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ABA House of Delegates Authorizes Law Student Vote on ABA Board


Vol. 40 No. 2
ByMatthew Gorney

Matthew Gorney, a 2L at the University of Kansas School of Law, is student editor of Student Lawyer.
Although the Law Student Division addressed a number of issues during the ABA Annual Meeting in in August, arguably none was more important than the passage of Resolution 11-3.
This resolution elevated the Division representative to the ABA Board of Governors from a non-voting position to a voting position—the final step to giving law students a voice and a vote in the leadership of the ABA.

However, getting 11-3 passed by the Law Student Assembly was only one step in the process. The larger step came when 11-3 was taken up by the ABA House of Delegates because there were initial concerns that the resolution would meet with some opposition.

Tommy Preston Jr., 2010–11 Division representative to the ABA Board of Governors, spoke on behalf of the Division.

“When leaders were up there presenting 11-3 to the House, before me was a line of individuals to support and speak on our behalf,” he says. “It was just completely overwhelming to see that.  After I finished speaking, the chair of the House announced that there was no opposition and asked if our supporters wanted to waive their speaking privileges.”

In the days leading up to the House of Delegates session, Preston, Delegates Eric Cavanaugh and Tiffany Colbert, and other leaders and supporters made the rounds to other entities in search of support for 11-3.

When the House convened and Resolution 11-3 came to the floor, it passed unanimously and the Law Student Division representative became the 38th vote on the ABA Board of Governors.

“With an official vote, the representative is going to have a stronger voice on the Board from now on,” says.

The non-voting seat on the Board was created six years ago. To have that go from a non-voting position to a voting position in such a short time demonstrates the respect the Division has earned and the value the other sections and divisions place on law students.

This respect means a lot to law students across the country. “It means the considers law students key players in the association and they consider us important,” says.

Other notes from the Law Student Division Assembly:

Resolution 11/08-01—The Assembly modified §4.4.4 of the Division bylaws to change the succession process for situations where a circuit governor position is vacant. Under the new amendment, the executive lt. governor of a circuit can be elevated to the position of circuit governor without a special election being conducted.

Resolution 11/08-02—The Assembly adopted an amendment to Article 6 of the Division bylaws to create an Advisory Committee of ABA leaders to advise the Division Board of Governors and strengthen collaboration between the Division and the overall Association.

Report 102—The Assembly gave Division support to a resolution that urges the Law School Admission Council and ABA-approved law schools to require more information from people who indicate Native American heritage on their applications. The additional information would conform with how the U.S. Census gathers such information. The ABA House of Delegates later approved the resolution.

Report 111A—The Assembly gave Division support to the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) resolution, which urges federal legislation to assist people experiencing financial hardship due to excessive student loan debt but aren’t covered by the March 2010 student loan overhaul. The ABA House of Delegates later approved the resolution.

Report 111B—Also, a YLD resolution that the Assembly voted to support urged ABA-approved law schools to report more specific employment data for law school graduates. The ABA House of Delegates later approved the resolution.

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.

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