THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHISCECIL C. HUMPHREYSSCHOOL OF LAWSTRATEGIC PLAN2015
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANTABLE OF CONTENTS15 Introduction16 The Strengths of Memphis Law19 The Planning Process10 Initiative 1: Community Engagement12 Initiative 2: Academic Programsand Curriculum14 Initiative 3: Experiential Knowledgeand Professional Skills16 Initiative 4: Faculty Recruitment, Retentionand Development18 Initiative 5: Student Recruitmentand Success20 Initiative 6: Infrastructure andAdministrative Resources22 Measuring SuccessSTRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEESteve Mulroy – ChairJeremy BockDemetria FrankWilliam KratzkeBoris MamlyukDaniel SchaffzinPeter V. Letsou – Dean3
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANThe mission ofthe University ofMemphis Cecil C.Humphreys Schoolof Law is to providean affordable,intellectually rigorous,and practice-orientedlegal education. Asthe sole law schoolin the heart of one ofAmerica’s great cities,we commit ourselvesto communityengagement andto empowering ourdiverse communityto pursue justiceas a moral virtueand a social good.4Founded in 1962, the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Lawat the University of Memphis is a younger law school.Yet in just over 50 years, its alumni and faculty havemade their mark in the profession and the community inMemphis, our region, our state and our nation. They haveserved with distinction as leaders of the bench and bar,in government, in business and in the public interest.From its founding, Memphis Law has taken a practiceoriented approach to teaching, providing students withan outstanding program of legal education, effectivelycombining a thorough grounding in legal doctrineand theory with the practical skills and ethics trainingnecessary to create highly competent, practice-readyprofessionals. As the University of Memphis has growninto a major research institution, so too has the ambitionof Memphis Law faculty. Through their scholarshipand their participation in civic, bar and governmentalactivities, Memphis Law professors have influencedlaw and public policy over a wide range of issues.The State of Tennessee, the Memphis community, theUniversity and the Memphis Law alumni demonstratedtheir confidence in the future of Memphis Law whenthey supported the move of the law school from theUniversity's main campus in East Memphis to themagnificently renovated former U.S Custom House,Court House, and Post Office overlooking the MississippiRiver in downtown Memphis. The new law schoolcampus is more than twice the size of the old campus,with over 160,000 square feet of space, and has beenrecognized as the best law school facility in the nation.This strategic plan provides a blueprint to guide theSchool of Law through the next 5 years. Our fundamentalmission has not changed since our founding, but the legalprofession has undergone significant transformation,especially in recent years. These changes have creatednew challenges for the nation’s law schools.We will use this plan to address these challenges aswe advance our mission of providing an outstandinglegal education to our students and continue ourdevelopment of new and innovative programsthat will enable Memphis Law to stand out in theconstantly-evolving legal education landscape.5
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANSTRENGTHS OF MEMPHIS LAWAs Memphis Law began the strategic planning process to address today’s challenges, it did so from a position ofstrength, including: A faculty committed to providing students with the knowledge and practical skills to succeed that alsoseeks, through its writing and activity, to influence law, policy and legal institutions; A strong, vibrant and growing experiential learning program that takes advantage of the law school’sdowntown location to produce graduates with skills the profession demands; An especially close relationship with the profession, the courts, and the community that results fromMemphis Law’s status as the only law school in Memphis and that:- enables faculty and students to engage with the profession;- allows clinical programs to thrive; and- facilitates the ability of students to engage in experiential learning and connect with employers; A growing focus on community engagement, including strong relationships with the state and federalcourts, law firms, legal service organizations, public and governmental agencies, the corporate community,and Memphis’s vibrant healthcare sector; A tradition of success including bar passage rates that regularly exceed the state average by wide marginsand exceptional employment outcomes for more than 6000 graduates practicing in 48 states; and A supportive alumni and community base that provides opportunities to students and resources forimportant programs and hiring.67
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANTHE PLANNING PROCESSThe strategic plan was developed by a strategic planningcommittee of the faculty and approved by the facultyon May 8, 2015, following a year-long process. Thelaw school retained an experienced strategic planningconsultant who assisted in the design of the processthat first began with interviews and focus groups withfaculty, staff, students and administrators. Preliminarywork also included benchmarking Memphis Law againsta variety of competitors and comparable schools.8The committee reviewed the information, held a series ofmeetings and developed a plan that leverages MemphisLaw’s strengths and addresses its challenges. Preliminaryrecommendations were presented for comment to theboard of the law school’s alumni chapter and to theDean’s advisory committee. Following further discussionand refinement, the plan was approved by the faculty.As set forth in this document, the plan contains a setof overarching initiatives with a series of action itemswithin each initiative. As appropriate, each initiativeis also accompanied by benchmarks that will be usedto measure progress in implementing the plan. Insome cases, progress can be easily measured simplyby whether the particular initiative was implemented.Others will be measured by whether progress wasmade toward a particular objective standard.Some elements in the plan can be implemented by thereordering of existing priorities. In other cases, however,implementation will require additional funding andMemphis Law intends to seek funding to support thoseinitiatives. Memphis Law is also committed to regularlyreporting its progress towards achieving success.9
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANINITIATIVE ONE:COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTWe will leverage our position as Memphis’ law schoolby serving the community through innovative doctrinalprograms, clinics and externships, and institutes andcertificates of learning in areas related to Memphis’needs. As the only law school in our city, we havea significant advantage over law schools in othercommunities which may compete directly with oneor two (or more) law schools in the same city. We, ofcourse, face competition from other schools in our stateand our region. But our proximity to state and federalcourts, law firms, legal service organizations, publicand governmental agencies, the corporate community,and Memphis’s vibrant healthcare sector gives us asignificant advantage in designing all-important clinicsand experiential learning opportunities for our students.We must do more to exploit that advantage.Through our Institute for Health Law and Policy, wehave already begun to take advantage of our region’sstrength and reputation as a center for health care,including world-renowned St. Jude Children’s ResearchHospital, two of the state’s largest healthcare systems(Methodist and Baptist), and leading medical devicemanufacturers (Medtronic and Wright Medical).10Our plan calls for us to identify other emerging fieldswhere the Memphis region is strong and developprograms, including in cooperation with other schoolsat the University of Memphis, to enable our studentsto share in that growth. Our plan also calls for us tobuild on Memphis’s long-time status as a center forcivil rights activity, thought and remembrance.ACTION AREASINCREASED ENGAGEMENTWe will enhance our already substantial engagementwith the Memphis legal, business, governmental andnon-profit communities through two key strategies:1. Engaging them to provide externship andemployment opportunities so that we are viewedas the “law school of choice” in our region.2. Participating, though our faculty, staff andstudents, at even higher levels in legal, cultural,civic and business activities of the region.COLLABORATIVE PROGRAMSWe will develop and enhance our collaborative programsthat serve the members of our city’s various communities,such as our health law institute and clinics, and encourageall members of our law school community to increasetheir involvement with the greater Memphis community.Additionally, we will build on and enhance our relationshipwith the University of Memphis on joint programs, jointdegrees, and interdisciplinary research and scholarship.PROGRAMS AND EVENTSWe will continue to make our facility a civic resource, availablefor use by the legal and governmental communities.CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTEThe law school will create a Civil Rights Institute thatwill engage students through expanded curricular andextra- curricular opportunities, provide opportunities forfaculty to engage in scholarship in the field, and carry througha mission of advancing civil rights in Memphis, across thecountry and globally.ADDITIONAL INSTITUTES, PROGRAMS AND COURSESWe will explore creating other institutes which exploit theunique strengths of the Memphis community. Additionally, inorder to continue to serve our community, we will investigateoffering a select number of graduate programs, includinga Masters of Legal Studies in healthcare compliance, aswell as offering courses online to non-JD audiences.11
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANINITIATIVE TWO:ACADEMIC PROGRAMS & CURRICULUMIn the midst of a changing legal landscape, we recognize the need to constantly find innovative ways to meet theneeds of our students and the legal profession. We will review and appropriately revise our curriculum to ensure thatour students have the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the needs of the today’s practice. We will also provideour students with the means to better demonstrate the skills they have mastered to potential employers.ACTION AREASLEGAL WRITINGA major initiative in this plan will be to transition our legal methods program from a model that uses adjunctfaculty to one that uses fulltime faculty who can provide the consistency and regular on-site day-to-day contactthat students need.We must also give our students more opportunities to hone their writing skills. We will do this by expandingour writing program for second and third year students and by continuing to emphasize and supportstudent opportunities to participate in student journals, such as the University of Memphis Law Review.NON-TRADITIONAL COMPETENCIESEmployers and recent graduates are looking for skills not traditionally taught in law school. We willhelp our students develop skills that enhance their abilities to build practices and to understandbusiness development, management and even marketing, because those skills are critical, particularlyfor smaller firms and rural practitioners who frequently practice in underserved communities.CAREER PORTFOLIOSIn an especially competitive employment landscape, students must have effective means to demonstratetheir professional competencies to potential employers. We will enhance our students’ abilities todemonstrate the skills they have mastered through devices including law school career portfolios.1213
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANINITIATIVE THREE:EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE & PROFESSIONAL SKILLSMemphis Law’s downtown location in one of the nation’s largestcities – just blocks from state and federal courts and the region’s mostimportant concentration of businesses, law firms and government offices– positions our school to be a national leader in experiential learning.We will expand our experiential learning programs into fields and areas of law especially relevant to Memphis and the region.We will also continue to emphasize and extend existing classroom and co-curricular experiential learning opportunities.ACTION AREASENHANCED EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING GRADUATIONREQUIREMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIESWe will ensure that each student completes at least oneor more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credithours. In addition to providing substantial opportunitiesto students for enrollment in law clinics, externships, andsimulation courses, we will guarantee that all students whowish to can enroll and receive experience in at least oneclinic course or credit-bearing externship field placement.NEW CLINICAL COURSES AND FIELD PLACEMENTSWe will expand our experiential learning curriculuminto areas of student interest and community need,especially germane to the Memphis legal community.14We will explore the development of new clinical courseofferings across the spectrum of practice type andarea and will explore further growth of our ExternshipProgram through new field placements, expandedstudent eligibility, and innovations such as distanceand immersion/high-credit field placements.SIMULATION AND PROFESSIONAL SKILLS COURSESAND MOOT COURTWe will continue to expand our menu of simulationand professional skills courses and will continue toemphasize opportunities to participate and competein our award-winning Moot Court program.15
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANINITIATIVE FOUR:FACULTY RECRUITMENT, RETENTION & DEVELOPMENTThe success of any program of legal education is built on the dedication ofits faculty to seeing that students thrive. At Memphis Law, we have beenextraordinarily fortunate to attract and retain a faculty that is especiallycommitted to the success of our students. We are dedicated to ensuringthis commitment continues.We seek to attract and retain excellent teachers, but in today’s academic environment, excellent teaching andexcellent scholarship go hand-in-hand. Accordingly, our plan seeks to build a community of scholars, which willalso enhance our reputation.ACTION AREASSTUDENT SUCCESSAll of our faculty members will focus on student successthrough excellent teaching and student engagement.RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIPAll faculty members will be expected to producenationally recognized scholarship that seeks to influencejudicial decision-making and policy and advanceknowledge of law, legal institutions or legal education.DIVERSITYThrough our hiring process, we will seek tofurther enhance the diversity of our faculty.16RECOGNITIONThe law school will seek funding to establishadditional chairs and other honorifics to recognizeoutstanding teaching, scholarship and service.ENHANCED VISIBILITYThe visibility and reputation of our faculty will beenhanced by further encouraging presentationsat academic conferences, participation in digitalvenues and extended visits by prominent scholarsand by hosting academic conferences.17
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANINITIATIVE FIVE:STUDENT RECRUITMENT AND SUCCESSWe seek to continue to attract a highly qualified and highly diverse student body and provide high quality services sostudents can obtain the positions of their choice. To achieve this goal, we must be financially accessible to students fromTennessee and beyond, and we must find creative ways to appeal to an even wider range of students.To ensure accessibility, we are committed to maintaining our comparatively affordable tuition and will seek to raiseadditional scholarship funding. To enhance diversity, we will build on the success of our TIP (“Tennessee Institute for PreLaw”) program by implementing new programs, including innovative recruiting and pipeline-building strategies.We also recognize the need to work even harder for our students to enhance their position in a highly competitive jobmarket. Accordingly, we must strengthen our Career Services Office and pursue closer connections with the Memphisand Tennessee bars and with potential employers and clients.ACTION ITEMSSCHOLARSHIPS AND TUITIONWe are committed to maintaining our comparativelyaffordable tuition and will seek to raise additionalscholarship funding. We are also committed to expandingour accessibility, to the benefit of Memphis and theState of Tennessee, by continuing to reduce tuition.DIVERSITYWe will continue to implement initiatives to furtherenhance the diversity of our student body, includinginvolving diverse student organizations in therecruiting process and developing programs toincrease the pipeline of diverse candidates.18ENHANCED CAREER SERVICESWe will increase investment in our Career Services Officeto provide students with enhanced information, counselingand training so that they can compete effectively forpositions that meet their interests and qualifications.INCUBATOR AND MENTORINGWe will also strengthen our incubator program with theMemphis Bar Association, develop a mentoring programfor current students, and explore the creation of a publicinterest law firm staffed by recent graduates.19
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANINITIATIVE SIX:INFRASTRUCTURE & ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCESMemphis Law will need to provide the infrastructure and administrative resources necessary to support all of theinitiatives in this strategic plan. We need to ensure that we retain a highly talented, dedicated and committed staff,properly maintain our magnificent facility, improve the visibility of our plans, programs and achievements, andcontinue to expand our relationships with our alumni.ACTION ITEMS20FACILITYWe will make the necessary improvements to ensurethat our facility remains one of the best in the country.Additionally, we will investigate acquiring additionalspace and explore reconfiguring our law library toprovide more space for clinics, student events, facultyoffices, classrooms and potentially, student housing.STAFFWe will continue to seek and support a diverse andhighly effective staff to advance the initiatives.ALUMNI INVOLVEMENTWe will continue to expand connections to andrelationships with our alumni, for they are our greatestresource. We will call on our alumni for financial support,but we also seek to increase alumni involvement in theactivities of the law school in a variety of ways, suchas mentoring students, judging moot court, teachingas adjuncts or serving as a sounding board for theDean and faculty.MARKETING AND PROMOTIONWe will continue to aggressively market and promotethe activities at our school and the accomplishmentsof our students, faculty, and alumni, including websiteenhancements. As part of this effort, we will provide contentsuch as classes and lectures, promotional videos, symposia,and other information on a variety of internet outlets.FUNDRAISINGWe will continue to enhance our fundraising programsin order to obtain the necessary financial support.21
MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLANMEASURING SUCCESSINITIATIVE ONE:INITIATIVE TWO:INITIATIVE THREE:INITIATIVE FOUR:INITIATIVE FIVE:INITIATIVE SIX:COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTACADEMIC PROGRAMS& CURRICULUMEXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE& PROFESSIONAL SKILLSFACULTY RECRUITMENT,RETENTION & DEVELOPMENTSTUDENT RECRUITMENT& SUCCESSINFRASTRUCTURE &ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES Number of externship andemployment opportunitiesfor students. Number of full-time, first-year legalwriting program faculty members. Comparison of ABA experientiallearning standards to theexperiential learning requirementsput in place by Memphis Law. Number of publishedscholarly articles in bothprint and digital media. Level of student body diversity. Level of investment inwebsite and technology. Number of collaborative programswith University of Memphisdepartments and schools. Number of programs andevents hosted at the lawschool by the legal andgovernmental communities. Number of Memphis-relatedinstitutes and programs. Establishment of Masters of Lawsand Certificate programs. Establishment of additionalinstitutes and programs.22 Number of new writingorientated courses for secondand third-year law students. Number of available spacesin clinics and externships. Number of public engagementactivities by faculty members. Number of new course offeringsfocusing on the business andoperation of a law practice. Level of expansion in experientiallearning curriculum. Comparison of faculty diversitystatistics with past law school levelsas well as with peer institutions. Successful creation of careerportfolios for students. Number of simulation andprofessional skills courses. Number of facultyhonorifics and chairs. Amount of increased integration ofexperiential and practice-orientedactivities in traditional courses. Number of new scholarshipsand level of funding forexisting scholarships. Level of investment in print anddigital marketing materials. Number of students inmentoring programs. Level of alumni involvement inthe activities of the law school. Level of increase in academicprofile of entering classes. Percentage of alumni participationin the annual fund. Level of employment for graduates. Level of donor support. Number of media citationsin academic outlets ofnational reputation. Level of funding for faculty travel. Number of conferences hostedand visits by scholars fromother academic institutions.23
1 North Front StreetMemphis, TN 38103-2189memphis.edu/lawThe University of Memphis, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action University.It is committed to education of a non-racially identifiable student body. UOM082-FY1516/5C IMEC.
Some elements in the plan can be implemented by the reordering of existing priorities. In other cases, however, implementation will require additional funding and Memphis Law intends to seek funding to support those initiatives. Memphis Law is also committed to regularly reporting its progress towards achieving success. 9 MEMPHIS LAW STRATEGIC PLAN
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