Law School Receives Provisional Accreditation from the American Bar Association
February 19, 2008 — Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis is pleased to announce that the College of Law has been provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association – a milestone reached less than 18 months after the school was launched and at the earliest time accreditation guidelines allow.
With the provisional accreditation, graduates starting with the College of Law’s first class will be qualified to sit for the bar exam in all jurisdictions and enter professional practice in 2009.
“This achievement is a tribute to the dedication and tenacity of founding Dean Roger Dennis and the superb faculty and students at the College of Law,” Papadakis said.
The College of Law addresses concerns that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching raised in a report on legal education last year, providing a distinctive program that prepares graduates for the challenges and dilemmas of professional practice.
Students receive extensive practical experience through co-op placements that serve as a focal point for the curriculum and reflect the breadth of legal practice in greater Philadelphia.
More than 95 co-op partners provide second-year students with firsthand experience with law firms, in-house counsel for regional and national corporations, non-profit organizations, governmental and public-interest agencies, as well as the courts.
Members of the legal community hailed Drexel’s aspirations and its swiftly achieved goals.
“I congratulate and commend the superb leadership and faculty of Drexel University College of Law upon receipt of accreditation by the American Bar Association,” said C. Darnell Jones, President Judge of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. “The vision of the university, the initial and continuing support of the legal community and the trust of the students and their families have joined to create a formidable and innovative force in the nation’s legal education system. I am certain that their desire to meet or exceed the requirements of the ABA will always be a driving force for the continued success of the law school and its students.
Students at Drexel’s College of Law have already gained invaluable benefits from practical experience.
“It made the legal process more important for me personally,” said Jason Gromley, a second-year Earle Mack School of Law student who is completing a co-op placement with the District Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.
In classroom discussions and legal readings, Gromley said, “it was all words.”
But working in the Municipal Courts Unit of the District Attorney’s Office on forgery, fraud and drug cases has intensified Gromley’s passion for his chosen career.
“I see the victims, I see the police, I see the judges,” Gromley said. “I want to make sure I achieve justice for the person and make sure they achieve the justice the law affords them.”
Gromleys’ co-op placement – which began in August – led to a paying summer job in the District Attorney’s Office.
Michael J. Berkowitz, a partner with the Philadelphia-based intellectual property firm, Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein, Cohen & Pokotilow, praised the work second-year College of Law student Kevin Huang has done through his co-op placement.
“We're very happy with him,” Berkowitz said. “Kevin has tackled the very technical business of pharmaceutical drugs and its complicated legal regime while assisting several attorneys with a lawsuit. He turns work around very quickly. His writing skills are very good."
Concentrations in health law, business law and intellectual property expand the reach of practical learning by preparing graduates for work in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health-care industries that have established deep roots in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
The health law curriculum prepares students to tackle myriad legal issues created by the rapid restructuring of health care delivery, including changes in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and trends in state and federal regulation of managed care organizations and provider networks as well as bioethics.
Students who complete the business law curriculum gain a firm grasp of techniques for tackling emerging and longstanding problems business organizations face. The College of Law prepares students to grapple with the creation of new ventures, the financing of high-tech startups and commerce in the electronic age.
Building on Drexel’s existing strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship, the intellectual property curriculum readies new lawyers for a growing area of practice in the region during an era of technological transformation.
To foster a commitment to community service, the College of Law requires all students to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono work prior to graduation. Students make an immediate impact on the community by helping those who cannot pay for legal representation.
Sustaining the College of Law’s ambitious goals are faculty members, many of whom are experienced leaders in the legal academy. Faculty members are nationally recognized legal scholars who also have extensive experience as practicing members of the bar. Full-time professors provide nearly all of the instruction for the first-year curriculum. And while many law schools rely on part-time faculty to teach legal writing and research, Drexel’s College of Law
places this critical responsibility in the hands of tenured or tenure-track professors.
Aspiring attorneys have shown intense interest in the College of Law, which offered admission to just 22 percent of those who applied for the inaugural Class of 2009 and to 20 percent of applicants for the Class of 2010. The median LSAT score for this class was 158, and median grade point average was 3.40.
The College of Law has attracted a diverse student body with the first two classes that have enrolled. The inaugural Class of 2009 features students from 21 states and six foreign countries, of whom one-fifth arrived with advanced degrees. Twenty-one percent of the 181 students in this class are minorities. The Class of 2010 drew students from 16 states and three foreign countries. Twenty-two percent of the students in this class are minorities.
The college makes unique contributions to the city and the region, according to Jane Leslie Dalton, a partner with Duane Morris LLP.
“With their high quality students, their excellent faculty and their co-op program, it really will provide an avenue of exchange between Philadelphia law firms, Philadelphia businesses and the law school that’s going to be of benefit to everyone,” Dalton said. “I would really congratulate the law school, I would congratulate President Papadakis and I would congratulate executive Vice President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm for having the vision and the tenacity to do what hasn’t been done in a very long time, which is establishing a new law school with a new concept.”
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