LMU launches part-time, hybrid JD program

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023


Lincoln Memorial University

The Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law (LMU Law) has launched a new Part-Time/Hybrid Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) program and is currently accepting applications. On February 28, 2023, the American Bar Association’s Council on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (the Council) notified LMU that the Council has granted LMU Law’s application for an acquiescence in substantive change to establish a new part-time division and offer a program that allows distance education credit hours in excess of the one-third of credit hours permitted under the current ABA Standards. LMU Law is the 14th law school to receive an acquiescence from the Council to offer a part-time/hybrid JD program and the first in the Southeastern United States.

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The Part-time/Hybrid JD program furthers the mission of LMU Law by providing greater access to legal education to underserved populations in the Southern Appalachian region and beyond. Students enrolled in the program will be able to complete their law degree in four years. Just under two-thirds of the credit hours required for the degree consist of asynchronous distance education courses that can be completed from the student’s home, while the remaining one-third of credit hours are offered in a hybrid format. After the first-year orientation, students will attend on-campus classes for no more than two long weekends a semester, with the fourth year being entirely online.

“We are primarily a teaching-centered and student-focused institution, and the development of a part-time/hybrid J.D. program allows us to deliver our program of legal education in a different way, for a different kind of student,” said LMU Law Vice President and Dean Matt Lyon. “It is a perfect complement to our existing full-time program, which focuses on preparing our students to practice law in an ever-changing market, with an emphasis on those who want to practice in small firms and rural areas.”

The Part-time/Hybrid Program replaces LMU Law’s flex-time enrollment option, which it has offered for the past ten years. The flex-time option, selected by about 10 percent of LMU Law’s students, has permitted students to take a reduced load of no more than 12 credits per semester; however, flex-time students have been required to attend classes during the day with full-time students. Until now, there has been no option in the region for a law degree for individuals who need or want to work full-time. The Part-time/Hybrid program will fill that void.

Courses for the Part-time/Hybrid Program are being designed by LMU Law’s experienced full-time faculty members with the help of professional instructional designers to maintain the rigor, interactivity, and accountability of LMU Law’s existing full-time program of legal education. Overseeing the development of the Part-time/Hybrid JD Program is LMU Law’s Associate Dean for Distance Education Vonda Laughlin.

“This program opens the door to a law degree to mid-career professionals in both rural and urban areas who, because of work, family, or other obligations, are unable to attend law school full-time or even move to a city with a law school,” Dean Laughlin said. “We also anticipate that the Part-time/Hybrid Program will expose our full-time students to a more diverse body of fellow students, representing a wide range of perspectives, life experiences, career development, ages, and races and ethnicities.”

Priority consideration for Fall 2023 admission to LMU Law’s Part-Time/Hybrid JD program will be given to applications received by May 1. The law school will continue to accept applications for Fall 2023 until June 15 or the class is filled, whichever is sooner. The Fall 2023 entering class is limited to 25 students, and demand is anticipated to be high. To learn more or apply, click HERE.

The Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law is in Knoxville’s Historic Old City Hall Building. LMU Law is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of lawyers to provide sound legal service in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond.