Dear Prospective Student,
At Thomas Jefferson, we are passionate about helping our students succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and as lawyers. Supporting our students is central to our mission. As Interim Dean and a long-time faculty member at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, I’d like to tell you about some of the unique ways our faculty help our students flourish and succeed.
Of course, like the faculty at any law school that values teaching and learning, we work hard to bring you the very best classroom experience. We are dedicated instructors who love to teach, and high quality classroom teaching is a top priority for all of us. We also understand that much important law school learning happens outside the classroom, and are committed to supporting our students in every setting so they can meet the academic program’s high standards and lay the foundation to be confident, successful attorneys. Faculty advise every student organization, coach competition teams, give references and write recommendations for students and alumni, and work to connect you with their professional networks as you start to plan your career. As a very small school with a dedicated faculty, we are able to do these things especially well, with student-centered classes and professors who get to know their students as individuals.
But these things are just the foundation for the individualized personal attention that is our mission. We aim to do much more, including --
Mentoring. Every new student at Thomas Jefferson is connected to a faculty mentor -- a member of the faculty who helps you navigate all the challenges of law school, advises you about course choices and career opportunities, and is available to talk about anything that comes up during your time at the law school. Faculty mentors get to know students more fully, and students always have someone to turn to for personalized advice.
Providing Extensive Individual Feedback. At many law schools, the only way students know how they’re doing is when they see the grades on their final exams – often just numbers or letters with no further explanation. Things are different at Thomas Jefferson. We have made meaningful, constructive, personal feedback an integral part of your law school experience. At Thomas Jefferson, you will have a lower-stakes midterm exam with substantial feedback and guidance about how to improve in nearly every required exam course. In upper-level paper courses, your professor will review and discuss your work at several stages before the final paper is due. In required doctrinal courses, you'll also have practice exercises throughout the semester so you can monitor your progress and work through problem areas with your professor. If you run into difficulties in a first year course or an upper-level bar tested course, your professor will work with you after the midterm to help you get back on track. And, of course, we are always happy to recognize and celebrate your successes – many students who are successful in a professor’s course end up working with that professor as a learning assistant and receive references and recommendations from that professor as they seek summer and post-graduate positions.
Pursuing Shared Interests in the Fellow Programs and Centers. Many of our students participate in special programs in which they work closely with professors who are experts in areas of shared interest. Students with a passion for practicing criminal law join the Criminal Law Fellowship Program. Those excited about intellectual property participate in the Fellow Program in Intellectual Property. Other students pursue certificates from our academic centers including those focused on criminal law, intellectual property and sports law, to name a few. In all these programs, students are supervised and mentored by faculty who share their interests and want to help them succeed -- by introducing them to the field, connecting them to professional networks, and leading them through small group discussions or classes.
Collaborating with Students in School Events. Faculty regularly partner with students to present important school events. For example, faculty and students have worked together closely to organize the Law School’s annual Women and the Law Conference, intellectual property conferences, and conferences on fashion and the law -- collaborative projects that are rewarding for students and faculty alike. Faculty and students have also joined forces to host and run major interscholastic competitions, including a highly regarded National Sports Law Negotiation Competition. Faculty participate enthusiastically in vibrant student-driven events like the annual Barrister’s Ball and the Law School’s talent show. And an accomplished and popular faculty band – the Innocent Bystanders– has been known to perform at Law School events.
In these and many other ways, Thomas Jefferson makes sure that all our students work closely with and receive constructive, personalized feedback from their professors, from the first day of law school to the last. And every student has the opportunity to pursue his or her ambitions and passions in a program tailored to them. You won't be lost in an ocean of students here. You’ll get to know us, and we’ll get to know you.
I’d be happy to discuss any of this with you in more detail. Please feel free to call 619-961-4282 or email if you would like to follow up regarding our faculty.
All the best,
Linda M. Keller