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Belmont University College of Law


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Introduction

Belmont University College of Law’s mission is to prepare qualified students with an excellent understanding of the law that equips them to become professional counselors, advocates, and judges; researchers, teachers, and philosophers of the law; entrepreneurs; and engaged citizens. Belmont University is a student-centered Christian community providing an academically challenging education that empowers men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage, and faith.

Location and Physical Facilities

Belmont University calls Tennessee’s capital city, Nashville, home. Nashville is a rare place that combines big-city charisma and small-town charm to create an enriching experience for Belmont students. Nashville holds a more recognizable nickname as “Music City” with performance halls, studios, and clubs everywhere you turn. Nashville is a vibrant city, with major urban, government, and not-for-profit centers. Along with a robust legal community, it is also home to a variety of business industries, including printing and publishing, health care management, insurance, tourism, banking, advertising, and media. Nashville is music, sports, culture, quiet parks, and big business, and the people here greet you with a smile.

A mere three miles from downtown Nashville, the College of Law is housed in the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center, a 75,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Belmont’s campus. It is composed of more than a dozen classrooms, a 21st century trial courtroom, an appellate court room, and a two-story law library. The Baskin Center has numerous amenities for students, including a student commons, wireless internet access, a locker room, and a parking garage. Additionally, just a few steps from Belmont’s campus are the neighborhoods of Hillsboro Village and 12 South, which offer a variety of coffee shops and dining options.

Practical Emphasis

The College of Law curriculum focuses on creating practice-ready attorneys by integrating legal analysis, practical legal skills, and professionalism. The unique aspect of the College of Law’s curriculum is the practicum requirement in each semester. Through practicum work, students become proficient in the “practice” of law. Students receive instruction in all aspects of the practice of law, such as legal writing, legal research, client interviewing and counseling, litigation, negotiation, and other specialized areas. Upon graduation, students will have completed at least six skills-related courses, giving them an advantage when they begin practicing.

In addition to the required practicum courses, Belmont Law’s curriculum emphasizes bar readiness by requiring students to appropriately balance required courses with electives. The first year, the “Fundamental Year,” is composed of foundational courses, such as Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts. The second year is categorized as the “Expertise Year.” During the Expertise Year, students are required to take courses such as Business Associations, Evidence, Criminal Constitutional Law, and Wills and Trusts. Finally, students reach the third year, the “Capstone Year,” which provides a broad array of elective course offerings as well as a required Bar Refresher course.

To meet graduation requirements, students must also complete the rigorous writing requirement, which is completed in either the second or third year. Students must successfully complete 88 credit hours to be awarded the Juris Doctor degree.

This curriculum has proven successful, as Belmont College of Law’s three-year bar pass rate average for the state of Tennessee is 91 percent for first-time test takers.

Certificate Programs and Joint JD/MBA

Belmont College of Law is proud to offer three certificate programs for our students to choose to pursue during their law school careers. These programs, while optional, touch on a few of the top industries in the Nashville area, as well as the expertise of our faculty.

Music Business is a course of study pioneered at Belmont University, and the College of Law’s certificate program in Entertainment and Music Business Law is a natural extension of this expertise. Students who wish to engage in this unique area of law practice can benefit from the array of courses this program offers. Entertainment Law explores legal and business issues relevant to film, multimedia, music, publishing, radio, sports, television, theatre, and visual arts. Music Business, which compromises a large part of the certificate program, complements the significant industry that exists in the Nashville community.

Criminal Law is an exciting and important area of law in every jurisdiction. Students can take advantage of the resources and opportunities available at Belmont College of Law in this vital area through the College of Law’s Criminal Law certificate program. The program offers an array of courses including Trial Advocacy, Sentencing Law, and Wrongful Convictions and indicates to prospective employers that a student has specialized knowledge of the criminal law field.

Health care is a leading industry in Nashville and students can take advantage of this industry strength through the Health Law certificate program. Courses offered in this specialty include Biomedical Ethics, Disability Law, Global Health and Human Rights, Health Care Business and Finance, Health Care Fraud and Abuse Regulation, and Mental Health Law.

The JD/MBA is a dual degree program offered cooperatively by Belmont University College of Law and The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business. This innovative program provides a unique opportunity to obtain a cutting-edge education in law and business in the nation’s healthcare capital and music metropolis. Graduates are prepared for roles as practitioners, executives, and managers in the legal and business industries.

Faculty

The College of Law boasts an impressive faculty. They have served as state Supreme Court justices, practiced in large law firms in major US cities, represented music and health care industry clients, and prosecuted high-profile criminal cases. Further, Dean Alberto R. Gonzales, who teaches each semester, served as the 80th Attorney General of the United States of America and Counsel to the President of the United States. In addition to their astounding practice and judicial experience, our faculty are excellent classroom teachers and impressive scholars who provide personalized attention to law students with an open-door policy.

Mentoring

As a part of its student-centered approach, the College of Law created two excellent mentoring opportunities. First, each incoming class is introduced to the Peer Mentor Program prior to matriculation. The Peer Mentor Program is designed to assist new students with the transition to law school so that they may maximize their potential. The Peer Mentor Program is staffed with current students who are invested in fostering relationships with their mentees and guiding each student throughout the challenges of the first year of law school. Participation is voluntary.

Second, each entering student is assigned an attorney mentor who is an experienced practitioner or judge through Belmont College of Law’s Chapter of the American Inn of Court. Attorney mentors come from a broad range of legal practice areas and backgrounds, and they assist students with practice-related questions. Additionally, they introduce students to the practice of law by inviting students to accompany them to client interviews, depositions, judicial hearings, and other day-to-day activities of a practicing attorney or judge. Not only is this a valuable learning experience, but this program also helps students begin networking early in their legal education.

Career and Professional Development

At the College of Law, preparing for a career in law begins as soon as a student matriculates. The Office of Career and Professional Development is resolute about connecting with first-year students. With its personalized approach, we provide one-on-one counseling to assess a student’s individual goals and priorities, identify personal skills and accomplishments, and determine how to emphasize these skills and accomplishments to potential employers. Students receive personalized resume reviews and cover letter assistance. During one-on-one counseling, we create a job-search strategy based on the student’s career goals.

Beyond one-on-one counseling, the Office of Career and Professional Development provides various resources and services. Several times each semester, the office provides workshops and events covering topics such as interviewing, networking, and professionalism. Additionally, the office hosts a professional development week every spring semester for students to engage with the legal community and learn about different opportunities. This week also includes a formal mock-interview program for students to practice their interviewing skills with attorney volunteers from the Nashville area. These attorney volunteers provide students with advice in order to prepare them for future interviews. The office also hosts a full on-campus interviewing program for employers to interview students for summer positions.

Through the efforts of the Office of Career and Professional Development, students become independent job seekers and are empowered to attain their goals and aspirations in the legal profession and in other professional fields. Belmont Law alums boast a 94 percent employment rate.

Student Organizations

At the College of Law, students excel not only inside the classroom but through a variety of extracurricular activities as well. There are a variety of student organizations to join, and each one serves a professional development purpose and conducts a public service project annually. Recognized organizations include the Student Bar Association, Legal Aid Society, Black Law Students Association, American Constitutional Society, Christian Legal Society, Criminal Law Society, Family Law Society, Entertainment Law Society, Federalist Society, Health Law Student Association, Law and Entrepreneurship Society, and Women’s Law Student Organization.

Academic organizations include the Belmont Law Review, Board of Advocates, Criminal Law Journal, and Health Law Journal. The Belmont Law Review is committed to both engaging in and facilitating useful legal discourse with an eye toward promoting justice and upholding the mission and values of Belmont University. It publishes a scholarly journal and hosts a symposium each academic year. The Board of Advocates encompasses the moot court, mock trial, arbitration, and transactional competition teams. Through academic and student organizations students can improve their written and oral advocacy, negotiation, and client counseling skills.

Admission and Financial Aid

The College of Law seeks to enroll a highly qualified and diverse class each year while maintaining a focus on small class sizes. A smaller entering class is important for our student-centered approach and continuous efforts to improve the academic credentials of the student body. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling admission basis beginning September 1 of the year prior to matriculation. Required documents for review are the admission application; LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report, which contains the applicant’s LSAT score and cumulative undergraduate GPA; and a personal statement. If an applicant has taken the LSAT multiple times, the highest LSAT score is the primary score considered. The College of Law has a competitive applicant pool and prospective students are encouraged to apply early in the admission cycle.

The College of Law offers merit-based scholarships to qualifying admitted applicants. There is no separate scholarship application, and all admitted applicants are reviewed for scholarship eligibility. Eligible applicants for federal student loans are encouraged to complete a FAFSA application by June 1 of the year of matriculation.

The Dean’s Office offers a debt counseling program to assist students in navigating the loan process (from application to repayment), budgeting, and cost mitigation.

Applicant Profile

An applicant to the College of Law must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a satisfactory undergraduate record. An application for admission filed during the final year of undergraduate studies, prior to receiving a degree, can be approved by the College of Law, subject to the applicant’s receipt of the degree prior to matriculation in the College of Law. An applicant must present a satisfactory score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). If taken multiple times, the highest score will be used. The selection process is based on a number of different factors. The two principal factors are the applicant’s cumulative undergraduate GPA and LSAT score. Other factors that may be considered include: undergraduate and graduate institutions; cumulative graduate GPA; majors and/or disciplines; activities in school and professional organizations; community service; and employment experiences


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Contact Information

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212

Phone: 615.460.8400
Fax: 615.460.6004
Email: law@belmont.edu
Website: www.belmont.edu/law
ABA Data: www.belmont.edu/law/admission/consumerinfo.html
consumerinfo.html