The ABA Annual Meeting was held this past August in Chicago and was “Focused Forward.” The Law Student Division hosted a multitude of activities for law students who traveled to the meeting from across the country.
Students had access to CLE sessions and presentations at multiple locations across Chicago. The largest event for the Law Student Division was the 2012 Assembly, which included addresses from outgoing ABA president William T. Robinson, current ABA President Laurel Bellows, and ABA President-Elect James Silkenat. In her message to law students, Bellows stated that there is no better profession in the world than the legal profession. “You are our future,” she says. “We have a commitment to do whatever we can to help you.”
Several resolutions were up for discussion and most were adopted by delegates from ABA-approved law schools. The ABA Standing Committee on Membership introduced an amendment to include law school graduates into the member category––a revision of the default in dues provision and revision to the reinstatement of members provision––which was adopted by the Assembly.
Also adopted, with substantial debate, was the revision sponsored by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to mandate that all law schools report, publicize, and distribute complete, accurate, and understandable consumer information for law students and applicants. The resolution also provided sanctions for law schools in violations. Additionally, law schools must disclose and distribute employment outcomes of graduates and conditional scholarship retention data to applicants. This provision also revised a rule that provides for the sanctions of probation and removal from the list of approved schools that may be imposed even where said school is in compliance with the Standards at the time sanctions are imposed. Another provision adopted was the revision to the Division’s bylaws to implement a more efficient and clearer removal process of an officer.
Much debate was centered on the last resolution, which sought to amend the bylaws and reorganize the Division’s circuits. The resolution planned to restructure how some of the circuits were drawn by moving a few states into different circuits with the goal of making it more efficient for the circuit governors to serve their constituents. After extensive debate from ABA representatives and SBA presidents, the resolution was not adopted.
The election results were later announced. Nick Guinn was elected vice chair-SBA and Dorcas Adekunle, Danielle Baron, and James Manning became the division delegates to the ABA House of Delegates.
Also during the Assembly, Bucky Askew, the ABA’s consultant on legal education, received the Division’s Advocate Award for his dedication to strengthening and improving legal education standards. The Law Student Division also received the Gold Award for its commitment to diversity at the Lawyers with Disabilities Award Reception.