Drexel Gets Higher Profile Due to ABA Provisional Accreditation
Posted Mar 7, 2008 5:26 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Receiving provisional ABA accreditation hasn't made any difference in the way that Drexel University College of Law operates. But students are looking forward to being able to take the bar exam in the many states that require graduation from an ABA-accredited school as a prerequisite. And accreditation has made a big difference in the way that the law school is perceived, according to Dean Roger J. Dennis.
This week, for instance, he tells ABAJournal.com, he was on the phone with a "very senior faculty person at another law school who accepted our offer," as part of a planned increase in Drexel's law faculty. "But, I think, had we not been accredited, attracting this person would have been way, way more difficult, if not impossible," Dennis says.
The law school has also had "dramatically higher" applications after news last month of the ABA recognition, Dennis continues. However, he wonders whether this is attributable to accreditation, since colleagues tell him that such bump-ups don't ordinarily occur. Instead, he suspects, the law school's Philadelphia location, a block from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, in what he describes as "a great college town" filled with restaurants and shops, may be more of a magnet.
News of the ABA decision was reported last month not only by the Philadelphia Business Journal but in lights. A three-day evening display, "Congrats Drexel Law—ABA Approved!" was featured atop the PECO Building (seen in a time-lapse photo), with the help of a Drexel trustee who is also an official of the energy company, which is a subsidiary of Exelon Corp.
Dennis credits a focus on academic excellence and "great fiscal support of our launch" by the university for Drexel's speedy provisional accreditation within 18 months of the law school's establishment. While not a surprise, he says it was nonetheless a welcome confirmation of the law school's quality.
"We got such good students and good faculty and interesting curricula, so everyone assumed it was going to be happening," he tells ABAJournal.com. "But it's just like litigation. You can assume something 's going to happen, and you can be disappointed."