PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 19, 2008) — LAWFUEL – Legal Announcements – The Drexel University College of Law has received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA), Drexel President Constantine Papadakis announced. The seal of approval comes at the earliest point allowed under the ABA’s accreditation guidelines.
Provisional accreditation means all Drexel Law graduates will be able to take the bar exam in any jurisdiction. Upon passing the exam, graduates can begin practicing professionally.
“To reach this milestone less than 18 months after welcoming our first law students to Drexel is remarkable and a testament to the vision and commitment of our Board of Trustees and the hard work and passion of the faculty and staff of the College of Law and its founding dean, Roger Dennis,” Papadakis said. “Drexel Law has gathered some of the most talented, innovative law faculty, practicing professionals and students anywhere, and it shows in every initiative.”
The College is the first law school established by a highly ranked doctoral university in more than 25 years and the first to open in Greater Philadelphia, which now has six law schools, in more than 30 years, Papadakis said. The University is among 25 top-ranked private universities that have both law and medical schools.
The College distinguishes itself in two significant ways, according to Dennis. It is one of only two law schools in the country to use the co-op approach to legal education. Through cooperative education, students supplement classroom study with professional experience. Almost 100 employers have joined Drexel Law as co-op partners, including law firms, the courts, in-house corporate counsel, nonprofit organizations, government and public-interest agencies.
The College also differentiates itself through its concentrations in three emerging and high-growth areas of the law, which align with Drexel’s historic strengths: intellectual property, health care and entrepreneurial business, Dennis said.
The University has pursued an aggressive marketing campaign to recruit faculty, co-op partners and Drexel Law’s inaugural class, which arrived in August 2006. The College received more than 600 applications for 12 teaching positions the first year and has built a growing faculty of legal scholars who have experience as both full-time law professors and practicing members of the bar. The state-of-the-art College of Law building opened on Drexel’s University City Main Campus in January 2007, and Dennis was appointed dean in last spring following a national search.
Student demand has been overwhelming. Of more than 1,700 applicants, 180 were admitted to the inaugural class. Members of the second class had a mean GPA of 3.4 and LSAT score of 158.
Legal and political leaders, including Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who was named an honorary member of the College’s inaugural class, offered congratulations to the College and University for their vision.
“I can think of no better way to prepare new attorneys for practice in health law, business law and intellectual property law than to give budding lawyers opportunities to learn by working with experienced practitioners in Philadelphia’s thriving business and legal communities,” he said. “… The University’s College of Law will play a critical role in enhancing legal practice in Pennsylvania and the region as a whole.”
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter agreed: “The College is helping to ensure that future generations of attorneys are prepared for the challenges and dilemmas they will face in the practice of law. I salute Drexel and its College of Law for once again having the wisdom to enhance education by focusing on real-world experiences.”
Judge Anthony J. Scirica, chief judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, said, “I’m confident that the Drexel faculty and students, under the enlightened leadership of Dean Roger Dennis, will make significant contributions to legal scholarship and legal practice, not just in this area, but throughout the country.”
Students at the College are already helping the citizens of Philadelphia, said Mayor Michael Nutter. “The law students who receive practical training in Philadelphia businesses, law firms, courthouses and service organizations are enhancing efforts to nurture and renew this great city,” he said. “The pro bono representation that students provide to city residents puts justice within reach for more members of the community, and that can only serve the greater good in Philadelphia.”