Students push for law school improvements

The Academic Affairs committee will discuss ideas for improvement with law school students.

The Missouri Students Association is taking steps to address the School of Law's recent fall in U.S. News & World Report rankings.

MSA Academic Affairs Chairman Everett Bruer said improving the law school is one of his highest priorities. He said he would begin the process by talking with MSA's law school representative, representatives from the Graduate Professional Council and law students. Bruer, a pre-law student, also said he will focus on improving not only MU's law school, but also its pre-law program.

Tracy Gonzalez, assistant dean in the law school, said she has met with five different student groups in the last month to discuss plans for improvement. Gonzalez said Law School Dean Lawrence Dessem has also met with student leaders to receive input from students and maintain open lines of communication between the administration and the student body.

Bruer said he doesn't have any concrete plans for improving the law and pre-law programs but hopes to meet with people regarding the issue before summer break. He said the break would give him some time to collect and consider ideas from students.

Bruer said presentation is an important part of improving the public's perception of a school.

"The journalism school is very visible," he said. "I'd like to get the pre-law program to be the same way."

Bruer also said many students consider different schools' specializations when choosing a law school. He said the law school is nationally recognized for its criminal defense program and he wants to help the school improve that program.

"It's better to be good at one thing than a jack of all trades," he said.

Bruer said national rankings, such as those provided by U.S. News & World Report, can be misleading because they compare schools with different specialties.

"Students want to go to the place that suits them best," he said.

Gonzalez said the law school reviews its procedures every year, regardless of its rankings. This year's review process is underway.

Gonzalez, who is the dean for admissions, career development and student services, said her department has been discussing new programming approaches for several months.

"We realized fairly quickly with the change in the economy we would have to take more proactive measures to be innovative in helping students find placement," she said. "We are working on several new programs to assist students in formulating what we hope will be successful job search strategies."

Bruer said his goal is to make MU’s school the best law school in Missouri.

"It's not so much about being nationally ranked, though that would be nice," he said.

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