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School of Law

Characteristics of the program

U.S. Supreme Court buildingThe School of Law offers a program of traditional length (three years), with several enhancements made possible by the institution’s 4-1-4 calendar, by the proximity of the law school to Greensboro’s legal and judicial offices and through the program’s close relationships with the American Judicature Society’s Institute of Forensic Science and Public Policy, the North Carolina Business Court, the Center for Creative Leadership and similar organizations. Instruction takes place in a technology-enriched environment and is complemented with frequent interactions with local professionals.

Elon’s legal program focuses its curriculum and other experiences on pedagogies that promote active and engaged learning. The three-year degree program prepares students to successfully complete the bar examination and to continue into leadership positions in their profession and their communities.

Program Format
Consistent with Elon’s undergraduate program, the law school operates on a 4-1-4 semester model, with both the fall and spring semesters lasting approximately four months and the Winter Term spanning the month of January. Elon’s curriculum includes a substantial number of required courses in the second and third years, whereas a typical law school’s second and third years consist almost entirely of electives. In addition to providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the bar examination and to practice successfully, these required courses in the second and third years serve to keep students engaged throughout their law school careers.

Winter Term Opportunities
During the January winter term, first-year students receive substantial feedback on their fall exams. They participate in professionalism simulations and take an intensive professional responsibility course. In the second and third years, students use the winter term to take special legal perspectives courses and explore international study opportunities.

Law students begin their first year with a unique orientation lasting for approximately 10 days in mid-August, incorporating several assessments for development components. Similar programs have been pioneered by the Center for Creative Leadership, a Greensboro-based international training and research organization devoted to leading and leadership, by the Center for Application of Psychological Type and by professors at other law schools. The purpose of this orientation is to make Elon law students better students and lawyers by equipping them to receive and use feedback effectively.

Elon’s law school intends not only to have required courses in the upper level curriculum, but also to have each student select at least one of four concentrations:

  • Trial and appellate advocacy
  • Business
  • Public interest
  • General practice

By allowing students to focus in the area that interests them most, these concentrations should assist students maintain focus and direction in their second and third years and prepare them for their most likely career path.

Capstone Experience
During the third year, students complete a leadership project that they design and implement. Student creativity in choosing the project is encouraged. The project might take the form of a field-placement experience that allows the student to demonstrate leadership capabilities. Other projects might include founding a student organization or publication. At the end of the project, students evaluate their work on their own and with a faculty member, with a final grade being assigned by the faculty member.

Engaging in Skill Enhancement
Law students are asked to become more engaged in classroom and examination experiences than students at most other law schools. For instance, students in the Civil Procedure course will have an early or mid-term examination, but not a final examination. Rather, they demonstrate mastery by completing drafting and other simulated law practice assignments that require them to apply what they have learned through classroom discussion and reading.

Feedback to Students
Feedback to students in the program is frequent and extensive. In addition to their interactions with the faculty teaching their substantive courses, students also receive feedback from a team of “executive coaches.” These coaches work individually with students to improve their interpersonal and communication skills, as well as their study and other cognitive skills. In addition to working with these “executive coaches,” students review their classroom performances with observers, many of whom are practicing lawyers.

Preceptor Program
The school trains and utilizes local attorneys as volunteer Preceptors who observe and provide feedback to law students. During the Winter Term, these Preceptors accompany students to observe a trial and discuss the trial with them. Preceptors are also encouraged to invite students to observe them in initial client interviews, depositions and mediations.

Global Perspective
Recognizing that legal services in the 21st century are being provided in a marketplace that is increasingly global in scope, the law school offers coursework that help prepare graduates for this environment. In addition to elective course offerings in international law, the law school includes an International/Global Law course in its required curriculum which will expose students to fundamental concepts of globalization and international law. The law school is currently exploring international study opportunities.

Law School Catalog
>>Click here to download a copy of the Elon University School of Law catalog in pdf format