The section’s Council is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the J.D. The accrediting function administered by the Council and the section functions independently from the ABA, as required by DOE regulations. All state supreme courts recognized ABA-approved law schools as meeting the legal education requirements to qualify for the bar examination, and 46 states limit eligibility for bar admission to graduates of ABA-approved law schools.
The 22-member Council, chaired by retired Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales, also advises the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which has 14,000 members. The section works to improve legal education and lawyer licensing.
Kay had headed Vanderbilt Law School’s clinical and experiential legal education program since 2001, after joining the clinical faculty in 1980. She has previously served on the section’s Accreditation Committee and its Standards Review Committee.
In addition to her work with ABA, Kay is active in many professional and service activities and has served as president of the Clinical Legal Education Association, a national association that represents more than 600 law faculty, and as president of the board of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She chaired the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee from 2009-19.