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Advanced Degree Program Steps into Court

By Brett Wilson | July 31, 2014

Professor James Duane.

Students in Regent University School of Law's two-year juris doctorate (J.D.) program may benefit in more ways than just receiving quality legal education in less time. The program also gets them into court sooner.

During their summer month of legal training, students in the Federal Laws of Evidence class witnessed the tools they've learned in the classroom unfold in the Federal Court in Norfolk, Va.

In July, Regent Law professor James Duane was appointed by the court to represent a defendant in an alleged drug trafficking case. Since many aspects of the case directly related to what Duane has been teaching his students throughout the summer, he invited them to watch the arguments unfold outside of the context of books.

"The students benefited from the opportunity to see these classroom concepts being actually argued, considered and decided by the judge in real time," said Duane. "It gave them an available opportunity to see these issues fleshed out in a very special context."

The primary purpose of the field trip was to give the students a richer understanding of how the rules of evidence play out in a real case, an opportunity that their own professor never had in law school.

"Just by virtue of the fact that you're in the courtroom, you learn the subtle aspects of lawyering skills," said Duane.

Students witnessed how to address the judge and opposing counsel, how to speak and stand in a courtroom, and how to make a persuasive case. But for Amanda Gregory, a first year law student in the accelerated J.D. program, the greatest part of her experience was seeing her professor in action.

"I have so much more respect for him after seeing him in action as a defense attorney," said Gregory. "He really knows what he's talking about and he's applying it to the real world."

Apart from her family being in the Hampton Roads area, Gregory explained that the two-year program was "ideal" for her. She knows that when it is time for her to graduate, she will be one step ahead of her competition in the legal market.

"It's something different than what a lot of attorneys have seen before," she said. "It's a different perspective, and people find it very respectable that we finish this advanced program in two-thirds the time."

Learn more about the School of Law and the Advanced Juris Doctorate Program.


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