William S. Richardson School of Law retains ABA accreditation

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Cynthia D. Quinn, (808) 956-7966
Interim Associate Dean for Student Services, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Nov 10, 2011

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Accreditation Committee recently notified the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa that it remains in good standing on the list of ABA-accredited law schools in the United States.
In order to maintain good standing, law schools are required to go through an extensive review every seven years to ensure that they are maintaining the high standards expected by the ABA. An ABA site visit team came to the Richardson Law School in February 2010 and the ABA reviewed their findings during the 2010-11 academic year.  The recent official report notes that the Law School answered all questions asked and made all changes suggested by the committee.

Those changes included dramatic improvements to the look and facilities of the Law Library. The committee’s official letter to President M.R.C. Greenwood, Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, and Law School Dean Avi Soifer noted, for example: “The School has given thought to the role a Law Library should play in this technological age, and has consequently done extensive work to establish areas for more relaxed study, increased quiet areas, and more space for collaborative work and study.

It continues: “The Law School has beautified the library space, improved furniture and working spaces for staff, and improved climate control. Implementation of new security measures, including a new security card system, are in process and scheduled to be completed early in the fall semester. It is reported that although the Law Library is neither new nor substantially renovated, it is nevertheless much more attractive, more inviting, and more user-friendly.”

A number of the questions raised by the Accreditation Committee involved rearrangement of space at the Law School, in which an increase in programs and additional faculty members now squeeze in the Law School’s physical plant, built in the early 1980s, to or past capacity. A major reassessment led by Associate Dean Denise Antolini and her Space Committee managed to make the entire Law School space more efficient as well as more comfortable for students, faculty, and staff.

Dean Avi Soifer stated: “Though we desperately need more space and we have high hopes of finally getting started on our major renovation project, it has been great to see the immediate improvements made through the work of the Space Committee.” He added, “The work of the representatives of everyone in the Law School community helped immeasurably in retaining our all-important ABA accreditation, as we were able to respond to all the concerns of the ABA committee.”