Charter class career placement, 85.7 percent, exceeds current national average
Belmont University College of Law’s charter class continues to blaze an impressive trail for the program, with an overall employment rate of 85.7 percent for the Class of 2014. This rate bests the most recent national average, as compiled by the National Association of Legal Professionals (NALP), which shows an overall employment of 84.5 percent for the most recently available national rate.
College of Law Dean Judge Alberto Gonzales said, “When Belmont announced it was starting a law school, we made it clear that we believe a vital element of the Belmont Law education involved preparing our students for roles as community leaders and change agents. Seeing such impressive employment numbers, particularly from the College’s charter graduating class, bodes well that our mission is being accomplished.”
Jaz Boon, a member of the charter class, is currently working as a judicial law clerk for the Tennessee Court of Appeals, noted the program offered numerous experiences that paved the way for his position now and future career. “Professor [Ian] Bourgoine’s Legal Writing course prepared me for my clerkship by helping me understand how the pieces of a legal argument fit together. Further, my experience writing briefs and arguing on Moot Court gave me some insight into what is important to an appellate judge. Those two experiences, along with Belmont Law’s externship program where I gained valuable hands-on experience with the Court of Appeals, were tremendous tools to prepare me for my clerkship.”
Of the 119 Class of 2014 graduates, 102 are employed, with 78 of the positions listed “bar admission required” (i.e. license to practice law) and 16 of the positions noted as “JD advantage.” From the class, 46.1 percent are employed in law firms, and 24.5 percent in government, which includes judicial clerkships, administrative or executive branch agencies, and prosecutors. Another 25.6 percent of graduates are employed in business, which includes in-house legal counsel and management, and 2.9 percent are employed in public interest/civil legal services positions.
Daniel Patten, a Belmont Law charter class member, is employed as an associate (healthcare) with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. “Completing Belmont’s Health Law Certificate was excellent preparation for my career,” he said. “The health courses and practicums not only provided a comprehensive legal and business foundation of the healthcare industry but also helped me develop practical skills that I use in my practice on a daily basis.”
Belmont’s College of Law National Health Law Moot Court Team competed against schools from all over the country at the National Health Law Moot Court Competition on Nov. 8 in Carbondale, Illinois. After six rounds of arguments, the team was named National Champions. Comprised of law students Courtney Lutz, Heath Henley and Ben Conrady and led by College of Law faculty member Amy Moore, the team also received commendation for a second place brief. A second team of students—Samantha Simpson, Jordan Kennamer and Parker Brown—made it to the competition’s top 16, the Octofinals, before being beat by their Belmont peers. The Belmont teams were accompanied by Professor Jeffrey Usman and Sean Alexander, a 3L student member of the Board of Advocates and team assistant coach.
Participants in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition hailed from the following law schools: Chicago-Kent College of Law, Drexel University School of Law, Faulkner University School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Hamline University School of Law, Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Notre Dame Law School, Nova Southeastern University, Saint Louis University School of Law, Seton Hall School of Law, South Texas College of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Texas Tech University School of Law, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, University of California-Hastings College of Law, University of Colorado, University of Maryland School of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law and University of Washington School of Law.
“They [the students] faced a constant barrage of difficult questions from practicing attorneys and state and federal judges who were playing the role of the United States Supreme Court for these arguments. The questions required the team members to understand the administrative, disability, employment and healthcare law issues presented by the case with great sophistication and to be able to think on their feet,” Usman said. “Belmont Professor Amy Moore, the director of advocacy for the College of Law, had the students extremely well prepared, not only in terms of their oral advocacy skills, but also to represent themselves and Belmont with great civility.”
The competition, the only one in the nation devoted to health law, is co-sponsored by the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law Center for Health Law and Policy, the SIU School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American College of Legal Medicine Foundation.
Meanwhile, Belmont College of Law’s National Moot Team—comprised of Michael Holder, Travis Brown and Chandler Farmer—competed in Birmingham, Alabama and won both preliminary rounds of oral arguments against Samford University and the University of Alabama before missing the cut to the semi-final round.
Professor Loren Mulraine and the Belmont University College of Law Entertainment Law Society welcomed National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Executive Vice President of Law, Policy and Governance and Chief Legal Officer, Donald Remy, to campus. Remy spoke to the members of the Entertainment Law Society as well as other law school students about his influence and experiences in the legal community. Remy spoke eloquently about his role with the NCAA and how as a sports lawyer, his day-to-day duties include all aspects of the legal field. He noted that in a day, he can see issues dealing with employment law, constitutional law, contract negotiations, torts, anti-trust and intellectual property, to name a few. Based on the some of the current issues, Remy held an informative discussion with the students on publicity vs. privacy rights, most notably from the recent Ed O’Bannon case that he litigated.
During Monday’s Chapel, the Belmont College of Law presented the 2014 Champions for Justice Award to Bryan A. Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, non-profit organization headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. His work, and that of the team of lawyers he leads, furthers prison and sentencing reform, with a focus on the death penalty and the mass incarceration of people of color.
Stevenson said, “Faith is connected to struggle; that is…we are called to build the Kingdom of God. We can’t celebrate it and then protect our own comfortable environment.”
The Belmont University College of Law Champions for Justice Award is presented to a person whose life’s work exemplifies Belmont’s mission to uphold Jesus as the Christ and the measure for all things, and has lived this out by engaging and transforming the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith. Stevenson graduated from Eastern University (where he led the gospel choir), Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government.
Visiting professor will teach criminal justice courses on full-time basis
After serving as Metro Nashville and Davidson County District Attorney General for 27 years, Torry Johnson will retire Aug. 31 and prepare for joining Belmont University’s College of Law as an esteemed Visiting Professor in January 2015. Appointed to Davidson County District Attorney General in 1987 and then elected for three consecutive eight-year terms, Johnson has served the communities of Middle Tennessee for the majority of his career, garnering numerous legal, leadership and community service awards along the way.
Belmont President Bob Fisher said, “Bringing Torry Johnson on board as a faculty member is truly a significant coup for our College of Law. His devotion to his work and to public service is exceptional, and the expertise he can transmit to our students will raise the bar again on the educational opportunities Belmont Law provides.”
Johnson added, “Those of us who have lived in Nashville a long time have seen what Belmont University is doing, and this institution as a whole is an exciting place to be. Joining Belmont Law allows me to be on the ground floor of a young law school, and with Judge Gonzales and his leadership, it’s an attractive place for anyone in the legal field. I’ll also add that as District Attorney, one of my great joys has been working with young lawyers and watching them grow and become professionals in the field. I look forward to marrying conversations about real world experience with the theoretical knowledge students will encounter in the classroom.
As a Visiting Professor in Belmont’s College of Law, Johnson will teach criminal justice courses on a full-time basis and is particularly passionate about the opportunity to teach prosecutorial ethics to rising attorneys. Belmont Law graduated its first cohort in May and is provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association.
College of Law Dean Judge Alberto Gonzales said, “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with General Johnson as a member of the law faculty. His experiences in the law will be of great benefit to our students.” (more…)