Tag Archives: law school

A new start for a new year.

2 Jan

 

The official 2012 LMU Christmas Print.

The official 2012 LMU Christmas Print.

While many Lincoln Memorial University faculty and staff enjoyed an extended break to spend the holidays with their families and recharge from the fall semester, there was a small group of dedicated employees that worked throughout the break. With a December 31, 2012, deadline to get the University’s second application for accreditation prepared for the American Bar Association (ABA), the clock was ticking and the “war room” was a busy hub of activity throughout December.

Preparations for the second application commenced shortly after the announced changes to the administration on October 24. It was then that LMU hired seasoned legal consultant Leary Davis to guide the strategic planning process. In the weeks that followed LMU announced that it was dropping its lawsuit against the ABA and that it would reapply for accreditation with the waiting period waived by the ABA. Next, LMU welcomed a new director of admissions in Randy Mathews to help recruit new students. The final move in the overhaul was the appointment of Parham Williams as interim vice president, interim dean and professor of law.

LMU-Duncan School of Law Interim Dean Parham Williams. Photo by Patrick Murphy Racey

LMU-Duncan School of Law Interim Dean Parham Williams. Photo by Patrick Murphy Racey

 

All the while the pieces of LMU-DSOL’s new administration were coming into place, central figures since its founding — Associate Dean and Librarian Gordon Russell, Associate Academic Dean April Meldrum, key faculty members including Professor Bruce Beverly and librarians Katherine Marsh and Jordan Gilbertson — were working on LMU’s new self study, strategic plan and ABA application.

A base of operations was set up in what was became known as the “war room”, a conference room complete with round-the-clock snacks, reams of paper, files, documents and a white board. Steady preparations were made from October through November and the activity kicked into high gear once Dean Williams arrived. On one of the last official days that LMU was open before the holiday break the entire faculty of LMU-DSOL gathered to review the application. The day-long meeting wrapped up, yet there was still work to be done on the application. For the next three days the war room was abuzz with proofreading and revision after revision. Finally, the group took a brief three-day respite for Christmas before returning on Dec. 26 for one last push on the application.

It took a marathon session of round-the-clock work on Dec. 30, before the application was sent off right on deadline the next day. As 2012 came to the close, a new chapter for LMU-DSOL opened up. This next phase will span another year as the University moves through the ABA accreditation process. Later this month the chair of the site team will make its first visit to Knoxville to review the facilities and offer suggestions to the school in advance the full site visit which will happen later this spring.

Following the site visit, the team will make its recommendation to the Committee and Council on accreditation. The University won’t know the outcome of the application until possible December of 2013, which is why this is truly a new start in this New Year.

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Order of Protection Day at LMU-DSOL

13 Apr

According to the website www.domesticviolencestatistics.org , the costs of intimate partner violence in the US along exceeds $5.8 billion per year. Of that total, $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion. Every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten. Studies also show men who as children witness their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own partners than sons of nonviolent parents. These stats paint a grim picture of a serious and wide reaching topic.

Students, faculty and staff of the Lincoln Memorial University-John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law peered beyond the statistics on Thursday as Knox County 4thCircuit Judge Bill Swann brought his entire order of protection docket to us. The day that took months of careful planning was an opportunity for DSOL students to put faces on an issue that can impact all levels of American society. It also gave the students the unique learning experience of observing how domestic violence issues can be resolved through the legal system.

Judge Bill Swann makes a point during the orientation period of the LMU-DSOL Order of Protection Day

 

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one individual to exert power and control over another person, usually in an intimate relationship. It can be physical, sexual or psychological. The primary purpose is to control, to dominate or to hurt another within the relationship. Domestic violence may occur between a male abuser and a female victim; a female abuser and a male victim; two women; or two men. The Domestic violence statute also extends protection to the elderly and to children.

 

Special Master Harbor hears a case during LMU-DSOL Order of Protection Day.

On Thursday, Judge Swann’s docket included nearly 300 cases. The 4th Circuit holds Orders of Protection hearings once a week, unless holidays disrupt the schedule. Order of Protection dockets are always held on Thursdays. Judge Swan said that the docket usually averages over 300 cases and he uses two special masters to hear all the cases. A special master is appointed by a judge to supervise those falling under the order of the court to make sure that the court order is being followed.

At DSOL, the Order of Protection day began with an orientation presented by Judge Swann. This included distribution of resources for victim services, information on where to get help, details about how court would proceed and a question and answer period. Throughout the process Judge Swann took care in making specific points to the DSOL students in attendance. A great advocate for legal education, this was the ninth time Judge Swann has taken the docket on the road. Throughout the day Judge Swann paused to give DSOL students pointers on the law and clarify proceedings. He also spent his lunch recess addressing he students and answering questions. The students who participated were grateful for the experience.

LMU-DSOL students were given the opportunity to observe the proceedings and also ask questions during a special session over the lunch recess.

 

Thursday’s Order of Protection day marked the second time DSOL students were able to witness court proceedings held on campus. In August 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases, including one death penalty appeal.

 

I am a…

19 Mar

Last year, LMU rolled out three new television spots. The 30 second spots were aimed at promoting the Caylor School of Nursing, the Carter and Moyers School of Education and the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. They were the first in a series that will ultimately include a total of eight spots on LMU and its individual schools and programs. The spots are written by Senior Director of Marketing and Public Relations Kate Reagan and produced in conjunction with WBIR-TV in Knoxville where they will also air. WBIR’s Michael Wiseman directed and produced the two of the four current spots. This week, LMU unveiling the next installment…

I Am a Lawyer.

Lincoln Memorial University 2012 Law Program from Michael Wiseman on Vimeo.

What’s Happening: DSOL Orientation

6 Aug

Student laptops ready to be deployed.

The LMU-Duncan School of Law welcomed incoming first year law students for orientation today. Two groups of students, part-time and full-time, gathered in the Courtroom for presentations by the Dean, faculty and administration. The groups also received their laptop computers and training on the technology used in the curriculum. Additionally, the students received parking passes, student IDs and heard presentations on financial aid, student services and more. The approximately 60 students will now go through the Bridge Week program as they prepare for their first class which will start on August 15.

Is Mary Todd haunting the LMU-Duncan School of Law?

19 Jul

At any law school you would expect to see stacks of dusty legal books, students feverishly studying and pockets of distinguished faculty engaged in debate. At the Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL), you’ll see all of those things. Walking through the halls of Knoxville’s historic Old City Hall you’ll also catch a glimpse of Mary Todd.

However, it is not a portrait, statue or even the ghost of the University’s namesake’s wife you’ll spy, but an Indian peahen that has made a courtyard at LMU-DSOL her home.  The unofficial mascot of the law school, Mary Todd, arrived on the scene during the renovation of Old City Hall. The commotion of a multi-million dollar renovation never scared her away and as the inaugural class of law students arrived in August of 2009, it became clear that the peahen was here to stay. It was the inaugural class who named her.

Indian peafowl are native to South Asia, however semi-feral fowl are not uncommon around the world. The peafowl are polygamous by nature with one male nesting with multiple peahens, though females do not appear to favor specific males. Contrarily, some research has shown the peafowl to be more monogamous, with a surviving mate being outcast from a group following a death or disappearance of their mate. This along with abandoned pets and wandering peafowl can account for the origins of the feral population. Just a couple months ago, a wily peahen escaped from the Bronx Zoo and Twitter buzzed with peahen sightings and tales of her roaming the streets and dodging zookeepers. After three days on the lam, the peahen returned to the zoo.

Peahens are omnivorous, feeding on seeds, fruit, insects, snakes and small mammals. Mary Todd forages for food around the LMU-DSOL courtyard where the students have erected a shelter for her. LMU-DSOL students, faculty and staff also supplement her diet, leaving food periodically. She spends her days peeping through a glass wall outside the second floor hallway outside one of DSOL’s largest lecture halls, so most students pass her every day. Occasionally, Mary Todd wanders to the roof for a bird’s eye view of the City of Knoxville.

Mary Todd has even inspired Halloween costumes and has been used in marketing for the University. Already a media darling, she is often cited in news articles about the school.