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Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, Montgomery, AL
[By Heather Jung] On June 10, 2006, Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Alabama was granted provisional approval by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions of the American Bar Association. According to the school’s accreditation statement, “the ABA gives a provisionally approved law school two to five years to bring its legal education program into full compliance with the standards. A new law school must be provisionally approved before it can be reviewed for full approval. The School of Law is determined to devote all necessary resources to not only meet the standards for full approval but to exceed those standards.” Until then, students are still entitled to recognition as students and graduates from fully approved law schools and are allowed to take the bar and practice in any state. Administrators plan to use the process to evaluate and improve the school’s programs.
The Thomas Goode Jones School of Law was founded as an independent law school in 928 by Montgomery County Circuit Judge Walter B. Jones when he was approached by a group of young men and women who wanted to pursue legal careers but could not afford to give up their jobs to attend traditional law schools. In 972, the University of Alabama acquired the school from Jones’ heir and transferred the law school’s assets to Jones Law Institute, which served as a nonprofit corporation. In August 983, Alabama Christian College (now known as Faulkner University) purchased the school from the University of Alabama and moved it to the Faulkner campus. The school of law, which is the only ABAaccredited school in Alabama that has a part-time program, is located in the state’s capitol. This location has afforded students easy access to the state supreme court, various aspects of government, publicinterest organizations, and grassroots organizations. The school of law’s mission is to glorify God by embracing academic excellence and emphasizing a strong commitment to integrity within a caring Christian environment. According to Christina Jackson, Director of Career Services, commitment to integrity is crucial for graduates wanting to become the best professionals in the legal community. Students at the Jones School of Law are encouraged to complete 35 hours of voluntary service during the academic year through the Public Interest Program. There is a broad
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array of service opportunities to fit each student’s unique schedule. Students who complete the service commitment are qualified for recognition, which includes a notation of service on one’s transcript, a certificate, recognition at graduation, and eligibility for the Public Interest Service Award. The school offers three clinics for students to participate in. The elder law clinic lets students represent low-income elderly citizens in the area. Students help clients with various legal needs, such as powers of attorney, wills, elder abuse issues, and endof-life decisions. The elder law clinic also provides clients with important information about federal and state programs affecting them. In the family violence clinic, students represent clients who are seeking protection from domestic abuse. The mediation clinic teaches students how to become mediators for the courts. After taking required classes, students can observe cases at local courts. After meeting with pro se litigants, students can mediate civil cases from the smallclaims docket at the courthouse. There are  student-run organizations for students to participate in. The school is home to two of the three international law fraternities: Delta Theta Phi and Phi Alpha Delta. Other programs at the school are the American Constitution Society, American Association for Justice, Black Law Students Association, Christian Legal Society, Federalist Society, Honor Court, Jones Law Review, Student Bar Association, and Women Students Association. According to Jackson, there were 54 graduates in the class of 2006, and the class employment rate was 93%, with “54% working in law firms, 6% in business and industry, 28% in government, 2% in public interest, and 0% in judicial clerkships.” The career services office offers individual career counseling sessions. The office also hosts workshops and educational seminars, provides website job postings, facilitates an on-campus recruiting/interview program, maintains a library that helps students in the job search, and develops relationships with professional organizations, alumni, and potential employers to help build an extensive network for students. Since the school is small (274 students) the faculty-to-student ratio is low-:. According to Jackson, this low ratio is one of the major features that distinguish Jones Law School from other law schools in the area. It allows faculty, staff, and administration to focus on the students. On the net Thomas Goode Jones School of Law www.faulkner.edu/admissions/jonesLaw.asp Faulkner University www.faulkner.edu Montgomery, AL www.montgomery.al.us