Valparaiso Law Dean Appointed to ABA Legal Education Task Force

VALPARAISO, IN – Jay Conison, dean of the Valparaiso University Law School, has been named as reporter for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. The task force consists of representatives from the judiciary, organized bar, legal education and law practice and will review and provide recommendations on the state of legal education and its responsiveness to current and anticipated needs and opportunities.

“It is a great honor to be invited to serve as Reporter for the project,” said Conison. “I hope that my experience in legal education and accreditation, and my thinking and writing about the issues, can aid the work of the Task Force.”

As reporter, Conison will provide support to the Task Force in identifying of issues and sources of information and research, support the Chair of the Task Force in developing processes for obtaining comments and information from various constituencies, support the Chair of the Task Force regarding communications, and support the drafting of the report and recommendations.

“There are many serious issues affecting law schools today, such as the cost of legal education and the changing nature of law practice. These issues are of deep concern to all of us because of the fundamental role of lawyers in our society and the critical function of law schools in preparing lawyers. The Task Force is important because of its potential to clarify these issues and to map out plans for law schools, bar organizations, and others to deal with them in a coordinated fashion,” said Conison.

Conison has served as dean of the Valparaiso University Law School since 1998. He received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota (1981), his M.A. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota (1978), and his B.A. from Yale College (1975). He has held committee leadership positions with the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education, and has been extensively engaged with other national and state legal education and bar-related organizations.

The task force is chaired by Randall Shepard, recently retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice and current executive in residence at Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute. The task force is expected to continue its work during the next two ABA presidential terms and conclude in 2014. Additional members of the task force include:

  • Paulette Brown, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Madison, N.J.
  • Richard P. Campbell, Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy, Boston, and president, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Ronald D. Castille, chief justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court
  • Michael P. Downey, Armstrong Teasdale, St. Louis
  • Christine M. Durham, justice, Utah Supreme Court
  • Joseph D. Harbaugh, professor and dean emeritus, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center
  • Kevin R. Johnson, Enforcement and Litigation Division, National Credit Union Administration
  • Paula Littlewood, executive director, Washington State Bar Association
  • Thomas W. Lyons III, Strauss Factor Laing & Lyons, Providence, R.I.
  • Margaret H. Marshall, chief justice (ret.), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Leo Paul Martinez, professor, University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • Nancy Hardin Rogers, professor emeritus, Ohio State University College of Law
  • Maritza Sáenz Ryan, head of the Department of Law, U.S. Military Academy
  • James A. Wynn Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • Jolene A. Yee, associate general counsel, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Modesto, Calif.
  • David Yellen, dean, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

In addition, two representatives of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division will be named to the task force.

Contact: Nicole Skinner – (219) 465-7832,

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About Valparaiso University Law School

For more than 130 years, Valparaiso University Law School has empowered talented individuals to realize personal and professional success. Nine “live client” clinics, a nationally recognized externship program, and a commitment to innovation, highlight a program of education that serves as both a path to a career and a path to personal and professional growth. Located in metropolitan Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, Valparaiso Law has one of the most diverse law student bodies in country. The faculty is distinguished by their commitment to student success and to continuing impact on the advancement of law and legal understanding.