Practice experience integrated throughout the curriculum
Elon’s belief that experiential learning is essential to an exceptional legal education is reflected in the school’s curriculum, which offers a sequence of experiences that put student learning into action, including:
- full-time residencies-in-practice
- team-based legal projects for nonprofits
- lab courses
- moot court and mock trial
- internships and judicial clerkships
- bridge-to-practice courses
- attorney shadowing
Our distinctive approach to hands-on learning has earned Elon Law recognition by preLaw Magazine: twice in the past decade on its list of “Most Innovative Law Schools” and, most recently, among the nation’s Top 10 programs on its 2020 list of “Best Schools for Practical Training.”
Elon is the first law school to ensure that all students will benefit from full-time, course-connected residencies in the practice of law.
Guided by a faculty member, students put their legal skills to work in a judicial clerkship, government, corporate, nonprofit or private law office, or in one of Elon’s legal clinics. Rather than compete for limited opportunities in the summer, students will complete residencies during one trimester of their second year of study.
Student interests in specific areas of law will drive the residency placement process, enabling each student to develop specialized knowledge and skills, while building credentials and networks that support their career goals.
Learn more about our Residency-in-Practice Program and how you can tailor your own learning plan based on your areas of interest in the law.
Elon Law students serve clients directly, under faculty supervision, in five clinics that address the legal needs of small businesses, abused and neglected children, the elderly, families and refugees fleeing war and conflict across the world.
- Guardian ad Litem Appellate Advocacy Clinic
- Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic
- Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic
- Wills Drafting Clinic
- Constitutional Law Appellate Advocacy Clinic
Team-based legal projects
Select students also have opportunities take on important legal projects that benefit organizations with public interest missions by applying legal knowledge and skills to real-world challenges. Teams use client interviewing, legal research and communication skills to develop memoranda and presentations for the partnering organizations, putting their legal and leadership training to work.
In honoring your program with the leading national award recognizing excellence in legal professionalism programming, the Committee has found the Elon Leadership Program to be worthy of emulation by law schools across the nation.
Legal Practice Labs
Students will gain perspective about the application of legal theory in the every-day practice of law through case simulations led by accomplished practicing attorneys.
Lab classes are affiliated with foundational first-year law courses, helping students connect the importance of their classroom learning to their future success as practicing attorneys.
Moot Court and Mock Trial
Many Elon Law students compete nationally on moot court and mock trial teams and engage in extensive simulation based learning through the school’s broad trial practice program.
Internships and judicial clerkships
Elon Law’s Office of Career and Student Development supports students in identifying summer employment opportunities and other career-building experiences during each year of their studies.
Students have the option during their final trimester to take courses that match their career interests and bring together all that they have learned, aiding their transition from theory to practice. Bridge-to-Practice courses may involve an extended law practice simulation or live-client experience. They challenge students to engage in higher-order consideration of theoretical and practical problems, providing students with opportunities to:
- Exercise professional judgment
- Evaluate legal strategies
- Build on and apply legal knowledge from other courses to novel factual situations
- Synthesize legal knowledge from across foundational law areas
- Practice advanced oral and written communication skills.
Elon Law believes that interactions with attorneys, in addition to those students pursue on their own through informational interviews and other career development efforts, lead more naturally to mentoring relationships. To that end, beginning in 2020, Elon Law’s distinctive Preceptor Program has evolved to host virtual programs for small groups of students to meet with attorneys who share common professional interests. Elon Law also is in the process of building affinity groups that serve as a network of practicing attorneys who share identities and lived experiences with our students.
Strategically designed experiences for optimized learning and professional development
Elon Law’s array of practice-based learning opportunities is sequenced to enable students to take on increasing responsibility within the legal profession as they progress through law school. Research indicates that students who benefit from a series of immersive practice experiences in law school become more deeply engaged in their courses and identify career goals earlier. Elon Law provides students with a dynamic interplay between immersive experiences in practice and rigorous courses to achieve exceptional learning outcomes and accelerated career development. The sequence of Elon Law experiences is designed to enrich students’ knowledge and skills, accelerate their professional development and broaden their career opportunities.
Elon Law is one of the few U.S. law schools to share space with a working court – the North Carolina Business Court. The Honorable James L. Gale, Chief Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases, teaches at Elon Law, welcomes students to observe the Business Court in session, encourages dialogue between students and business law attorneys and involves Elon Law students in the Business Court as interns and judicial clerks. The location of the Business Court within Elon Law’s facilities is another example of Elon Law connecting students’ legal education to the practice of law from year one to graduation.