Arizona State University has approved the Summer 2013 launch of the ASU
Alumni Law Group, a teaching law firm that will hire and mentor recent
graduates of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
The Law Group, a stand-alone, nonprofit firm, is modeled after a
teaching hospital, a full-service, fee-based institution that will
prepare new and recent graduates to move from the classroom to practice.
It will provide legal services to a wide variety of clients, focusing on
those who cannot afford to pay current market rates and using graduates
supervised by experienced attorneys to deliver those services.
Dean Douglas Sylvester said the College of Law saw a need to further its
educational mission, and is taking action.
"There is no question that law schools need to rethink their role in
preparing students for legal careers," Sylvester said. "In a market
where many are calling for systemic legal reform, we at ASU are not
waiting for others to change - we are changing how we educate and mentor
lawyers right now, and are doing so in a way that makes sense for our
graduates and for Arizona."
The firm will be comprised of four to five litigation and transactional
practice groups, with five recent College of Law graduates serving as
associates in each, for terms of up to three years. The groups will each
be overseen by experienced supervising attorneys whose connections to
the legal community run deep, and who are dedicated to training new
lawyers. In addition to providing on-the-job training, the firm will
provide formal training to junior lawyers on substantive areas of law,
essential skills, and client development and retention. The firm will
hire about 10 ASU law graduates per year for a total of approximately 30
associates at any one time.
"The ASU Alumni Law Group represents the next stage in the evolution of
legal education," Sylvester said. "This firm will bridge the gap between
law school and practice by providing graduates with real-world training
in a supportive teaching environment. Associates who go through this
program will be well positioned to compete for a wide variety of legal
The initiative is being embraced by the Arizona legal community. "The
ASU Law Group will provide valuable training and mentoring for new
lawyers, while also fulfilling a need for affordable legal services in
the community," said J. Scott Rhodes, Managing Attorney at Jennings
Strouss in Phoenix. "I anticipate that many successful legal careers
will start with a stint at the ASU Alumn Law Group."
The firm intends to partner with other units at ASU, including SkySong,
the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, to help new and emerging companies
grow and spur economic activity at home, and the ASU Lodestar Center for
Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, to provide low-cost, high-quality
legal services to nonprofit organizations that will help them serve
Arizonans more effectively. Such partnerships would leverage efforts
already underway at ASU to help improve Arizona's economy and quality of
In addition, the ASU Alumni Law Group will work with designated client
groups, such as veterans and the Hispanic community.
"I am proud to see that Arizona State University continues to find
innovative ways to prepare their graduates for success in these
particularly challenging times," said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra
Day O'Connor (ret.). "The establishment of the ASU Alumni Law Group is
another positive way in which the College of Law is putting its students
and graduates first."
The ASU Alumni Law Group is the latest in a series of innovative and
student-centered initiatives from the College of Law:
ASU boasts more practical experiences, through clinics, externships, and
pro bono opportunities, than almost any other law school in the country,
with individual graduates averaging 250 hours of client contact while in
school and each graduating class providing more than 100,000 hours of
free legal services.
"The ASU Alumni Law Group stands as a testament to the innovative
thinking and commitment to student success that have become the hallmark
of the ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law," said Sean McGarvey,
president of the College of Law's Student Bar Association. "The College
of Law, its administration and faculty continue to remain ahead of the
curve in working with students to confront the challenges of an
increasingly competitive legal market. Students are universally
enthusiastic about this initiative, which is sure to launch many
successful careers while enhancing professional development and legal
About the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law is one of
the leading public law schools in the country. Currently ranked No. 26
nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and No. 8 among all
public law schools, the College has moved up further and faster in
national rankings than nearly any other law school. The College is the
preeminent law school in metropolitan Phoenix, the nation's
sixth-largest city. In addition to its renowned faculty, the College is
home to several leading centers and programs recognized for excellence,
including the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, the Center for Law
and Global Affairs and the Indian Legal Program. Its students choose and
benefit from numerous opportunities for experiential and
practical-skills training as well as an array of theoretical
courses. With a writing program that is ranked No. 8 nationally by U.S.
News, a wide range of clinical opportunities, a breadth of
externship offerings, and a pro bono program that annually contributes
more than 100,000 hours of legal and law-related services to the
community, the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law is pursuing a path of
boundless impact, excellence, engagement and opportunity. For more
information, visit law.asu.edu.
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