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UND school prepares for exam

GRAND FORKS — Accreditation officials from the American Bar Association will be at the University of North Dakota this week to get a closer look at the law school after a visit seven years ago found the law school facility in need of improvements.

“Facilities are, in general, extremely well-maintained, minimal in scope and range from inadequate to very good, with the majority of the space being adequate,” the 2008 report said. “The space is efficiently and effectively utilized, leaving limited possibility for further improvement, and it is doubtful that most of the facilities will remain adequate in the future, as expectations and needs grow.”

Rob Carolin, director of law school alumni and public relations, said the ABA will take the school’s planned $11 million renovation and addition into account.

The ABA’s official accreditation standards state that among other things, a law school must have “suitable space” to fulfill the needs of faculty, staff and students, as well as sufficient technological capabilities.

The current building, however, is struggling with both.

Scott Norberg, deputy consultant to the ABA section of legal education, said that while accreditation committees do look at future plans, the school still has to meet standards with its current operating facility. There’s a chance the ABA could send someone back to check on the school’s construction progress as well.

The accreditation committee, headed by Texas Tech University law professor Eric Chiappinelli, will spend today and Tuesday on campus looking at facilities and conducting interviews before finishing Wednesday.

evening. UND will receive a report of their findings in a couple of months and begin the process of following the ABA’s recommendations and correcting errors in the report.

Carolin said it’s not unusual for that process to last up to a year.

“If there’s anything they see that needs to be fixed, we’ll go to work on that on this end,” he said.

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.

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