Shaking Up Legal Education
[I wrote this piece for the UNTDCOL Library Blog, and wanted to include it here as well.]
Studying Law is akin to quenching your thirst – mouth wide open, excitedly expecting a trickle of water from a fountain, only you end up on the receiving end of an open fire hydrant. Standing there, continuing to gulp down the torrent of water, is what separates your undergraduate years from your law school ones. Now, imagine working hard to get through doctrinal classes while balancing your extra-curricular activities, networking events, and (required) community service hours, with the near-constant fear that all this work may be for naught. That would be 1L of an experience, right? Well, that was our reality.
The third entering class at UNT Dallas College of Law walked through the doors last August, practically buzzing from excitement. We knew the risk of choosing this particular institution – not being accredited is a harsh place to stand. We shared the gut-wrenching disappointment with our upper classmen when we were denied provisional accreditation last October. Some of our classmates opted to leave in favor of establishing themselves at another schools. Most of us stuck around, and for good reason.
Studying at UNT Dallas College of Law is more than memorizing cases and being the gunner in the classroom, because there is a sense of competitive cooperation that runs rampant through these halls. Our faculty and staff push us to not only learn the concepts of law, but to apply them in the real world. We are immersed, daily, in what the legal profession expects us to be – considerate, competent, and professional practitioners. There are countless opportunities to continue perfecting our knowledge and skill-sets. This institution breaks with convention, pairing traditional legal concepts with an innovative practical application requirement. We effectively learn the iterative legal process where we learn to apply what we know and aim for progress, while striving for perfection.
The ideas pioneered here finally earned recognition. The American Bar Association extended provisional accreditation this June. This means all students (including those who just graduated) can sit for the Texas Bar Exam for the next three years. We breathed a collective sigh of relief and cheered when the news broke. That pressure rested on our entire law school family, but none more than the 3L class.
Observing our graduates from the circulation desk, hyper-focused on bar-prep, I am confident their efforts will be rewarded. They paved the way for my class, and will continue to pave the way as our alumni. I am proud to have chosen to attend UNT Dallas College of Law, and I hope you are too. We have come a long way in these last three years, working to balance the legal needs of the Dallas community with the school’s approach and vision.
Some of us may run for political office, hang our own shingle, or even take the bench. With the support Dallas has given, UNT Dallas College of Law is the premier location for your law school education. An outsider no more, now – she’s the prettiest girl at the dance.