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.
In 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.