Founded in 2011, the Belmont University College of Law (Belmont Law) is the newest law school in the state of Tennessee, the first law school established in the middle Tennessee region in over 100 years. Since forming and receiving accreditation from the American Bar Association, Belmont Law has consistently moved up through the law school rankings. The law school’s success is dependent, in part, to its high bar passage and employment rates. The law has also made a mark as a regional and national powerhouse in advocacy competitions, winning two national competitions in 2019.
The traditional three-year Juris Doctor program at Belmont law offers balanced progress through the law school curriculum. The first-year is the foundational year, featuring the six core course of American legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students also take their first practicum course–courses designed to teach practical skills. The first-year practicum is focused on managing legal information and communications.
The second-year at Belmont Law is the expertise year where students deepen their academic understanding of core concepts while also beginning the process of specialization. Students are required to take courses in business, constitutional law, evidence, professional responsibility, and wills and trusts. Students continue their practicums in both the fall and spring of their second year. Students also take an elective each semester.
The final year at Belmont Law is the capstone year–the year where students finalize their education goals and begin to put their lessons into practice. The capstone year requires one course–secured transactions–and students also take a bar exam refresher course. Otherwise, students choose their electives and practicums to meet their career goals.
Belmont Juris Doctor candidates also have the option of earning a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) concurrently with their J.D. The joint degree program requires students to be admitted to both programs. Once accepted, students follow a modified curriculum that allows students to share credits between both programs. The joint program is generally completed in four years.
Students at Belmont Law also have the option to earn one of three certificates by completing specific courses and practicums in their capstone year. Certificates include criminal law, entertainment law, and health law. Certificates demonstrate a student’s mastery of the academic and practical skills for a given practice area thereby bolstering their career options.
Career and Career Placement
Over 95% of the most recent graduating class of Belmont Law were employed within 10 months of graduation with over 90% employed in careers requiring a law license or preferring a law degree. Interestingly, graduates of Belmont chose work in small law firms, government offices, or in the business sector at an equal rate (20% of graduates employed in a legal related career). Slightly under 20% of graduates chose law firm work in mid or large size firms. Belmont Law also placed over 10% of graduates in judicial clerkships in local or state courts. Over 75% of all graduates remain in the state of Tennesse to begin their careers.
At Belmont Law, the Office of Career & Professional Development (OCPD) works individually with every student from their first days on campus to ensure that each student understands their career goals and is equipped to achieve them. Through semester meetings with the OCPD staff, students learn a range of skills that will help them land their first jobs as well as build their careers as they develop into their professional lives. Students not only learn interview, networking, and resume skills but are also introduced to the variety of careers that a J.D. degree offers.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
At Belmont Law, experiential learning is built into the curriculum. Students are required to take practicums every semester that build their practice-ready skill set as their academic understanding of the law progresses. Practicums are taught by faculty experts and introduce students to the often meticulous and complex work of practicing law. Students learn with the peers–potential future colleagues–in the safety of the classroom.
Belmont Law also offers students the opportunity for field placements in a variety of legal offices to help practice their legal skills in a real-world environment. In its short history, Belmont Law has placed students in over 130 legal offices on both the federal and state level.
Belmont Law’s Juris Doctor degree program requires residential coursework.
Students at Belmont Law are shaping the history of the law school. The small student body enjoys an ever growing selection of student groups (there are already over 18) that cater to student body’s many interest. As part of the university community, law students enjoy Belmont’s competition in 17 NCAA division 1 sports teams. As a Christian school, the campus is also infused with spiritual life and offers students a range of services to practice their faith.
Life in Nashville, Tennessee is full of music, food, and excitement. As the home of country music, Nashville is host to endless music shows, festivals, and nightlife. The city also offers a range of affordable and easily accessible housing options. The surrounding neighborhood–known as Historic Waverly–is full of one-of-a-kind Nashville Restaurants. Downtown Nashville is only a few short miles from the law school campus.