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Earn the right to complain about the state of legal ed – apply for education director

Education Director
Current ABA Law Student Division Education Director Samuel Chang (right) works with last year's chair Kareem Aref with caucuses during the 2017 ABA Annual Meeting in New York.

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we all have plenty to complain about in politics today. But if you’re like me, you tend to be pretty dismissive when you find out the person complaining didn’t vote.

I promise, this has something to do with the ABA, and the fact we’re re-opening up applications for Education Director. Apply for Education Director here by Wednesday, February 28.

Stay with me…

And I get it. The ABA can seem big, disjointed, or confusing at times from the outside looking in. I mean, we’re a national membership association that represents the legal profession (more our focus here at the Law Student Division), and at the same time the accrediting body for U.S. law schools (the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar’s bailiwick).

I hope I haven’t lost you yet, but I wouldn’t blame you if I have. I don’t really find hearing about the layers of ABA structure thrilling, either. And I work here.

With that in mind – 2Ls especially, I’m really talking to you right now.

Are you happy with the state of legal education?

After a couple years of law school under your belt, how do you feel about it? Because I hear you all complain and criticize a lot. Things like:

Great, so what are you doing about those complaints?

One of the amazing things about the ABA is that we offer real opportunities for members (that’s you) to have a say in important and consequential things that impact our profession. But those opportunities don’t happen magically because you complain loudly.

What is the Education Director, and why are you extending the deadline?

There is one law student with a vote on the Council for the Section of Legal Education – a single student among a bunch of mostly veteran academics who get to decide the fate of law schools. That individual is selected from three names given to the Section by the Law Student Division, and serves simultaneously on the Law Student Division Council as its Education Director.

Imagine, the single voice of the constituency that is, by far, the most affected by the decisions of that Council. Pretty powerful, huh? So given the complaints I hear, and the unique power of the Division’s Education Director position, I’m a little perplexed that I have to do this…

We are extending the deadline because we need more qualified applicants for the Education Director position.

Apply to be 2018-2019 Education Director

This is your chance to actually have a say. Have your voice heard and represent law students across the country to help guide changes to legal education – changes we all know need to happen.

But remember this: “if you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

Austin Groothuis Austin Groothuis, JD, MBA is the Director of the American Bar Association Early Career Strategy Group, overseeing the Law Student Division and Young Lawyers Division. He is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law with more than 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit management, marketing, technology, and legal education space.