Tag Archives: Charlotte School of Law

Charlotte School of Law: Unlocking Human Potential

The Charlotte School of Law has an overriding purpose: to unlock human potential. Our immediate task is to educate students, in particular so that they can succeed in law school, on the bar examination, and in their chosen careers. But we carry out our educational activities with an eye toward the larger purpose. We identify students who have the potential to learn and succeed more broadly and we tailor comprehensive programs to build on that potential. Thus, we have a growing Honors Program; a large Student Success department; wellness counselors; programs to engender grit, self-awareness, and professionalism; and so much more.

I came to Charlotte as Dean two years ago, in large part because of the commitment to unlocking human potential. (This is a very fundamental commitment; we are also committed to unlocking the potential of our faculty and staff.) I also came for our commitment to the unceasing improvement of our programs, services, and outcomes. No person is or ever will be perfect, but every person can become better and better in personal and professional ways. In the same way, no organization is or ever will be perfect. But the more the organization understands the need for constant improvement, the better it can be in providing value, satisfaction, and success for the persons it serves.

Continuous improvement in law schools is more important today than it was even ten years ago. It is also more difficult. Legal education has long been premised on assumptions about what colleges teach and assess in the areas of writing, critical reading, and personal management; on what students teach themselves; on the nature of jobs in the legal services field; on what employers look for in graduates; and on what bar examiners test. Many of these assumptions are no longer wholly valid. Other changes in the environment are equally dramatic. Nationally, the number of applicants to law school has been declining for five years. Nationally, first-time bar passage rates have been declining (for reasons that are not clear). And both law and legal education are becoming increasingly internationalized, with respect to students, programs, and services. For law schools, adaptation and improvement is essential.

The Charlotte School of Law is continually addressing these challenges and is ever alert to opportunities. For example, we systematically concern ourselves with writing skills. We are currently developing methods for rigorously assessing writing competency and potential for improvement in applicants; expanding our introductory writing program; increasing the ongoing assessment of writing in doctrinal courses; and proving added support for student who need enrichment. Similarly, we are in the midst of a comprehensive project to strengthen the development of competencies required for success on the bar examination. This project reaches from the beginning of the first year through the day of the bar examination itself. We are expanding our opportunities for pro bono service, both in Charlotte and around the world. For example, this month we are launching a new project of pro bono service for our students in Haiti. We are also alert to changes in the legal services field. For example, this summer we are starting a new program in corporate compliance that will provide both knowledge and competitive advantage in this rapidly growing field. And there is much, much more.

I have been Dean of three law schools. One of my greatest sources of satisfaction is improving the school and its services, and enabling faculty and staff to make contributions that are both valuable to students and meaningful to the faculty and staff members themselves. The Charlotte School of Law is an extraordinary place for students to learn and grow, and to position themselves to navigate change. What makes it such an extraordinary place is not only the deep and pervasive commitment to unlocking potential, but also the deep and pervasive commitment to doing a continually better job of providing programs, services, and resources that enable that potential to be unlocked.

~Jay Conison (Dean), Charlotte School of Law~

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Upcoming Event: North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP) Exam Preparation Course

0315CSL-NCCP Exam Prep

This Exam Preparation Course will cover all sections of the NCCP Exam. The exam preparation course includes comprehensive course and
supplemental study material, test-taking tips, access to Charlotte School of Law’s Law Library, study groups, and networking opportunity. This course
is open to paralegal students, recent paralegal graduates, and working paralegals.

Two Day Program
Date: March 13 from 5-10p and March 14 from 8:15a-4p
Location: Charlotte School of Law – Uptown Campus
Parking: The Charlotte Plaza Parking Garage (connects directly to the Charlotte Plaza building)

Included in cost: course material, parking, lunch (Saturday), and additional study material.

Please register in advance. If space is available, fee will increase for onsite registration.

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Holmes and Jobs: Lessons for and about Charlotte School of Law

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. noted that “[t]he best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”  Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919)(Holmes, J., dissenting).  Coupled with his observation “that time has upset many fighting faiths,” Justice Holmes illuminated the path that new ideas typically must travel as they vie for acceptance and predominance.  Implicit in this premise is the understanding that the viability and utility of an idea are measured not by the moment but over the course of time.

Charlotte School of Law, in the most fundamental sense, is an idea.  It is an idea whose time came because of legal education’s slow response to the dramatic changes that are transforming the legal profession.  The model for what became Charlotte School of Law was conceptualized and developed by legal educators who have responded to the legal profession’s plea for law schools to become more closely aligned with the new realities of law practice.  What has emerged is an institution more centered on facilitating student success, enabling professional readiness, and providing opportunities for qualified students who too often have been denied opportunity due to a perverse obsession with an increasingly outmoded ranking system.  Our mission has attracted the support and engagement of recognized leaders in legal education and the legal profession.

Professor Bill Henderson (recognized by National Jurist as the second most influential person in legal education) has observed that, as most law schools struggle to adapt to new market realities, leadership in legal education is “up for grabs.”  Schools that best adapt invariably will capture the mantle of leadership for the 21st Century (which, incidentally, is our mission).  Noting that new leadership in legal education will emerge within the next two decades, Professor Henderson has characterized us as “people who could make a difference.”

As we pursue our mission of leadership through change, it is worth recalling Steve Jobs’ observation that “people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  Our objective is to change not the entire world but the world of legal education.  The path for change leadership is not a straight line or without its speed bumps or setbacks.  New ideas also encounter resistance and detractors.  The reason that our “idea” ultimately will prevail in the “competition of the market” is because it represents what the market itself has been demanding.  As judgment becomes increasingly informed about us, and so long as we maintain the courage of our convictions and commitment to continuous improvement, some of today’s “fighting faiths” will become unsettled.  It will be these developments over the course of time, as opposed to any given moment, that establish our leadership and consequent appreciation in the value of the education we provide.

~Don Lively (President), Charlotte School of Law~

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JD Career Fit: Equipping Students for Long-term Career Success

Career Fit

On Saturday, February 7, 2015 the Center for Professional Development (CPD) of Charlotte School of Law  hosted Session 1 of its innovative workshops geared toward cultivating the practical, or ‘soft’ skills needed to be successful in the law profession.  This effort aligns with CharlotteLaw’s commitment to providing experiential learning from the first day of class to add value to any organization upon graduation.

The JD Career Fit program is a requirement for graduation and includes two sessions to be attended by students in their first semester.  Developed by CPD staff, the program focuses on self-assessment and self-knowledge as the basis of creating individualized career plans and objectives that uniquely fit the skills, interests, values and strengths of each CharlotteLaw student.

Students attending JD Career Fit first seek to gain a true sense of self to lay the foundation for personal development.  On-going exercises throughout the program enable students to establish personal brand, utilize social media effectively, develop their image, and perfect the art of networking.  Employers in the law profession have identified these skills as among the top performance gaps they find in newly-graduated law students.

Aretha Blake, Director of CharlotteLaw’s Center for Professional Development noted “By requiring students to attend JD Career Fit, we are sending them a message of the importance practical skills play to supplement academic theory.”

Session 2 of the program will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2015.  For more information, contact CPD at cpd@charlottelaw.edu.

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Clinic wins FIVE Successful COR Petitions!

Today, the Clinic made history!  Judge Karen Eady-Williams granted FIVE Certificate of Relief (COR) petitions for our clients today at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse!  Claire Donnelly, Gatlin Groberg, and Tierra Ragland represented the clients under the supervision of our wonderful supervising attorney, Jason Huber.

Gatlin Groberg, Jason Huber, Claire Donnelly, and Tierra Ragland, advocates for our COR petitions today.

Our faithful followers to this blog are probably well aware of the COR project that the Clinic has been working on over the past few years.  For those not so familiar, a COR petition is a rehabilitative measure created by the legislature in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-173.2 that allows qualified petitioners “relief” from their past criminal conviction.  CORs are particularly helpful in advancing employment and furthering education.  After a judge grants a petition, the successful petitioner can present it to prospective employers as proof that they have made amends for their past actions.  Because these individuals may previously have been turned away from jobs due to their criminal record, a COR provides many exciting opportunities.  Each of our clients today were very deserving and are incredibly grateful for this opportunity.

One of the cases today presented a very complicated issue of law, to which even the Assistant District Attorney remarked that there was “no precedence or guidance for the Court.”  The issue regarded whether a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) counted as a disqualifying conviction under the COR statute.  Tierra submitted a brief and made a compelling legal argument on behalf of her client explaining why a PJC should not count as a disqualifying conviction.  Judge Eady-Williams found the argument very convincing and the COR was granted!

Congrats to the Clinic on the FIVE successful petitions, and the effective advocacy on a matter of first impression!

Several new Clinic members came for moral support!

Reprinted with permission from the Charlotte School of Law Civil Rights Clinic Blog.

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