LMU Law presents degrees to 17 new graduates


Harrogate, Tennessee, May 20, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University President B. James Dawson conferred degrees for 478 students, including 17 from LMU’s Duncan School of Law, during a commencement ceremony held Saturday, March 7, at Tex Turner Arena.

During the roll call of conferees, graduates received their law degrees from LMU Law Dean Gary Wade and hoods from Professor Sydney Beckman. The LMU Law Class of 2016 included:

  • Lisa Bailey of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Sarah Booher of Andersonville, Tenn. (cum laude)
  • Tyler Cosby of Harrogate, Tenn.
  • Jordan Davis of Middlesboro, Ky.
  • Robert DeBusk of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Joshua Dennis of Maryville, Tenn. (cum laude)
  • Patricia Greer of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • William Hall of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Molly Hardin of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Jeana Horton of Jonesville, Va.
  • Christina Lawson of Jefferson City, Tenn.
  • Thomas McCauley of Greeneville, Tenn. (cum laude)
  • James McKinnie of Cookeville, Tenn.
  • Lauren Mullins of Clintwood, Va.
  • Michael Parker of Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Ashley Roberts of Elizabethtown, Ky.
  • Elizabeth Sharp of Knoxville, Tenn.

The newly minted lawyers will spend the next several weeks preparing for the bar examination at the end of July. Because LMU Law is provisionally approved by the American Bar Association, graduates can apply to sit for the bar exam in any state.

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LMU Law to hold open house March 23

March 11, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will host a recruitment open house on Wednesday, March 23, from 5pm to 7:30 p.m.

While there is no formal program planned, participants can engage in casual conversation about the application process, financing a legal education, scholarships and more with administrators, faculty, staff and current students. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and tours will be available.

LMU Law’s passionate and skilled faculty deliver innovative and insightful teaching with a rigorous curriculum designed to pave the way to successful legal careers. LMU Law students gain practical experience with an extensive extern and internship program embedded in the curriculum. Additionally, a wide variety of student clubs and activities are available to enhance the student experience.

LMU Law is located in Knoxville’s historic Old City Hall Building. LMU Law 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.

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LMU Law to again offer the Admission Through Performance (ATP) Program

February 24, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will again offer its Admission Through Performance (ATP) Program for fall 2016 enrollment.

“The mission of LMU and its law school centers on service to underserved populations in Southern Appalachia and beyond. This university is committed to providing pathways to advanced careers, and the Admission Through Performance Program is yet another way LMU is delivering to its mission,” said Judge Gary Wade, dean.

The ATP Program provides a supplemental method for assessing a student’s capacity to succeed in law school by letting participants demonstrate their aptitude for legal training. To do so, they must successfully complete a condensed law school curriculum. Participants receive instruction in the Foundations of Legal Analysis as well as a survey of Civil Procedure. The courses are taught by LMU Law faculty.

To be eligible for the ATP Program, applicants must have been considered for regular admission by the Admissions Committee and Dean. Applicants must have the following items on file:

  • a completed application;
  • a personal statement;
  • two letters of recommendation; and
  • a current Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)

Additionally, applicants must have scored 138 or higher on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) within the last five years and have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.0. Applicants who have yet to take the LSAT or do not have at least a 138 or higher on the LSAT within the last five years may still be eligible to participate in the ATP Program provided they are registered to take the June 2016 LSAT and the Office of Admissions has received an application, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Participation is not guaranteed. Offers to participate in the ATP Program are extended by the Admissions Committee and Dean.

The ATP Program consists of seven class sessions and a final exam. The classes will take place on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in June and early July.The ATP Program is free of charge. Space is limited, so participants are asked to commit to completing the program if they register. No course credit will be awarded.

For additional information on the ATP Program or to register, contact the LMU Law Office of Admissions by email at law.admissions@lmunet.edu or by calling 865.545.5303.

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LMU Law to present symposium on Miranda warnings

March 2, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will host a symposium entitled “Celebrating 50 years of Miranda v. Arizona: Past, Present and Future,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 1, in downtown Knoxville.

National and local speakers will travel to Knoxville for the event, which will feature exonerated former defendant Damon Thibodeaux and his attorney, Herbert Larson. The pair will be speaking about Thibodeaux’s false confession following a nine-hour interrogation, his wrongful conviction and 15-year incarceration on death row in Louisiana’s Angola prison. Thibodeaux’s story, which has been featured on CBS’s “48 Hours,” offers insight into the practical effect of the Miranda procedures, or lack thereof, on interrogation.

Some 50 years after the United States Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the Miranda warnings are ingrained in our society. Prior to any interrogation, a police officer must inform a suspect in custody that the suspect has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him, that he has the right to the assistance of counsel, and that if he cannot afford it, counsel will, on request, be appointed for him at the government’s expense. Once Miranda warnings are given, questioning cannot proceed until the police obtain the suspect’s knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights, and if the suspect indicates at any time that he no longer wishes to talk, then all questioning must cease.

Prior to the Miranda decision, a confession was admissible in court as long as it was considered voluntary. This standard may have prohibited the police from physically beating a confession out of the suspect, but it did not prohibit psychological ploys used by police to secure confessions from unwilling suspects, nor did it address the coercive police environment during the interrogation process. Miranda was meant to level the playing field.

The symposium will address whether Miranda warnings are effective in dispelling the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings. Speakers will examine whether Miranda is a failure from either the defense or government perspective and investigate whether Miranda has gone far enough, or too far.

The LMU Criminal Law Society has teamed up with the LMU Law Review and Student Bar Association to plan the symposium and assemble a panel of national and local experts. Additional speakers include Joseph Buckley, president of John E. Reid Associates and co-author of “Essentials of The Reid Technique: Criminal Interrogation and Confessions,” Denver Police Detective Roger Wehr, Eighth District Attorney General Jared Effler, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Kelly Thomas, and local defense attorneys Wade Davies and Joshua Hedrick. A question and answer session with all speakers will be held in the afternoon.

The program has been accepted for 3.25 (2.25 general credit and 1.00 dual) CLE credit hours. Admission for attorneys seeking CLE credit is $25 and includes lunch; for others, it is $10 for the program and lunch or free to the public without lunch. For more information, contact Kathy Baughman at 865-545-5301 or email kathy.baughman@LMUnet.edu.

Additionally, a visual art installation will be on display compliments of the Law and Fine Arts Society. Following the symposium, a brief ceremony will be held to unveil a memorial garden on the grounds of the LMU Law building and a ceremonial planting of a red bud in honor of the Phi Alpha Delta Watson Jr. Chapter will take place. In honor of his long service to the Supreme Court of the United States, the first addition to the memorial garden will be dedicated in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Emison to speak at LMU Law


Feb. 24, 2016 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will welcome retired lawyer and author Jim Emison at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, for a discussion on his forthcoming book, “Elbert Williams: First to Die.” Originally scheduled in January for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the program was postponed due to inclement weather.

Since his 2011 retirement, Emison has been investigating the June 20, 1940, murder of NAACP member Elbert Williams, in Brownsville, Tenn. He has authored several articles on Williams’ murder, and the full-length book is set for release later this year. His articles are included in the Encyclopedia of African American History and on the National Civil Rights Museum website (www.civilrightsmuseum.org).

“Elbert Williams’ story is as American as the right to vote, and as southern as Jim Crow,” Emison said. “The story recounts the violent collision in June 1940, in Brownsville, Tenn., of African-American aspirations to vote with white supremacist determination to preserve their lily white electorate by all means necessary, murder included.”

Emison’s research shows that before Medgar Evers, Emmett Till and James Chaney became martyrs in the Civil Rights movement, Elbert Williams was the first NAACP official in the nation to be murdered for his civil rights work, yet few know Williams’ name, let alone his story.

On June 20, 1940, Williams was abducted from his Brownsville home by police. There was no warrant for his arrest, he was not suspected of committing any crime, and there was no probable cause that he had committed a crime. His only offense seemed to stem from being the charter member of the Brownsville NAACP branch.

Police jailed Williams and interrogated him about his plan to hold an NAACP meeting. He did not return home that night and did not show for work the next day. Three days later, his wife was summoned to the Hatchie River, where a body had been recovered. Annie Williams identified her husband and a coroner’s jury was assembled at the riverbank. There was no investigation, no autopsy and no medical examination. Within hours, Williams was buried without a funeral, in an unmarked grave. The FBI investigated and the Department of Justice ordered prosecution, later closing the case abruptly in 1942.

Over 75 years later, Williams’s murder remains unsolved, and many questions about his death and the subsequent investigations remain.

“Elbert Williams’s place in civil rights history as the first known NAACP official murdered is an event of national historic importance,” Emison said. “The murder of Elbert Williams is a crime that screams for justice, which can only be achieved with the completion of an investigation which was abandoned long ago.”

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Lincoln Memorial University

Accreditation Statement
Lincoln Memorial University - John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is provisionally accredited
by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Information About the ABA’s Accreditation Process

Questions concerning ABA accreditation may be directed to:

          Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
          American Bar Association
          321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor
          Chicago, IL 60654
          Phone: 312.988.6738

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