WEST CHESTER, Pa., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Access Group, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of the Access Group Center for Research & Policy AnalysisSM (the Center). Headed by Elise Miller, the Center's Executive Director and Vice President of Research Programs for Access Group, the Center will serve as the hub for the company's research and grant-making activities, which began in June 2014. Committed to an agenda that informs and furthers access, affordability and the value of legal education, the Center is addressing some of the most critical issues facing legal education today. Research priorities include:
- understanding the barriers that impede improved access to law school for various underrepresented groups, and identifying the characteristics of programs and policies that substantially address those barriers;
- defining affordability in the context of today's legal education and public policy environment, and identifying actionable strategies for law schools, and public policies that could be enacted to increase affordability; and,
- determining the value of legal education, beyond graduates' near-term employment and earnings outcomes.
"Through strategic research, actionable data, and outcome-driven grant-making, the Center will tackle critical issues not currently getting the attention needed in the graduate and professional higher education space," said Elise Miller. "We are excited to be leading a focused and coordinated effort to enhance the availability of quality information on legal education."
The Center recently awarded the following new grants:
- An $89,000 grant to William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota to design and implement an empirical evaluation of the school's new "hybrid" program of legal education. The program is the first-of-its kind offered by an American Bar Association-accredited law school. The grant funds will be used to evaluate student engagement and learning outcomes for participants in the program. The new program has the potential to increase access and affordability by leveraging technology to provide legal education at a distance and at lower costs.
- A $370,000 grant to Texas A&M University School of Law for the Texas Lawyers Study, a survey of the incomes and satisfaction of nearly 88,000 members of the State Bar of Texas. The survey data will be used to disseminate information on law school outcomes by different student characteristics, including race/ethnicity, gender and number of years out of law school, as well to produce scholarly research on the economic value of a law degree. The research will help further the understanding of the outcomes and longer-term value of legal education.
- A $100,000 grant to the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at University of Denver to support the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers initiative's data collection for its Foundations for Practice project. Foundations for Practice is a multi-year project designed to identify the foundations entry-level lawyers need to succeed in the practice of law, develop measurable models of legal education that support those foundations, and align market needs with hiring practices to incentivize positive improvements.
In addition, the Center is providing a second year of funding to one of its grantees from 2014, the University of Colorado Law School, for its Tech Lawyer Accelerator (TLA) program. The TLA program provides competency-based training for law students focused on the technology industry. The additional $100,000 in funding will be used to enhance the curriculum of TLA, expand student and employer participation, and continue to track results on student employment outcomes and debt levels.
"Filling legal education's data gaps, aggregating data and making data available and accessible is a core objective of Access Group and its Board of Directors," said Christopher P. Chapman, Access Group President and Chief Executive Officer. "It is only through quality research and data analysis that we can inspire policy makers and institutions alike to make action-oriented decisions that can lead to meaningful change and improvements. The creation of the Center will offer an important resource for our stakeholders and other interested parties."
More information on the Center's research activities and grant programs is available at http://www.AccessResearch.org. The Center is based in the company's Washington, D.C. office.
About Access Group:
Founded in 1983, Access Group, Inc. is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of 196 nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved law schools. The organization works to further access, affordability, and the value of legal education, specifically, and graduate and professional education more broadly, through research, policy advocacy, and direct member and student educational services. Access Group is headquartered in West Chester, PA.
SOURCE Access Group, Inc.