Law students from across the country met in San Franciscoin August at the ABA Annual Meeting to determine the Law Student Division’spolicy positions for the next year. Student Bar Association (SBA) presidentsand ABA representatives from every ABA-approved law school were eligible to debate and vote on four resolutions at the Assembly.
PastChair James L. Borkman, a 2010 graduate of The John Marshall LawSchool in Chicago,addressed the Assembly, highlighting the purposes and work of the Division during the past year.
Borkmanv focused on the Division’s efforts to increase membership and improve communications with SBA presidents and ABA representatives; commitment to amental health initiative; work with public interest initiatives such as the Work-A-Day project on solutions to the financial crisis, its advocacy effortsfor veterans, and its diversity initiatives.
Assembly delegates debated and voted on three resolutions up for consideration before the ABA House of Delegates, and one resolution regarding the Law Student Division bylaws:
Lawschool accreditation appeals. Assembly delegates voted in favor of are solution that amends Sections 45.9 (a) and (b) of the ABA House Rules of Procedure regarding the role of the House of Delegates in the law school accreditation process to comply with Department of Education regulations. Underthe amendment, the House of Delegates will no longer serve as the body thathears appeals about ABAlaw school accreditation. A new appeals body must be established and have thefinal decision over law school accreditation. The Section of Legal Educationand Admissions to the Bar sponsored this resolution.
Civic education. Delegates voted in favor of a resolution encouraging alllawyers to consider it part of their fundamental responsibility to ensure thatall students experience high-quality civic learning, including the study oflaw, government, and history. This resolution, sponsored by the StandingCommittee on Public Education, states that current civic learning isinadequate.
Independence ofclinical programs and courses. Delegates approved a resolution sponsoredby Daniel Thies, division liaison to the Section of Legal Education andAdmissions to the Bar, urging the Law Student Division to oppose improperattempts by persons, institutions, or governmental bodies outside law schoolsto interfere in the ongoing activities of law school clinical programs andcourses, and to support the efforts of the ABA and the ABA Section of LegalEducation and Admissions to the Bar to assist law schools in preserving theindependence of law school clinical programs and courses.
Bylaws revision. Delegates approved a resolution sponsored by MarkPascua, outgoing Law Student Division secretary-treasurer and chair of theDivision Bylaws Committee, to revise the Division bylaws to reflect currentDivision practices and current Division leadership positions and their roles.This change updated the language without altering the meaning, and reorganizesinformation for clarity.
OutgoingABA President Carolyn B. Lamm and President-Elect Stephen N. Zackalso addressed the Assembly. Lamm, who received a Friend of the Division awardfor outstanding service and friendship to the Division, encouraged students tobe involved in the Law Student Division. “You are our future,” she said, notingthat students will develop“myriad skills by participating in policy debates”within the ABA.Lamm also discussed the ABA’s Ethics 20/20project and the current global economic crisis, noting that the ABA is focusing on student-related laws, particularly the ABA’s efforts to changethe law regarding school loans that are non-dischargeable.
Zackexpressed to students how exciting the profession of law is and that it is everchanging.
Chair-elect Kevin R. Johnson presented outgoing Chair Borkman the Division’s GoldKey. Borkman was recognized for exceptional service, dedication, and commitmentto the Division and the ABA.
At the conclusion of the Assembly, the following Division officers- anddelegates-elect took the Division’s oath of office: Kevin R. Johnson,chair; Stephanie McCoy Loquvam, vice chair; AnnMichelle Hart,secretary-treasurer; Carter Lange Alleman, vice chair-SBA;
Tommy Preston Jr., representative to the ABA Board of Governors; EricCavanaugh, delegate; Tiffany Colbert, delegate; and RichardManhattan, delegate.
SBA Award: The John Marshall School of Law in Chicago
The Law Student Division presented TheJohn Marshall School of Law in Chicagowith the 2010 Student Bar Association Award during the Assembly at the ABAAnnual Meeting in August.
MichaelReever, 2010–11 SBA president at John Marshall, credits the hardwork of last year’s SBA executive board and legislature. “They are the reasonJohn Marshall won this award,” says Reever, a third-year law student from Toledo, Ohio.
Reever says the organization’s events, activities, and its members’ ability to work asa team made for a successful year that culminated in the award. “If someonecouldn’t do something, another board member would step up and cover thatperson,” Reever says. “You definitely want to have people who are unselfish andteam players. People who just want to see the job accomplished for the good ofthe student body and school, not for themselves.
“This is all the behind the scenes that not many people see,” he adds, “but that isso vital to the effective execution of your goals.”
Among the successful programs sponsored by John Marshall’s SBA are the Student AlumniExchange. This program gives students a chance to meet alumni in a relaxed, butprofessional atmosphere. For John Marshall’s first-year students, the StudentAlumni Exchange is their first real opportunity to begin networking andbuilding relationships. Hosted annually at the Union League Club in Chicago, the exchange isfree to alumni while a $5 charge to students is an opportunity for the SBA tofund-raise.
Already this year, the SBA has hosted its seventh annual Student Alumni Exchange andwill host a Public Interest Auction and Barrister’s Ball. New among the SBA’splans is a community service week where it will sponsor a local communityorganization and challenge students to donate money, items, and their time. “Itis something new that I am very excited about and I know our students will comethrough,” Reever says. “I am very proud of our active and engaged studentbody.”
For an SBA president looking to build a strong organization, Reever suggestscrafting a foundation from communication, team work, and broad and specific goals.“Take advantage of the summer to plan and start implementing that plan for theyear,” he says. “Let your board and legislature know of your expectations. Aspresident, you set the path, but you have to make sure everyone is on board toexecute it.
“The president obviously cannot do it all himself or herself and must make sure toseek genuine input and ideas from others,” Reever adds.
All ABA-approved schools with an SBA are eligible to apply for the Student BarAssociation award. Criteria include overall organization and structure,performance by members as a team, total number of programs, quality of events,interaction with faculty and administration, extent to which student governmentvoices and addresses concerns of students, and interaction with the local legaland nonlegal communities. The 2011 Award Nomination Form is scheduled to beposted in January 2011. For more information on Division awards, visit www.abanet.org/lsd/awards.