March 22, 2013 – Knoxville, Tennessee — The Lincoln Memorial University-John J. Duncan, Jr., School of Law (LMU-DSOL) has been honored by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) Access to Justice Committee for its commitment to public service.
The honor, which recognizes LMU-DSOL’s leadership in requiring mandatory pro bono work for both students and faculty, was bestowed in January. Winter weather prevented University officials from accepting the award in person. TBA and LMU-DSOL personnel are working on plans for a formal presentation later this spring.
“The mission of LMU and its law school centers on service to underserved populations in Southern Appalachia. By this award, the Tennessee Bar Association recognizes the LMU-Duncan School of Law as the first law school in Tennessee to require this significant training and service opportunity for its students and faculty,” said LMU-DSOL Interim Dean Parham Williams. “The experience of participating in pro bono work is invaluable both as a service to the community and as “hands-on” training for our students.”
The Access to Justice Committee annually recognizes entities and individuals who demonstrate commitment to public service. LMU-DSOL is the first law school recognized. TBA officials lauded LMU-DSOL’s formal policy requiring pro bono service. Service is integral to the mission of Lincoln Memorial University and central to LMU-DSOL’s goal of producing ethical lawyers to enhance access to quality legal counsel for the underserved rural communities of Appalachia.
Embedded into the LMU-DSOL curriculum is the requirement that students must complete 30 pro bono hours, 10 of which must be legal hours, prior to graduation. The school has approximately 80 preapproved locations where students can complete their hours. Additionally, students may petition to complete hours at other locations at the discretion of the Dean of Students. Students are not eligible to begin the requirement until they have completed the traditional first year (1L) course work. Faculty members are also required to complete pro bono work.
To date, 84 LMU-DSOL students have contributed 5,165 hours to the community in Knoxville and the surrounding area. LMU-DSOL students are completing nearly double the required amount of hours, averaging 61.5 hours per person. Faculty members have set the example for students by also completing pro-bono hours, in some instances, alongside the students.
LMU-DSOL’s inaugural class is slated to graduate in May. LMU-DSOL has Tennessee Board of Law Examiners approval through 2017 so all students may apply to sit for the bar exam in the state of Tennessee.
The Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law is located in Knoxville’s Historic Old City Hall Building. LMU-DSOL is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of lawyers to provide sound legal service in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DSOL, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 5303 or visit us online at www.lmunet.edu/law.