Facing a growing problem of lack of diversity in law schools and in the legal profession, as well as increasing law student loan debt, the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the Iowa State Bar Association (ISBA) took on the issue in 2017.
With fellow attorneys from across the state, Abhay Nadipuram (current YLD President) has spent the last two years working on the issue of law school student loan debt and how it impacts diversity in law schools and in the profession. The ISBA YLD is collaborating with Law School Transparency (LST), a non-profit working to make law schools more transparent, affordable, and fair, to develop the Blue Sky Initiative.
At the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association in August, ISBA YLD and LST teamed-up with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division to organize a summit presenting the results of their research and their proposal, the Blue Sky Initiative. ISBA YLD Past-President Maggie White, Executive Director of LST, Kyle McEntee, chair of ISBA Innovations Committee, Kyle Fry, and Drake University Law School Dean Jerry Anderson, along with several other experts and legal educators from around the country, discussed aspects of the initiative and the need for a change in the current system.
At the heart of the Blue Sky Initiative is reforming the incentives law schools receive to move up in law school rankings. “Our hope is that we can create a system that incentivizes law schools to focus more on diversity and lowering cost, rather than what the rankings currently incentivize law schools to do, which is to spend more money in order obtain a higher ranking,” Abhay said.
As the current YLD President, Abhay and the YLD will continue working with LST on the Blue Sky Initiative. Abhay’s YLD President’s Message in the September issue of Iowa Lawyer discussed the summit and how he envisions the initiative evolving.