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Law School History

1998: Year in Review

Vision and perseverance lead to the launch of Concord University School of Law. Founding Dean Jack R. Goetz sees in the Internet an opportunity to create broader access to the study of law. Kaplan, Inc. COO Andrew S. Rosen, himself a lawyer, supports the initiative and champions funding for the effort., led by two young technologists, Craig Gold and Grant Moncur, develops the school’s learning platform. Robert Hull and Greg Brandes are Concord's first professors. In October 1998, 33 students (collectively known as CU1) begin the program.

1999: Year in Review

In dedicating a new law school building, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg mentions the Concord program. Her skepticism along with other media interest raises the school’s profile. That fall, the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) conducts a site visit. Incorporated into the DETC's accrediting process is the concept that educational programs delivered at a distance should be comparable (in curriculum and outcomes) to those offered by accredited traditional residential universities. By the end of the year, the Concord student census is 180.

2000: Year in Review

Concord gains initial accreditation from the DETC. The William Mitchell Law Review publishes a faculty article by Robert E. Oliphant entitled, “Will Internet Driven Concord University Law School Revolutionize Traditional Law School Teaching?” Andrew Rosen testifies before the Web-based Education Commission, a Congressional panel mandated to study policy and other issues facing distance education. A note about Concord’s program is made in the final report issued by the Commission. The student population grows to more than 500.

2001: Year in Review

Concord First, a supplemental program of exam writing and review is introduced to assist students in their preparation for the First Year Law Students Exam. A nationwide externship program, the Legal Education Experience Program -- better known as LEEP, led by Professor William Weston, is launched. An elective in the fourth year, LEEP provides the opportunity to gain practical legal experience under the supervision of an attorney. A series of health law electives are developed. The DETC accreditation process is completed and Concord becomes approved for military benefit programs.

2002: Year in Review

Concord partners with William Mitchell College of Law and Professor John Sonsteng to develop an online advocacy course. “Advocacy - Theories, Tactics & Techniques” teaches basic trial advocacy skills through online demonstrations. Students submit videotapes of their own performances for critique. In October, Concord celebrates its first graduating class with a ceremony at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Barry Diller, CEO of InterActive Corp. and a board member of The Washington Post Co., is the keynote speaker. Ten students receive the Juris Doctor degree; four students are awarded the first Executive Juris Doctor degrees.

2003: Year in Review

Concord’s first graduates sit for the California Bar Exam in February. They achieve a 60 percent pass rate (six of 10), besting the overall first-time percentage of 50.1. Their achievement is featured in the national press. Concord Law School Honor Society is established by the deans to recognize outstanding academic achievement by students and alumni and to promote academic excellence and service. The first fully online Student Bar Association (SBA) is formed by Concord students. Elections are held and Duane Hurt, an oral surgeon from Mississippi, becomes the first SBA president.

2004: Year in Review

The SBA begins producing a quarterly publication, The Concord Advocate, devoted to the law school community. In addition to the official student organizations, the first Advocate lists over a dozen “off-site” groups run by and for Concord students. Dean Barry A. Currier takes over the reins from Jack Goetz, the founding dean. Dean Currier joins Concord from the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, where he was the senior deputy director. In June, the SBA sponsors its first school-wide event featuring a guest speaker. Over 400 students gather online to hear Justice Antonin Scalia.

2005: Year in Review

With growing numbers of graduates, Concord begins the tradition of two graduation ceremonies per year in Los Angeles. Dates are set for the Saturday following the February and July California Bar Exams. Gerald M. Rosberg, vice president of The Washington Post Company, speaks at the February ceremony. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Rosberg was previously on the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School. Caroline H. Little, a graduate of NYU Law School, who is Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, addresses the graduates in July.

In April, Concord students participate in the “Law School Survey of Student Engagement” (LSSSE), conducted by the Indiana University at Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research. Survey results indicate Concord students report being more challenged, more likely to prepare for class, and more engaged in their studies each year of the law studies than the group of 30,000 students from 72 law schools who participated in the survey. Moreover, Concord students are more likely to stay engaged, prepare for class, and continue to be challenged by the program throughout their program, counter to the results of the overall survey. Additionally, Concord students report a substantially lower level of law school debt than survey respondents generally.

2006: Year in Review

As of the July 2006 bar exam, the number of Concord graduates who have passed the California Bar Exam tops 100. Concord's 29 total passers on the February 2006 California exam was the largest number of passers from any non-ABA law school since July 1997. Concord graduates are putting their legal education to work in a wide variety of settings. Alumni in California have started their own solo practices, gone to work in firms, and have expanded their previous employment to include legal services. In other areas of the country, graduates are practicing patent law, working in a social security disability law firm, and producing shows for CourtTV. Many graduates continue in their respective careers finding their law degree fuels growth of responsibilities and authority as well as a promotion or increased earnings.

2007: Year in Review

Concord's merger with Kaplan University in the fall of 2007 makes it the first online law school to be a part of a regionally accredited university. As a result of the merger, Concord students become eligible for the Federal financial aid program. Third year students, Mick Collins and Damion Reinhardt, are the first Concord team to participate in the American Constitution Society Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition. Concord graduate, Floyd Chapman, is appointed an attorney member of the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Linda Schaefer (JD W 06) is the first Concord graduate to sit for and pass the Wisconsin Bar Exam. Concord Career Services launches a "Legal Career Management" course for students and graduates developed in partnership with Richard L. Hermann of Georgetown Associates, LLC.

2008: Year in Review

The winter graduation ceremony fields the largest class to date as 134 JD degrees and 50 EJD degrees are awarded. In March, four graduates – Larry David (JD’04,) Michael Kaner (JD’03,) Ross Mitchell (JD’04,) and Sandusky Shelton (JD’02) become the first Concord graduates to be sworn into the US Supreme Court Bar in open court. Loyola University Chicago School of Law and its Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy joins with Concord, to offer its Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Health Law online; first class begins in May. David Abrams (JD W’06) becomes the first graduate to petition to sit for and pass the Maryland Bar Exam. Jonathan Grayer, then Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, of Kaplan, Inc., delivers the summer graduation address that marks the 10th anniversary of Concord’s launch (October 1998.) Mr. Grayer’s support a decade ago was instrumental in the development of Concord. Concord alumni site, launches.

2009: Year in Review

Ross Mitchell (JD S 04) was sworn into the state bar of Massachusetts--the first online law school graduate to have won this privilege -- in June after passing the February bar exam. He did so only after persuading the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in a 6-to-1 decision, to allow him to sit for the bar exam since Massachusetts does not allow graduates of non ABA-accredited law schools to sit for their exam. Marjorie Dailey (JD S 09) and Tom Fleming (JD S 09) became the first team from an online law school to compete in the final round of a national moot court competition.  Sixty-five teams from 45 law schools around the country competed in the initial rounds of the Fourth Annual Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition. On June 20th, Marjorie and Tom faced a team from Stanford Law School in the final round at the American Constitution Society Annual Convention in Washington, DC. In announcing the decision that went to the Stanford team, the judges said there was “little, if any, difference in the presentations.”  To round out the summer and in a twist on the traditional graduation ceremony, Concord Law School alumni who are enjoying new careers thanks to their legal educations led the ceremonies for Concord’s July graduation event. A dozen alumni from around the country both inspired the graduating class and stood as proof of the power of online education.

2010: Year in Review

Professor Arthur Miller, Concord supplementary lecturer and New York University professor (formerly of Harvard Law School), was the February graduation speaker.  In his remarks, he said,  “Today is a special day for you and also for me. You see, I’ve been here since the beginning. When I was first approached it seemed natural to have a program that enabled working professionals and those limited by geography to receive an education. I also believed it should be available 24/7. It was a noble experiment. And now, ten years later, you are the 13th graduating class, and this is no longer an experiment but a tradition. As you go forward in your lives, I want you to pledge to continue the spirit of this institution--its innovation and its tenacity. Make this law school proud of you.” With this graduating class, there are now more than 1300 Concord graduates. In July, Concord launches the Small Business Practice LLM program designed for practicing attorneys and recent law school graduates who want an in-depth, practical knowledge of the legal issues unique to small business. 

2011: Year in Review

Concord graduates number more than 1500.  In October, Greg Brandes, dean of faculty since 1999, is appointed interim dean as Barry Currier steps down. Later that month, Concord hosts a panel on privacy and the media moderated by Professor Arthur Miller.  Held at the Washington Post Conference Center, the panel includes Washington Post Co. CEO Donald Graham, Al Hunt of Bloomberg News, Jim Lehrer of PBS, Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, Kevin Baine of Williams and Connolly, Professor Joel  Friedman as well as Concord graduate, Colleen Glynn (JD 08) and Scott DeGarmo, husband of Assistant Dean of Students Alana DeGarmo.  View this highly interactive dialogue on the subject of  the tension between our notion of individual privacy and the media’s exercise of the free speech guarantee in the First Amendment at  

2012: Year in Review                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Greg Brandes was named dean as Concord celebrated 10 years of graduates. Concord’s first graduation ceremony was held on November 21, 2002, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  On October 20, 2012, more than 40 alumni from throughout Southern California and beyond gathered to honor those first graduates.  Among the festivities in their honor was a wine-tasting reception hosted by Dean Brandes and Dean Bracci, a Sunday brunch, and an alumni luncheon, held at the University Club of Pasadena, featuring Professor Arthur Miller as the keynote speaker. 



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