Disasters / Emergencies, Law Schools, New Jersey

Will Hurricane Sandy Blow Back Finals?

The East Coast clean-up from Hurricane Sandy is well underway. When reached for comment, the city of New Orleans said, “Clean-up? You guys need a wet-vac and you’ll be fine.”

In all fairness, you just have to look at the news to see how Sandy hammered the Northeast, especially New Jersey. Havoc abounds, and law schools in the Garden State are not immune from the disaster…

Classes are still canceled at many New Jersey schools. At Rutgers School of Law-Newark, they plan to reopen on Thursday. But they’ve still already lost almost a week. That could put them in non-compliance with the ABA rules regarding class time. Here’s an email from Vice Dean Ronald Chen:

By now you have all received the announcement that classes are cancelled for the entire week. I hope you are all in a place that is safe, and if you are lucky, powered. (I lucked out and got power back today at noon. The Dean [John J. Farmer Jr.] is not so lucky and is trying the clear his road with a chainsaw as we speak.)

While we have not made final decisions on making up the lost week in order to meet ABA accreditation requirements, simply extending the semester by one week is an obvious solution we will consider. This would require postponing final exams. Therefore, please be prepared for an extension of the exam period from Mon Dec 17 (currently the last scheduled day of exams) *to and including Saturday Dec 22.* that way we could still finish exams before the winter break. (Exams after New Years Day would present a plethora of complications.)

So again, do not make plans (if you haven’t done so already) to finish before the 22nd. If you have already made nonrefundable travel arrangements, I am sure Dean Rothman will consider some accommodations given the unusual circumstances.

Yeah folks, the ABA won’t punish law schools for blatantly lying about their post-graduate employment statistics… but don’t you dare miss a week of classes!

While we know law students can be eager to have excuses for poor performance, having to take a final on a Saturday before Christmas isn’t that much of a hardship. As the storm is reminding people, sometimes conditions will not be ideal when you still have to perform.

Are similar decisions being made at other law schools in hurricane-affected areas? Let us know. Maybe the ABA will, I don’t know, actually pay attention to something that is actually happening at American law schools.

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