ARCHIVED: Law Student Research Competency Standards Task Force

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CHARGE: To review the Law Student Research Competency Standards submitted to the Executive Board in April 2010, to recommend whether or not AALL should adopt Law Student Research Competency Standards, and if so, to revise the draft standards and present them to the Board for adoption.The issue of what legal analysis and research skills law graduates should have has been discussed by many groups within the legal community, was the subject of the recent ALI/ABA and Association for Continuing Legal Education Summit, and is a frequent discussion topic in the law library community.

A self-formed group of AALL members created a draft of Law Student Information Literacy Standards. The Standards were submitted to the Executive Board for adoption in April 2010.

There was general agreement among the Board that it would be appropriate for AALL to develop Law Student Research Competency Standards and the President was asked to appoint a Task Force to reach a successful resolution in the development and approval of standards. The Standards might address, among other items, how to analyze a research problem, selection of appropriate resources, research methods, evaluation of the sources and information retrieved, and application of the results to the problem.

Law Student Research Competency Standards might be used in law schools curriculum discussions. They may be used in law firms as part of training programs. Research Competency Standards might also be used by bar admission committees to evaluate research skills of applicants and by the ABA to meet the learning outcomes in proposed standard 302.

The Task Force is asked to:

  • Review the academic and practice environment that suggests the need for Law Student Research competency Standards
  • Determine if other efforts to create standards are underway
  • Determine how Research Competency Standards might be used by the legal community
  • Review the Law Student Research Competency Standards submitted to the Executive Board
  • Recommend whether or not AALL should proceed to adopt Law Student Research Competency Standards as an AALL policy
  • If the Standards are recommended for adoption as a policy, the Task Force will review and revise the Standards and submit to the Executive Board
  • If the Standards are not recommended for adoption as a policy, the Task Force will provide an explanation of that decision
  • If the Standards are recommended for adoption, the Task Force will recommend a method for periodic review of the standards
  • If the Standards are recommended for adoption, the Task Force will recommend how the Standards might be distributed and publicized to the ABA, AALS, and the wider legal community

The Committee shall prepare a report for the Fall 2010 Executive Board meeting.

SIZE: The Task Force shall consist of a Chair and five members who will serve until December 2010. A staff liaison will be appointed.

RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER COMMITTEES/STRUCTURES: The draft Standards were reviewed by a number of SISs. The Task Force may solicit comments from the SISs or other groups as warranted.