LMU Law welcomes more than 50 new students

DSC03825August 19, 2015 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law welcomed new and returning students last week, including an incoming first-year class of 50 students, four students who transferred from other institutions and two students who re-enrolled at the law school after having studied here previously.

“Our increased enrollment speaks to the quality of our program of legal education,” said Matthew Lyon, LMU Law’s acting dean and associate dean for academic affairs. “As we welcome these new students and celebrate the appointment of Justice Gary Wade as our Dean-Designate, it is an incredibly exciting time to be affiliated with LMU Law.”

The first-year class is 54% male and 46% female. Students represent 26 undergraduate institutions in 11 states. Ten of the new students are entering with advanced degrees.

LMU Law received provisional approval from the American Bar Association in December 2014. Since then, applications have risen sharply, resulting in a first-year class that is double the size of the incoming class from a year ago with similarly strong credentials. The law school’s total enrollment is up more than 35 percent from the Fall 2014 semester.

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Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary R. Wade to be Dean of LMU Law

Wade Photo.2009July 28, 2015 — Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary R. Wade has accepted an offer to become Dean and Vice President of Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law.

“I have known Gary Wade for a lot of years, so I know that he has a passion for ensuring access to justice in rural and underserved areas. It has been a cause he has championed throughout his career,” LMU Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk said. “There is certainly a synergy between that cause and LMU’s mission to serve Appalachia. We founded the Duncan School of Law to train lawyers in the region to serve their communities, and I look forward to the good that will come with Justice Wade’s leadership.”

LMU President B. James Dawson introduced Wade as Dean to LMU Law faculty on Monday at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference in Boca Raton, Fla.

Wade announced Friday that he would be retiring from the Tennessee Supreme Court in September following nine years of service. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2006. Wade’s fellow justices elected him to serve a two-year term as chief justice in September 2012. He was re-elected to the Supreme Court last year in a retention election.

“In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln confided to a Union Civil War General that he would like to acknowledge in a meaningful way East Tennessee’s loyalty to the United States,” Wade said. “By 1897, General Oliver Howard made good on the promise, founding Lincoln Memorial University in Claiborne County with the basic mission of offering higher education to the people of the Southern Appalachians. That objective is as important today as it was 118 years ago. I have been honored to serve Tennesseans in local and state government for the last 40 years and now look forward to investing the remainder of my professional career in the future of LMU’s Duncan School of Law in Knoxville. In my role with the Supreme Court, I have monitored the progress of the school since 2007. The remarkable success of their law school graduates on our bar exam and the grant of ABA accreditation last year is a tribute to the administration, faculty, and staff. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve LMU as Dean and to build upon the solid foundation at its College of Law.”

Wade served the Tennessee judiciary for 28 years as a judge, justice, and chief justice. He was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1987, where he also served as a presiding judge from 1998 until 2006.  Prior to his judiciary appointment, Wade operated a private law practice. He was elected Mayor of Sevierville in 1977, where he served for a decade. He also served as the city attorney for Pigeon Forge from 1973 to 1987.

“Justice Wade’s distinguished career on the bench would make him a desired candidate at any school of law across the country,” LMU President Dawson said. “It goes without saying that LMU is proud that he has joined the faculty and will now lead the law school.”

Wade attended the University of Tennessee, and received a bachelor of science in 1970. He received his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1973. He has received honors including the Tennessee Bar Association Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award (2014); Appellate Judge of the Year, Southeastern Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (2004); Judicial Excellence Award, Knoxville Bar Association (2004); East Tennessee Regional Leadership Award (2006); and the United States Department of Interior Citizens Award for Exceptional Service (2007).

Wade has served on dozens of community and legal organization boards and commissions, and he was instrumental in forming the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, of which he was a co-founder and past president.

Wade and his wife of 44 years, Sandy, have three children and four grandchildren.

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LMU Law announces Dean’s List for Spring 2015

June 26, 2015 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law is proud to announce the Dean’s List for the Spring 2015 semester. Fifteen students were honored for achieving a grade point average of 3.25 or above while carrying a course load of at least nine hours.

Earning Dean’s List honors were Jacob Baggett (Burns, Tennessee), Michael Beehan (Oak Ridge, Tennessee), Joshua Dennis (Maryville, Tennessee), David Graham (Knoxville, Tennessee), Patricia Greer (Powell, Tennessee), Anthony Heltzel (Shady Spring, West Virginia), Aaron Kimsey (Knoxville, Tennessee), Thomas McCauley (Greeneville, Tennessee), Jennifer McNeil (Knoxville, Tennessee), Larry Perkins (Knoxville, Tennessee), Ashley Roberts (Knoxville, Tennessee), Benjamin Stallard (Knoxville, Tennessee), Bethany Thompson (Knoxville, Tennessee), Erin Wallin (Chattanooga, Tennessee), and Evan Wright (Alpine, Tennessee).

LMU Law, located in Knoxville’s Historic Old City Hall Building, is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community. LMU Law is dedicated to preparing the next generation of lawyers to provide sound legal service in the often-underserved region of Appalachia and beyond.

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LMU Law dedicates courtroom in honor of Robert Watson

16499862454_0ec62e4f6f_oApril 13, 2015 — Members of the legal community and Lincoln Memorial University officials gathered with Robert H. Watson’s family, friends, and colleagues Friday, April 10, to dedicate the courtroom of LMU’s Duncan School of Law in Watson’s honor. Watson, an LMU trustee and prominent Knoxville attorney, passed away following a brief illness in April 2014.

Watson, a partner with Watson, Roach, Batson, Rowell and Lauderback, played an integral role in the founding of LMU Law in Knoxville. He first served as chair of the advisory board as LMU began developing its plans for a law school in August 2008. He worked tirelessly to bring together a who’s who of legal minds to shape the program. In May 2009, Watson officially joined the LMU Board of Trustees.

During the dedication, LMU Chairman O.V. Autry “Pete” DeBusk credited Watson with keeping the rest of the LMU Board of Trustees invested throughout the law school’s bid for provisional American Bar Association accreditation, a milestone reached in December.

“The devotion that Robert had to the success of this law school was nothing short of amazing. He recognized very early on the potential this venture had to impact this community and became engrossed in it,” DeBusk said. “He was on my mind as soon as we heard the good news from the ABA in December. I knew that he was smiling with us on that fateful day. Robert’s support for the Duncan School of Law was constant. Without a doubt, LMU’s law school would not be a reality today without Robert Watson.”

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary R. Wade also recalled his friendship with Watson during the ceremony. After first meeting as rivals on a high school football field, Watson became a mentor and professional confidant to Wade as they each embarked on celebrated legal careers.

Watson’s widow, Pat, also shared how she and her high-school sweetheart first met. She remembered her husband as a dedicated family man with a huge smile and a career he was passionate about. She said he loved LMU Law and would have loved this honor.

Watson’s legal partner, Jon Roach, also brought remarks on behalf of the firm Watson founded.

LMU President B. James Dawson was joined by Pat Watson, DeBusk, Wade and Roach as they unveiled a portrait to commemorate the courtroom’s new name.

Following the unveiling, LMU Law Acting Dean Matt Lyon presented Pat Watson with a framed print of a Lincoln painting that also hangs in the courtroom.

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Lyon to lead LMU Law as acting dean


March 23, 2015 – Harrogate, Tennessee — Lincoln Memorial University President B. James Dawson announced administrative changes at LMU’s Duncan School of Law this week as the institution continues to search for a permanent dean.

Interim Dean Parham Williams has stepped down effective March 15, 2015. Associate Professor of Law Matthew Lyon (top right) has been named associate dean of academic affairs and will serve as acting dean during the dean’s search process. April Meldrum (bottom right), former associate dean for academic affairs, will lead the newly established Office of Accreditation as the associate dean for accreditation.

“LMU has been incredibly fortunate that Dean Parham Williams came out of retirement to lend his knowledge and experiences to our efforts to obtain provisional accreditation from the ABA,” Dawson said. “He was crucial to the success of those efforts, which culminated in December 2014.”

As acting dean, Lyon will report to LMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Clayton Hess and lead LMU Law’s day-to-day operations. Lyon first joined LMU Law as an adjunct professor in 2009 and became a full-time faculty member in 2011. He has chaired LMU Law’s faculty recruitment committee, assisted with accreditation efforts, and served as advisor to the Law Review.

Lyon served as senior judicial clerk to Justice Gary R. Wade of the Tennessee Supreme Court from 2008 to 2011. Prior to working for Justice Wade, he was an associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago. His practice focused on securities litigation, mergers and acquisitions litigation, and energy regulatory work. Lyon graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law. He has a master’s in public administration from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s in public policy from the College of William and Mary. Lyon is a member of the Tennessee bar and will continue to teach business law courses as an associate professor of law.

Provisional approval entitles LMU Law to all the rights of a fully approved law school and enables its graduates to take the bar exam in any U.S. state. To gain full approval, LMU Law has a maximum of five years to demonstrate it is in full compliance with all the ABA Standards of Approval of Law Schools.

meldrumIn addition to leading the ABA accreditation efforts, Meldrum will also help ensure LMU Law’s continued compliance with its other accrediting bodies, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. Meldrum joined LMU Law in 2010. As the associate dean for academic affairs, she played an integral role in LMU’s journey to provisional accreditation. Prior to joining LMU Law, Meldrum practiced as a trial attorney for nine years and was elected Anderson County (Tenn.) Juvenile Court Judge in 2006. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from LMU and earned her law degree from Samford University. Meldrum will continue to teach as an associate professor of law.

Since the inaugural class graduated in May 2013, 91 percent of LMU Law’s alumni have passed the Tennessee Bar Exam. On the most recent administration of the bar, LMU Law grads posted a 77.14% pass rate for first-time takers – five percentage points higher than the average for all first-time takers from all schools nationally.

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Accreditation Statement
Lincoln Memorial University - John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is provisionally accredited
by the American Bar Association. The earliest LMU-DSOL may apply for ABA full accreditation is December 2016.

Questions concerning ABA accreditation may be directed to:
Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
American Bar Association
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Phone: 312.988.6738

American Bar Association FAQ Website

Additionally, Lincoln Memorial University - Duncan School of Law is approved by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.