Commentary: Envisioning and delivering artful legal education at JU

We are coloring within the lines to establish the essentials of legal education.

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  • | 1:00 a.m. May 2, 2024
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Jacksonville University College of Law Dean Nicholas Allard.
Jacksonville University College of Law Dean Nicholas Allard.
  • The Bar Bulletin
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One morning, a little girl’s parents found her working intently with crayons and paper. When her mother asked what she was drawing, the little girl replied, “A picture of God.”

Her dad said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”

“Just wait,” the little girl confidently responded.

Our extraordinary law school was created by self-assured bold leaders who imagined something, even while others could not see it.

Their forward-looking idea is now coming into focus because Jacksonville University, collaborating with the city government, the local bench and Bar, business and public interest sectors created a new law school designed to service the legal needs of the people of the greater Jacksonville area and beyond.

By achieving a major American Bar Association accreditation milestone in record time, the law school demonstrated that we are both coloring within the lines to deliver the essentials of legal education in the best possible way, while also showcasing a “Jacksonville Pollack” brand of inventiveness.

Our curriculum and training inside and outside the classroom are engineered to equip students with the tools they need to adapt to the continuously accelerating changes of our world which create new opportunities and challenges for lawyers.  

Long before most of you or I had anything to do with our college of law, JU President Tim Cost and the leadership of the university including Margaret Dees, now the vice dean of the college,  had a vision of the law school they wanted to create.  

You can just about still hear the echoes of some skeptics who said, “Don’t you know nobody does that anymore? Who needs a new law school? In Jacksonville?” 

Well, the law school founders were not using crayons and paper. Now, we are the beneficiaries of the unique art they envisioned and successfully, carefully sketched out and created.

And what an original, artful piece of work it is, as others are now saying.

Much work remains to be done as our students finish this spring semester, eventually graduate, earn their law licenses and begin worthwhile, meaningful careers of excellence, leadership and service.

While we at the law school have become the vibrant, organically, constantly morphing art brought to life by outstanding visionary educators, and by a supportive community of judges, lawyers, civic and business leaders, our faculty, staff, students have also become contributing artists who are illustrating a new concept of legal education and practice that advances progress, equal justice and the well-being of people and the world we share.

Thanks are due all around, and heartfelt congratulations are too, for what so many have already accomplished, and what more you will, we will and must do.

Enjoy the moment while you keep going.



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