Opponents zeroed in on four common critiques: that developing accreditation standards and monitoring compliance overseas would be difficult; that it would take ABA resources away from U.S. law schools; that foreign law schools have a difficult time effectively preparing students in the culture and ethics of the American legal system; and that it would be extremely difficult to modify accreditation standards for foreign law schools when the ABA engaged in an extensive review of the existing standards.
"In addition, many respondents, primarily students, raised concerns about the impact of expansion of the Accreditation Project would have on the employment opportunities for U.S. law graduates," according to an executive summary of the public responses.
The committee that collected public responses, whose members included John O'Brien, chairman of the ABA council and dean of the New England School of Law, ultimately agreed with many of those critiques and recommended against expanding accreditation. But the panel noted that tough questions regarding how foreign lawyers are admitted into practice in the United States would remain if the council does nothing.
Administrators at Peking Law contend that there is no evidence to support the reasons cited against expanding accreditation. Rather, the letter suggests, the council should adopt a policy that neither accommodates nor discriminates against foreign law schools.
"We ask that the Council rigorously restrict its consideration only to relevant matters that lawfully may be considered by an accrediting body," the law school's letter reads. "We ask that the Council focus its attention on the interests of those whom the accreditation process is intended to protect rather than on the interests of so-called 'stakeholders' in the status quo."