The School of Law prides itself on being a leader in innovation and was recently recognized as one of the 15 most innovative law schools by National Jurist magazine and one of the 25 most innovative law schools by preLaw magazine. We realize that legal education is changing, and we are committed to providing a comprehensive program that meets the needs of our diverse student body. We offer unique course and practical skills options as well as a range of enrollment options to help engage our students to become practice-ready attorneys. This commitment also extends to the technology you’ll see around the law school, including our recently constructed collaborative technology classroom.
Courses and Programs
While the law school offers a range of innovative courses and programs, the magazines selected UMKC because of its Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation (ENVC) course and its solo and small firm initiative.
The ENVC course is a unique blend of classroom teaching, clinical and experiential learning and competition that helps students develop an appreciation for the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship. The course involves students working in teams and using real-world projects to examine the economic, legal, marketing, and operational mechanisms that help to develop business plans for workable venture ideas. The ENVC course culminates with participation in the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge, where course participants are given the opportunity to pitch their business plans before a panel of judges that includes entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, educators, researchers and attorneys. This year, we plan to add a mini-term course on social enterprises leading to possible involvement in the Levit Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.
The law school’s solo and small firm initiative program is designed to help students prepare for a career of entrepreneurial lawyering by providing key skills, knowledge and professional capabilities. Students learn about both practicing law and running a law practice. The innovative Entrepreneurial Lawyering: Solo and Small Firm Practice summer course provides instruction in running a law practice and brings the students to the Missouri Bar Solo and Small Firm Conference, where they attend sessions and have the opportunity to network with nearly 1000 lawyers. Taking this education a step further, the law school opened the Solo and Small Firm Incubator, which offers affordable office space and office assistant, along with experienced mentor attorneys and guidance in managing a legal practice.
The UMKC School of Law offers a wide range of other unique programs like the Six-Year Law Scholars Program, the LSAT Prep Course, and Summer Start, which allow students to get ahead and complete degrees in a shorter amount of time than would otherwise be possible. The School is even working on a program that will allow first-year students to acquire live-client experience.
The Six-Year Law Scholars Program offers students the opportunity to complete their final 30 hours of undergraduate coursework in the School of Law during their first year of law school. When a Six-Year Law Scholar has obtained the remaining credit hours in the School of Law to complete the 120 credit hour requirement for the undergraduate degree, the student will be awarded an undergraduate degree from the College of Arts & Sciences, while simultaneously working towards a Juris Doctor post-graduate degree. This effectively allows students to receive both their B.A. or B.L.A. and J.D. degrees in six years instead of seven.
The LSAT Prep Course is a unique opportunity offered through a partnership between the School of Law and Get Smarter Prep that prepares students for the upcoming LSAT. The six-week course is designed to not only cover the LSAT sections and writing sample, but also the law school admissions process. Get Smarter Prep developed the material and UMKC is providing the location as well as law school professors who work one-on-one with students. This allows participants to prepare for the LSAT while simultaneously learning about the law school application and admissions process from admissions professionals and UMKC faculty.
Leon E. Bloch Law Library
The Leon E. Bloch Law Library at UMKC was recently featured in an article in the AALL Spectrum highlighting the recent renovations the library has made to further support technology and research for students in the 6,525-square-foot space. Through contributions made by Tom and Vina Hyde, the Courtney Turner Trust and others, the library now offers direct access to students right across from the large classrooms and provides a wide range of technological advancements.
The new Courtney Turner Trust Collaborative Technology Classroom, or simply the tech classroom, utilizes several new technologies that allow students to work in a group setting more effectively. The classroom is host to six 46-inch monitors used to share presentations, eight Apple Mac minis running Tidebreak’s ClassSpot and TeamSpot software, a ceiling-mounted ELMO projector, a Crestron touch-screen control panel, and a Dell computer for a traditional classroom experience. A unique laptop clinic was also constructed to repair and diagnose computer problems for students while they focus on their studies.
The library is also host to three new Bookeye Scanners, which utilize several new technologies to digitize print material. The scanners are capable of converting print material into several output formats including image formats, a searchable pdf format, rich text format, and even MP3 format, which converts the text of a print document into an audio file. This kind of technology is crucial for students to have access to as research material continually moves into the digital sphere.
These are just a few examples of ways that the UMKC School of Law is constantly innovating to offer new technologies to the students who call it home. We truly are leading the way in preparing tomorrow’s lawyers and leaders today.