eliminate tactics that are racially motivated or have a disparate impact based on race.
The consortium will be organized and housed within the ABA Criminal Justice Section and will have input from and access to the full range of the ABA’s expertise and programs. Each participating law school will develop opportunities for one or more of its law students to engage in consortium activities. Law student participant assignments may include:
• promoting existing ABA policies at the local, state and national levels;
• developing new policy for potential consideration by the ABA House of Delegates;
• engaging with police departments and local, state and national leaders on police practices;
• conducting research to support scholarship related to consortium goals;
• providing support to public commentary and advocacy (research for op-eds, blogs, and articles); and
• developing model curricula for law schools related to consortium goals.
The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.