The Second-Year Experience
In Public Law and Leadership, a second-year course, Elon Law students learn to work together in teams to tackle legal problems for nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The course gives students an opportunity to exercise leadership in the public arena with actual clients. The course is explored in-depth through the following video segment and additional content below.
Under the supervision of law professors, students work in model law firms, employing client interviewing techniques, legal research methods, and written and oral communication skills to develop memoranda and presentations for their clients.
In-class discussions explore team dynamics and the attributes of effective team leadership. Executive coaches assist students in assessing their individual leadership styles and establishing goals for interpersonal development in the team context.
The course concludes with a plenary session dedicated to practical aspects of lawyering and leadership, with presentations from a variety of young and senior lawyers from diverse law firm and public sector practices.
Students emerge from the class with a view of the skills expected of lawyers in the profession and in public leadership roles.
"Engaged learning is very important to how we teach the law at Elon. Second year students, working directly with nonprofits as clients, begin to see how their legal skill and knowledge can propel them to leadership roles in the civic life of the communities where they will practice law."
Faith Rivers James
Professor of Law and Director of Leadership Programs
Request for Proposals for Non-Profit / Government Client Legal Projects
Non-profit organizations and government entities are invited to submit a proposal for this year's Public Law & Leadership course. Click here to download a complete description of criteria and a proposal application document.
Recent organizations served through the Public Law & Leadership course:
Action Greensboro • Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships • City of Greensboro, University Roundtable • East Market Street Development Corporation • Greensboro Housing Coalition • Housing Greensboro, Inc. • Piedmont Conservation Council, Inc. • Self Help Corporation • Volunteer Center of Greensboro
News about Public Law & Leadership
Class of 2013 law students advise nonprofits as clients
Piedmont Conservation Council, Greensboro Housing Coalition, North Carolina Business Court and Glenwood Family Ministries engaged second-year Elon Law students for analysis of legal questions and concerns as part of the 2012 Public Law & Leadership course. A report on the course is available here.
Members of the Class of 2012 describe the value of the second year leadership course at Elon Law
Whitney Butcher, Allison Lukanitch, and Simon O'Brien, all members of the Class of 2012 at Elon Law, provided commentary in essays and video interviews about their experiences working directly with clients and serving nonprofit organizations through the Public Law & Leadership courses. Watch the videos and read their essays here.
Elon Law students advance nonprofit initiatives through Public Law & Leadership
In January 2010, members of the Class of 2011 worked with three nonprofit organizations and a government agency on a range of legal issues facing their organizations, from farmland preservation to juvenile substance abuse prevention. Click here for a full report.
Law students assist local nonprofits through Public Law & Leadership - 2009
With nearly 100 second-year students taking part, multiplied by the number of hours each person spent researching legal opinions and federal and state laws, the professor leading the course estimated that Elon Law students contributed nearly a half million dollars in services to four nonprofit organizations in Greensboro. Click here for details.
Elon Law students advise on housing policy at regional summit
On February 26, 2009 Elon Law students presented research on affordable housing strategies before a broad range of government officials and non-profit professionals at a regional housing summit. “Their work is a great example of what we are seeking to achieve through the Public Law & Leadership and through the law school’s broader mission to create lawyers who also have the capacity to be effective leaders in their communities,” said Elon Law professor Thomas Noble. Click here for details.
Law School kicks off Public Law & Leadership course
The course gives second-year law students the chance to learn about leadership theory and apply it through work on real issues with real community partners, such as Legal Aid of North Carolina and Action Greensboro. Click here for the report announcing the course in January 2008.