ABA Hears from Students During its Sabbatical Visit to BLS
Fewer than a dozen students gathered on Monday, April 2nd to speak with the American Bar Association committee visiting BLS last week for its sabbatical observation of the law school. These visits occur every seven years at ABA-accredited schools, and primarily entail inspections to see whether the school is meeting ABA standards on everything from admissions to faculty tenure requirements.
The ABA’s informal student session was loosely formatted as a Q&A, and was somewhat unusually located in a mostly empty 7th floor Moot Court room. No members of the BLS staff, administration or faculty were present during the hour-long session.
The volunteer committee members – all male, mostly lawyers, but at least one a legal recruiter – seemed genuinely invested in the “fact-finding mission” that brought them to BLS. The members explained that after observing classes, meeting faculty, and speaking casually to students they encountered throughout the week, the committee would draw up a report and present it to the ABA’s accreditation team.
As one committee member poetically described the process, he and his team would perform the cholesterol check and the ABA would then prescribe BLS’s diet via an “action letter,” most likely telling the school to lose a few pounds here and there. Even one hundred errors, he said, would not mean that the school is necessarily in danger of losing its accreditation.
Topics covered at the session included career services, information technology, library services, admissions, the registrar’s office, and class size.
Perhaps the most interesting question the committee posed to students was its last: if you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the school, what would it be? Students responded with answers ranging from “transparency” to “the curve.”
One committee member noted in response to a student comment about low attendance at the session that generally, “the smaller the number of students in the room, the happier students are.”