Drexel College of Law the Toast of the Legal Community
March 12, 2008 — Judges from the federal, Pennsylvania and New Jersey judiciaries and attorneys from the Philadelphia area joined administrators, faculty and students at a reception in the Great Hall on March 12 to toast the provisional accreditation of the Drexel College of Law.
“I look forward to the day when a Drexel College of Law graduate argues in front of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,” said the Honorable Ronald Castille, chief justice of the state’s highest court.
Chief Justice Castille was among scores of attorneys and judges who saluted Drexel’s ambitious aims to advance legal education during the gala event.
The College of Law received provisional accreditation less than 18 months after opening its doors, which is the earliest time allowed under American Bar Association rules. Provisional accreditation means that all graduates, starting with the inaugural Class of 2009, will be qualified to sit for the bar exam in all jurisdictions and enter professional practice.
Members of the bench and bar acknowledged Earle Mack School of Law’s distinctive approach to preparing graduates for professional practice. Co-op placements in more than 100 law firms, businesses, the courts and public-interest organizations – combined with a requirement to complete pro bono work and other initiatives – prepare graduates for a life in the law.
For students, accreditation provided a very welcome affirmation.
“Though none of us doubted this day would arrive, we can all rest a little easier, knowing it’s here,” said Jacqueline Lowthert, president of Earle Mack School of Law’s Student Bar Association and a member of the school’s inaugural Class of 2009.
The reception provided a rare opportunity for students to mingle with attorneys and members of the judiciary at a social event, yet the program at Earle Mack School of Law makes interactions with legal professionals a common occurrence.
Links with the attorneys and judges who serve as co-op supervisors ensure that the school is deeply embedded in the legal community and that students learn about the on-the-ground challenges that come with professional practice.
Founding Dean Roger Dennis thanked the distinguished guests for their support. “Nothing could better exemplify our engagement with the bench and bar than your involvement with our school,” he said, before praising the efforts of Drexel trustees and other university leaders to launch the College of Law.
“Creating a new school within a university is always a pretty daunting task,” he said. “We’ve had wonderful support form everybody across many departments of the university: admissions, financial aid, budget, facilities, library and so many more. Our president and provost could not have been more understanding of the traditions and special needs of a law school.”
Joseph Jacovini, immediate past chairman of the Drexel Board of Trustees, said the College of Law offers a needed new approach to legal education.
“Our culture needs lawyers who are not only well trained in the law academically but who are imbued with the vital spirit and traditions of the profession,” Jacovini said. “The ideal legal education requires all students to be in close contact with the leading practitioners of the day.”
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge William Meehan said the practical orientation offered by Earle Mack School of Law’s co-op program should be emulated elsewhere.
“If other schools would have that, it would be great,” he said.
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