Tag Archives: LMU-DSOL

Taking Homecoming on the Road: Duncan School of Law

1 Oct

LMU Homecoming 2011: Celebrating Our Creative Legacy

Homecoming officially kicks-off on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tenn., in 13 days. The annual event got underway ahead of schedule last evening with what is sure to become a new tradition – Homecoming events at extended learning sites. Director of Alumni Services Donnie Lipscomb teamed with LMU’s Women of Service to host a Homecoming gathering at the Duncan School of Law. Congressman Jimmy Duncan was also on hand and sponsored the food at the event.

After a week of mid-term exams, a celebration was in order.

Students at DSOL spent the week taking exams, including their final mid-term which took place immediately prior to the Friday night barbeque. Once the final exam was submitted, the students were greeted with hot dogs, beans, potato salad, chili and a sea of desserts.  Additionally, a corn hole tournament was held and door prizes given out.

Congressman Jimmy Duncan shared stories from his early law career.

DSOL Dean and Vice President Sydney A. Beckman kicked off the event and invited Congressman Duncan to speak. The Congressman chatted with students throughout the event and shared a few stories from his legal career before congress with the group. Students, faculty, staff and their families all joined in the fun.

As we continue to take Homecoming on the road, our next stop will be LMU-Cedar Bluff on Tuesday.

More photos from the event:

 

Congressman Duncan greets DSOL students at the Homecoming gathering. The gathering was a family event.

 

DSOL student leaders Kyle Vaughan and Matt Ooten.

 

http://static.animoto.com/swf/w.swf?w=swf/vp1&e=1317736135&f=h1ogeT7rbd3Sx5Uk5MdjVQ&d=115&m=p&r=240p&volume=100&start_res=240p&i=m&options=

Advertisements

A day of days for the Duncan School of Law

6 Sep


And with that, the Tennessee Supreme Court was in session at the LMU-Duncan School of Law. What an exciting time for LMU’s young law school. For the roughly 200 students, it was an opportunity to see the state’s highest court in action; for Dean Sydney A. Beckman, his faculty and the administration of LMU, it was a watershed moment in the institution’s lifespan.

 

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk and LMU-DSOL Dean Sydney A. Beckman take in the action just prior to the Supreme Court proceedings.

When Beckman and company set out to build a law school at LMU, chief among their goals was to harness technology to enhance a student’s experience. They wanted to employ faculty who had practice experience and could offer advice from the life lessons they had learned in their careers. They wanted to provide their students with mentors, as well as teachers, and make sure access was never an issue. They sought to build a facility that could and would host even the state’s highest court so students could observe the law in action.

Last Wednesday, as Justice Sharon G. Lee, Justice Gary R. Wade, Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, Justice Janice M. Holder and Justice William C. Koch entered DSOL’s courtroom to the sound of a gavel striking the bench, I could not help but feel a swell of pride for the school, its students, faculty and Dean Beckman.

 

James Alexander of the Old City Hall Partnership, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Nancy B. Moody and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam sign lease agreements to allow LMU to occupy the Old City Hall Building in Knoxville while LMU Board Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk looks on.

Sitting in the very same room that had hosted the lease signing in February of 2008 it’s impossible to quantify just how much has changed in “Old City Hall.” Back then, LMU was still developing plans for the facility that “might” include a possible school of law. Soon after the lease signing, LMU notified the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners of its intent to pursue a jurisprudence degree. Dean Beckman, hadn’t made his first visit to Knoxville yet and was still a faculty member at the Charleston School of Law. He would join LMU in July of 2008. To think of all the man hours that have been spent to get that “possible law school” to the point where it would host the state’s highest court is staggering.

Beyond the pride in how far we’ve come, Wednesday was a celebration of the potential of what is yet to come. As the overflow crowd gathered to hear oral arguments presented in three cases, including a death penalty appeal, it isn’t hard to imagine that some students might one day present their own arguments before the Tennessee Supreme Court. Likewise, it isn’t a far stretch to envision other judges and area courts presiding over the bench in the LMU-DSOL courtroom.

 

 

The Return of the Mary Todd of Old

31 Aug

I have already shared the story of the LMU-Duncan School of Law’s beloved peahen, Mary Todd. Recently, there has been much concern surrounding Mary Todd and her well being, so earlier this week when I saw her perched on the roof of her purple house I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

 

The corner where Mary Todd made a nest for her eggs.

Midway through July, the gentle bird that had spent the past three years splitting time between her comfy house, an adjacent courtyard and LMU-DSOL’s roof began to display some uncharacteristic behaviors. She holed up in one area and stayed put. Later she started reacting unpredictably when people approached her, even the students who had been responsible for leaving food for her.

Finally, staff found two eggs that she had laid. Soon after they were first spotted, Mary Todd began nesting. For over a month and a half she sat on the eggs and fiercely defended them. I once witnessed her swooping after a squirrel that I’m sure didn’t realize she was there until she attacked.

Since Mary Todd is a feral bird, we could not be certain the eggs were in fact fertilized. She could have found another feral peacock while away from LMU-DSOL ground and it is also not unusual for peahens to lay unfertilized eggs. After contacting officials with LMU’s Veterinary Technology department and UT’s Veterinary School, it was determined that the eggs had been around longer than a natural incubation period. Following that advice, the eggs were retrieved and just like that we had our Mary Todd back. The UT folks said that had the eggs remained, Mary Todd ran the risk of starvation, since she was not leaving the nest for nourishment.   

Tennessee’s highest court coming to LMU-DSOL

29 Aug

Anyone visiting the LMU-Duncan School of Law on Wednesday afternoon can expect a heavier than normal security presence. While the University has round-the-clock security at the law school, it’s never as noticeable as it will be on Wednesday when the Tennessee Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in LMU-DSOL’s Courtroom on the third floor.

Pictured in the courtroom at the Supreme Court Building in Nashville are (seated) Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark (standing left to right) , Justice Janice M. Holder, Justice William C. Koch, Jr., Justice Gary R. Wade and Justice Sharon G. Lee.

Tennessee’s highest court goes on the road a handful of times each year to promote access to educational institutions.  Through the Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students (SCALES) program the Court visits high schools and high school programs. For instance this year they heard oral arguments to both Tennessee Boys State and Tennessee Girls State. The Court has also heard arguments at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis. It will be the first such engagement for LMU-DSOL, though the Courtroom was specifically designed to hold five justices on the bench in hopes that the Supreme Court would one day sit there.

Not only will the students of LMU-DSOL be fortunate enough to witness the Court in action, the docket for the afternoon includes a death penalty appeal. Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark and Associate Justices Janice M. Holder, Gary R. Wade, William C. Koch, Jr., and Sharon G. Lee will preside over  Leonard Edward Smith vs. State of Tennessee, Allstate Insurance Company vs. Diana Lynn Tarrant, et al and SNPCO Inc., dba Salvage Unlimited vs. City of Jefferson City, et al.

The Smith case originated in Hamblen County and is a post conviction appeal. Smith is appealing orders of the Hamblen County Circuit Court denying his initial and amended petitions for post-conviction relief challenging his 1985 conviction and life sentence for the first degree felony murder of John Pierce, his 1989 conviction for the first degree felony murder of Novella Webb and his 1995 sentence of death for that murder.

In accordance with the security requirements of the Court, LMU-DSOL will be limiting access to the building throughout the day. The third floor will be restricted in the afternoon when court is in session and everyone entering the building should expect to be wanded by security.

The arguments will be heard beginning at 1:30 p.m. The proceedings are open to the public.

 

 

Technology in the Court!

27 Jul

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it. The courtroom in the Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is now complete and stands ready for the newest class of law students entering next month. A work in progress for two years, the courtroom is the crowning jewel of the law school’s facilities in Knoxville, Tenn.

The courtroom is equipped to hold actual court and LMU-DSOL Vice President and Dean Sydney A. Beckman has already invited judges in the region to hold court in the facility. The Tennessee Supreme Court has accepted Beckman’s invitation and will open their August 31 session at LMU-DSOL. 

That’s right, Knoxville’s historic Old City Hall building, which was home to storied legal history as the home office for the city’s mayor and law director for decades, will hold court once again. The University had transformed an aging, vacant facility into a state-of-the art center for learning equipped with technology’s most cutting edge tools for teaching.

The restoration of a city landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places was impressive enough to garner the highest praise and awards from preservation groups, yet it was not complete. At that time, the courtroom was a large barren room which had been stripped to the plywood floors and awaiting renovation.  

The view from the jury box when the Courtroom is in court mode.

Flash forward to today and the room is hardly recognizable. The floors have been reinforced and carpeted. Classroom seating for 117 students has been installed. A custom-built mahogany judge’s bench which can accommodate up to five judges sits at the front of the room. A jury box with seating for 12 jury members and the appropriate alternates has been erected to the left of the bench and the prosecution and defense tables sit before the student seating.

Another view from the jury box

One of the most advanced law classrooms in the country, LMU-DSOL’s courtroom can operate in three distinct modes. First, in full classroom mode it features a rotating lectern that can be turned to face three locations. The six large screens in the room can display teaching aids from up to two sources at a time. Full motion tracking is available from the cameras to follow the instructor as they lecture. Like all classrooms at LMU-DSOL, the courtroom includes full Mediasite recording capabilities to capture classes and make them available for student review. Mediasite also allows for the content to be streamed live on the internet and the courtroom is connectable through ITV with LMU classrooms in Harrogate and West Knoxville.

In the courtroom mode, the lectern can be turned 180 degrees to face the bench. With two DVD/VCR combo units available at the podium and audio video control booth, two different exhibits can be displayed at one time. Additionally, the courtroom has the ability to function as a completely paperless court. A document camera can scan and project any document submitted and the sympodium screen allows annotation of materials on both the podium computer and attorney laptops. An ambient noise filter can distort and filter discussion throughout zones of the room including the jury box, allowing attorney-bench conferences without the risk of a jury member overhearing the conference. Media and exhibits may also be routed to the entire courtroom or selected destinations as instructed by the bench. A jury conference room is adjacent to the courtroom to allow for jury deliberation.

The third mode, advanced mode, requires an audio video operator but allows complete control over all cameras and media routing. It can be used for highly specialized presentations or very sensitive court proceedings. The courtroom in any mode is a highly valuable training ground for LMU-DSOL and a unique asset for the legal community of Knoxville.

The technology in the courtroom was planned by Beckman and his administration building off the experiences of the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine which employs many of the same amenities. The system was designed and installed by Nashville audio-visual systems integrator Multi-Media Master’s Inc. Account Manager Keith Martin and Service Manager Ron Randolph spearheaded the project, working closely with Beckman. Multi-Media Masters (M3) is a company that works to produce the best audio-video solutions to meet specific needs. With fast-paced advances in technology, M3 is dedicated to being at the forefront of the audio/visual industry.

 

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.