Elon Law Revamps Curriculum and Cuts Tuition
Elon University School of Law, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, announced recently that it is revamping its legal program. In keeping with the school’s original vision to be a pioneering “law school with a difference,” the new program will be highly experimental, personalized, and professionally connected. These major changes to the program include a drastic tuition cut, reduced time needed to graduate, and a curriculum change that will provide students with more of a real-life legal experience. These changes are all designed to adapt to the fast-changing legal profession and will go into effect in the fall of 2015.
The first of these changes is a tuition cut. Elon Law is reducing tuition by $14,000, meaning that students will pay about $100,000 overall to attend law school. This is significantly less than the roughly $180,000 it costs to attend most top-tier law schools these days. In addition, Elon Law will also guarantee a fixed-tuition for each entering class, so you will never have to pay more even if tuition is increased while you’re a student.
The next component of the revamp is the adoption of a 7-trimester schedule. This means that instead of graduating after three years, students will be able to graduate in just 2.5. While this might not seem significant, graduating a half of a year early will save students money and allow them a head-start in the job market. Students who enter Elon Law next fall will graduate in December 2017 and will be able to take the bar exam in February.
In addition, there will also be major curricular changes designed to prepare students for real-world legal practice. According to Elon Law, they are the first law school in the country to require students to serve a full-time faculty-supervised residency during the academic year as opposed to during the summer. This gives Elon Law students an advantage because they do not need to fight for job placement during the highly-competitive summer months.
The first year will consist of an introductory program “focused on legal analysis, writing and communication, and leadership and professionalism.” The first year program also includes case-simulations run by skilled practicing attorneys. This is in addition to their nationally-competitive moot court and mock trial programs. Elon Law will also be incorporating experimental learning into their curriculum, which will account for over 20 percent of the program. This far exceeds the requirements that the ABA has set out for experimental learning.
Each student that attends Elon Law will also be assigned a four-person professional advising team, consisting of a faculty advisor, a working attorney mentor, an executive coach, and a career consultant. This four-person team is designed to make students as prepared and as knowledgeable as possible before they graduate. In particular, the career consultant will play a vital role in helping students secure post-graduation employment.
Many aspiring-lawyers today are choosing not to attend law school due to the extensive time and financial commitments. These major changes to Elon’s program are addressing these concerns and are adapting to the current needs of students. Hopefully their new program will be successful, and we will see more law schools following in Elon’s footsteps.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article cited total tuition as $115,000. Total tuition is roughly $100,000.