Vol. 39 No. 4
Law students from across the country met in San Francisco in August at the ABA Annual Meeting to determine the Law Student Division’s policy positions for the next year. Student Bar Association (SBA) presidents and ABA representatives from every ABA-approved law school were eligible to debate and vote on four resolutions at the Assembly.
Past Chair James L. Borkman, a 2010 graduate of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago,addressed the Assembly, highlighting the purposes and work of the Division during the past year.
Borkman focused on the Division’s efforts to increase membership and improve communications with SBA presidents and ABA representatives; commitment to a mental health initiative; work with public interest initiatives such as the Work-A-Day project on solutions to the financial crisis, its advocacy efforts for 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:
Law school 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. Under the amendment, the House of Delegates will no longer serve as the body that hears appeals about ABA law school accreditation. A new appeals body must be established and have the final decision over law school accreditation. The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar sponsored this resolution.
Civic education. Delegates voted in favor of a resolution encouraging all lawyers to consider it part of their fundamental responsibility to ensure that all students experience high-quality civic learning, including the study of law, government, and history. This resolution, sponsored by the Standing Committee on Public Education, states that current civic learning is inadequate.
Independence of clinical programs and courses. Delegates approved a resolution sponsored by Daniel Thies, division liaison to the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, urging the Law Student Division to oppose improper attempts by persons, institutions, or governmental bodies outside law schools to interfere in the ongoing activities of law school clinical programs and courses, and to support the efforts of the ABA and the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to assist law schools in preserving the independence of law school clinical programs and courses.
Bylaws revision. Delegates approved a resolution sponsored by Mark Pascua, outgoing Law Student Division secretary-treasurer and chair of the Division Bylaws Committee, to revise the Division bylaws to reflect current Division practices and current Division leadership positions and their roles.This change updated the language without altering the meaning, and reorganizes information for clarity.
Outgoing ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm and President-Elect Stephen N. Zack also addressed the Assembly. Lamm, who received a Friend of the Division award for outstanding service and friendship to the Division, encouraged students to be involved in the Law Student Division. “You are our future,” she said, noting that 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.
Zack expressed 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 commitment to the Division and the ABA.
At the conclusion of the Assembly, the following Division officers- and delegates-elect took the Division’s oath of office: Kevin R. Johnson,chair; Stephanie McCoy Loquvam, vice chair; Ann Michelle Hart,secretary-treasurer; Carter Lange Alleman, vice chair-SBA;
Tommy Preston Jr., representative to the ABA Board of Governors; Eric Cavanaugh, delegate;Tiffany Colbert, delegate; and Richard Manhattan, delegate.
ABA Award: The John Marshall School of Law in Chicago
The Law Student Division presented The John Marshall School of Law in Chicago with the 2010 Student Bar Association Award during the Assembly at the ABA Annual Meeting in August.
Michael Reever, 2010–11 SBA president at John Marshall, credits the hard work of last year’s SBA executive board and legislature. “They are the reason John 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 someone couldn’t do something, another board member would step up and cover that person,” Reever says. “You definitely want to have people who are unselfish and team players. People who just want to see the job accomplished for the good of the 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 Alumni Exchange. This program gives students a chance to meet alumni in a relaxed, but professional atmosphere. For John Marshall’s first-year students, the Student Alumni Exchange is their first real opportunity to begin networking and building relationships. Hosted annually at the Union League Club in Chicago, the exchange is free to alumni while a $5 charge to students is an opportunity for the SBA to fund-raise.
Already this year, the SBA has hosted its seventh annual Student Alumni Exchange and will host a Public Interest Auction and Barrister’s Ball. New among the SBA’s plans is a community service week where it will sponsor a local community organization and challenge students to donate money, items, and their time. “It is something new that I am very excited about and I know our students will come through,” Reever says. “I am very proud of our active and engaged student body.”
For an SBA president looking to build a strong organization, Reever suggests crafting a foundation from communication, team work, and broad and specific goals.“Take advantage of the summer to plan and start implementing that plan for the year,” he says. “Let your board and legislature know of your expectations. As president, you set the path, but you have to make sure everyone is on board to execute 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 Bar Association 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 government voices and addresses concerns of students, and interaction with the local legal and nonlegal communities. The 2011 Award Nomination Form is scheduled to be posted in January 2011. For more information on Division awards, visit www.abanet.org/lsd/awards.