In 1983, Faulkner University took over management of the Thomas Goode Jones Law School, an independent, private law school founded by a circuit court judge in the 1920s. The acquisition became the Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law (Faulkner Law) located in Montgomery, Alabama on the main campus of the university. The law school is one of only three graduate programs at Faulkner University, which remains a small, Christian school that began as a seminary. The law school’s mission embraces its Christian heritage and seeks to educate lawyers with a deep commitment to ethical standards and service to those in need. The law schools has educated two future Alabama Supreme Court justices.
The Juris Doctor degree from Faulkner Law requires 90 hours of coursework that may be completed either through a full-time program, a flexible program that requires daytime classes over four years, or an “executive” program that uses distance education in conjunction with weekend and evening classes on campus. All students have the same requirements for the “first-year” curriculum although the timetable differs depending on the program. The first-year curriculum combines the six core courses of American legal education–civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and tortsd–with courses in the foundations of law and the legal profession as well as practical courses teaching students legal analysis, persuasion, research, reasoning, and writing. In total, the first-year program completes 32 hours of required coursework.
In their second year (or subsequent semesters for flex and executive path students), Faulkner Law students take six additional required courses: business associations, criminal procedure, evidence, first amendment rights, professional responsibility, and sales. Students may also take 12 to 14 elective credits. In their final year or semesters, students study administrative law, the federal courts, and remedies. In their final semester, all students take a course covering strategies and skills for passing the bar exam. The final semesters also include an additional 17-21 elective credits as students choose courses to meet their professional goals.
As part of their elective choices, all students must complete six hours of experiential education credits and complete an upper-level writing project.
Faulkner Law does offer one certification program in alternative dispute resolution that requires several additional core courses in conjunction with 20 hours of practical training in the school’s clinical program.
Along with the Juris Doctor program, Faulkner Law also offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) program focused on alternative dispute resolution that may be earned either in a joint degree program with the J.D. or as a standalone degree for students who have already earned their law degree. The joint degree option requires an additional 10 hours of coursework (100 hours total) and can still be completed in three years. Credit hours earned towards the Juris Doctor degree also satisfy some of the requirements for the LL.M allowing students to add additional expertise to their academic program as they look towards their professional careers. For students who have already earned their J.D., the LL.M program requires 24 hours of coursework focused on the subject areas that may be completed in as few as one year or as many as five.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment outcome data, over 82% of all graduates of Faulkner Law are employed within 10 months of graduation. Almost 95% of those employed find careers that either requires a law license or prefers a Juris Doctor degree. Additionally, 87% of careers are full-time, long-term careers. Over half of all graduates chose careers in law firms with 1 to 25 attorneys. Of note, over 12% of graduates opted to build their own solo practices–a focal point of Faulkner Law’s curriculum. In other fields, 15% of graduates chose positions in government offices while 10% opted for careers in the business sector. Smaller percentages of students opted for careers in the public interest sector (7%) or accepted judicial clerkships (4%). Over 70% of graduates remained in Alabama to begin their professional careers.
Faulkner Law’s Career Development Office (CDO) works individually with each student to maximize their competitive advantage as they enter into the professional marketplace. This process involves honing students’ professional profiles while also expanding the potential range of careers that best suit their backgrounds and skills. The CDO provides one-on-one counseling to every student to help work on professional documents such as resumes or cover letters, discuss career plans, or find relevant career-related resources. The CDO hosts both skill workshops and informational seminars throughout the year where students learn about the legal profession–often from practicing attorneys–and the skills needed to succeed in the legal profession. Faulkner Law also has a mentor program with practicing attorneys in the area and hosts numerous networking events where students can begin building their professional network.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
The experiential learning program at Faulkner Law serves two of the school’s most important goals: to equip law students with the practical skills necessary to succeed in their careers and to serve the community’s indigent population. Faulkner Law hosts three in-house legal clinics where law students represent real clients in the areas of elder law, family violence, and mediation issues. These areas are vital to the community while also allowing Faulkner Law students the opportunity to learn how to be powerful advocates for their clients.
Students at Faulkner Law may also opt for a field placement in the local legal community. In these placements, students work alongside practicing attorneys as they learn to practice law ethically in a variety of contexts. Field placements include work in public interest offices as well as government, judicial, and military placements.
As previously described, Faulkner Law does offer an executive path to earning a Juris Doctor which combines residential coursework with online learnings to reduce the amount of time on campus needed to complete the degree.
At its heart, Faulkner Law is a small, Christian law school that seeks to not only educate lawyers but also to enrich the spiritual of the school and the community that surrounds it. The law school’s size–one of the smallest schools in the country–creates a unique environment that lends itself to personal attention and intimacy. Despite its small size, the school still boasts almost 20 student-run organizations as well as a student-run journal, the Faulkner Law Review. The law school is located on the university’s main campus offering students quick access to the school’s recreation facility, church, and the main student center. Surrounding the campus is one of the area’s largest malls and retail centers.
Located on the east side of Montgomery, students at Faulkner Law have access to a wide range of affordable housing options as well as quick access to Montgomery’s vibrant downtown along the banks of the Alabama River. The city of Montgomery is steeped in the history of the Civil Rights movement. Starting in 2000, the city also became a national leader for downtown revitalization–adding a minor league baseball team as well as loft apartments, restaurants, and businesses to bring residents into the area. Today, the city offers an excellent quality of life at a low cost.