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Elon Law's 2015 entering class demonstrates strong interest in new curriculum

Elon Law's 2015 enrolling class of 132 Elon Law students is 18 percent larger than last year's class and selected from an applicant pool 16 percent higher than 2014, indicating a strong endorsement of the school's groundbreaking new curriculum.

Members of the 2015 entering class at Elon Law during orientation week, August 4.

Declaring that, "students are excited about law school again," Elon University School of Law Dean Luke Bierman kicked off the 2015 academic year on August 4. "The enthusiasm of Elon Law’s entering class for our pioneering model of legal education is matched only by our institution’s energy and focus as we implement a transformative law school curriculum,” Bierman said in welcoming students to the school's campus in downtown Greensboro, N.C.

“Our most significant innovation is the redesign and strategic sequencing of the curriculum. Experience-based learning is woven throughout the entire course of study, pairing students with practicing attorneys from start to finish and integrating hands-on learning throughout. Students clearly recognize the value.”

Key facts about the 2015 entering class at Elon Law:

  • 132 students, up 18 percent from 2014's entering class size of 112 and tied for the largest entering class size in the school's 10-year history
  • Students selected from a pool of 694 applicants, a 16 percent increase in applications from 2014
  • 32 percent of students represent diverse races and ethnicities, up from 22 percent in 2014
  • 53 percent from outside North Carolina, with students from 21 states and Canada
  • Students from 85 colleges and universities, more than any previous entering class

“Many more students accepted our offer of admission this year because of our strong and exciting new curriculum, as well a selective admission process that utilized individual interviews with candidates,” said Alan Woodlief, senior associate dean for admissions, administration, finance and student experience and associate professor of law. “We are excited about the backgrounds, range of interests and overall dynamism of the entering class as they join us in one of the most exciting ventures in American legal education.” 

Founded to be “a law school with a difference,” Elon Law continues to take a national leadership role in the modernization of legal education, launching a new curriculum that the entering class will be the first to experience.

Orientation experiences for the 2015 entering class at Elon Law include small group discussion with faculty advisors who are part of four-member Student Success Teams that include attorney mentors, executive leadership coaches and professional development advisors.

Elon Law’s new model for legal education:

  • guarantees every student a full-time, course-connected residency-in-practice (the first and only U.S. law school to do so);
  • weaves experiential learning completely into the curriculum in a highly strategic and logical progression, providing more required academic credits for experience-based learning than any U.S. law school;
  • moves to a standard 2½-year curriculum (the first in the nation to do so);
  • substantially lowers tuition and costs of living for students;
  • accelerates career starts, enabling graduates to take the bar exam months earlier than counterparts in traditional three-year programs;
  • assigns each student a four-member advising team, based on students' areas of interest in law and career goals. Advisors include attorney mentors, faculty advisors, executive leadership coaches and professional development advisors. 

Members of the 2015 entering class at Elon Law, from left, Chris Doerring, John Hall Greenbacker and Quinn Cotter, joined a larger group of entering and current law students on August 3 at a Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball game two blocks from Elon Law in downtown Greensboro. 

By moving to a trimester system, the 2015 entering class at Elon Law will take fewer courses per term, enabling deeper focus on core subject matter. Their guaranteed experiential learning components include:

  • first-year lab courses taught by practicing attorneys in collaboration with faculty members, providing workshops for students to experience how legal theory informs the real-world practice of law;
  • advisement from a personal attorney mentor;
  • team-based legal projects for nonprofits and public agencies;
  • a full-time residency in the practice of law;
  • culminating bridge-to-practice courses that match students’ career interests.

In addition, all students will benefit from legal writing and communication courses in every trimester and extensive opportunities to hone legal skills in the school's five clinics and in trial advocacy, moot court and mock trial programs. Within the new curriculum, Elon Law continues to offer an extensive leadership program recognized with the American Bar Association's top national award for excellence in professionalism programming.

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Elon Law’s national leadership in the innovation of legal education has earned widespread attention, with a U.S. News & World Report cover story on law schools featuring Elon Law’s new curriculum prominently, additional reporting in a variety of national media and a cover story in The Triad Business Journal titled, “Why law school will never be the same again.”

The profile of the 2015 entering class, combined with the law school’s increases in applications, admissions selectivity and yield, provides a strong indication of surging interest in Elon Law’s new approach to legal education. Information about Elon Law’s groundbreaking new model of legal education is available here.

Philip Craft,
Staff
8/4/2015 3:15 PM