Law school sets goals for fall 2003

Six months have lapsed since the reopening of FAMU’s College of Law in Orlando. Now the college prepares for the groundbreaking of its new facility, and looks forward to the process of becoming an American Bar Association accredited institution.

“We have several goals set for the law school,” said Percy R. Luney, Jr., dean of the College of Law. “But as of right now, attaining accreditation is our primary focus.”

According to the American Bar Association, the school must first gain provisional approval in order to become a fully accredited institution.

Students who graduate from a provisional law program are allowed to take the bar examination, even though the school is not fully accredited. They are also entitled to the same benefits as students graduating from fully accredited institutions.

“Our application goes in this fall for provisional approval,” Luney said. “We must be in substantial compliance with the ABA’s rules and regulations to be approved.”

A site inspection, which is scheduled for the fall, is set for late October, early November. The inspection team consists of six members who will cover the school’s finances, holdings, faculty and staff, as well as the library. The school has to supply the team with a self-study document, along with any reports that are requested.

“As you can see, this is a long process,” Luney said. “It takes about a year after the site is inspected, so by the third year of our opening, we should have provisional approval for accreditation. We expect an additional two to three years before we are fully accredited.”

Luney said that inspections would continue until the school becomes fully accredited.

Besides accreditation, groundbreaking is also a hot topic in Orlando.

“So far everything is going smoothly,” said Michelle Roberts, executive assistant to the dean. “We’re just really looking forward to the groundbreaking, which is also set for the fall.”

The new building will be located behind the Federal Courthouse building. The current building can hold only 35-40 students per class, which limits the enrollment to 105.

“We have the funds appropriated for the new grounds,” Luney said. “But we really want to raise more money for the building process and scholarships,” he said.

“Besides that, I want to see more applications from FAMU students.”

DeAnna L. Carpenter can be reached at