Various blogs have linked to this article in the U.S. News & World Report questioning the status quo in legal education.
The article notes: "A recent study by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research found that law students are increasingly disengaged and work less as grad school progresses."
It also says: "Still, some detractors believe that ABA requirements are designed to protect professors and current practitioners, as opposed to students, and are tantamount to a monopoly."
It concludes: "However the field of legal education evolves, it's worth pondering the advice of Abraham Lincoln, who famously studied the field on his own in Illinois before acing his "bar exam"--a 10-minute discussion with a local judge--and going on to practice for 25 years prior to being elected president. In an 1858 letter to a young man with dreams of entering the profession, he offered this counsel: "If you wish to be a lawyer, attach no consequence to the place you are in, or the person you are with; but get books, sit down anywhere, and go to reading for yourself." Even for the bulk of students who flock to ABA-approved schools, the notion that it's not so much where you train but how committed you are to that preparation still rings true today."
From the other end zone, this post suggests that the ABA is a more reliable bunch than the association of law school deans.