As we highlight recent student successes all over our campus, I am pleased to share that a record number of law students earned academic credit and valuable legal experience this year through The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law’s Experiential Learning Program.
The Law School’s Experiential Learning Curriculum centers around two distinctive course offerings: The University of Memphis Legal Clinic, a professional law office housed within the walls of the law school, and The University of Memphis Externship Program. Among the 2013-14 graduating classes, some 104 students -- or 78% of the overall class -- completed either a Clinic or Externship, and 39% completed more than one Clinic or Externship. Including the 27 students currently enrolled in the Summer Externship Course, Memphis Law students are on pace to complete 139 Externship field placements in Memphis and across Tennessee during the 2013-14 academic year.
According to Professor Daniel Schaffzin, the Law School’s Director of Experiential Learning, these statistics are consistent with trends across the national law school landscape and suggest that our law students have never been more engaged in learning through experience.
“Students emerge from experiential learning courses that much more ready to practice law and to meet the high expectations of the future clients and employers on whose behalf they will work following graduation,” said Professor Schaffzin. “As evidenced by the remarkable year we have had and the tremendous growth of our experiential learning curriculum over the last several years, I think that both our students and devoted community legal partners are seeing the advantages of offering a robust set of Legal Clinic and Externship courses. The Law School is well-positioned to continue building the community collaborations that form the core of our experiential classroom.”
Special thanks to Professor Donna Harkness (Director of the Elder Law Clinic), Professor Chris Zawisza (Director of the Child and Family Litigation Clinic), and Professor Steve Shields (Director of the Mediation Clinic) for their incredible teaching, inspired lawyering, and hard work within the University of Memphis Legal Clinic, and to Sandy Love, the Legal Clinic’s Administrative Assistant for her tireless devotion to the Experiential Learning Program. And I particularly want to recognize Professor Schaffzin for his leadership of a program that brings distinction to the university and advances our commitment to the success of the Memphis community.
You can learn more about the University of Memphis School of Law's Experiential Learning Program at http://www.memphis.edu/law/experiential/index.php.
M. David Rudd, President