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Two NC law schools make list of ‘most innovative’

Two North Carolina law schools have claimed a new honor: a spot on The National Jurist’s inaugural list of most innovative law schools, released today.

Elon University School of Law and the University of North Carolina School of Law are among 20 schools on the magazine’s list. The National Jurist, whose core readership is law students, sought applications from all law schools in the United States. More than 40 schools responded.

Elon dean George Johnson said the law school is grateful for the recognition.

“We understand legal education is undergoing some serious changes and introspection,” he said. “When our law school was designed, it was designed with the understanding that we wanted to try some different things. We are pleased that others are beginning to notice.”

Elon’s law school is six years old. The class of 2012 was its fourth.

Philip Craft, communications director for the law school, said the application process involved a one-page essay with supporting web links and documents. Elon highlighted its mentoring program, which matches students with attorneys beginning in their first year, and its executive leadership program, which allows groups of students to work with nonprofits on legal issues under the supervision of professors.

UNC law’s Richard Myers, associate dean for student affairs and associate professor of law, said the school highlighted recent changes in its approach to teaching practical legal skills.

The school retooled its writing program to employ full-time instructors instead of adjuncts to give students increased access to teachers and more varied instruction. UNC law also added a transition-to-practice program that offers students simulated practice exercises. Myers said the program, which will begin its third year this fall, will expand to include more practice areas.

“What we’re hoping is that ultimately there will be something for everyone,” Myers said.

The National Jurist will publish more details about its selection process on its website in August and in the August edition of preLaw magazine.

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