Elon University officially opened its new regional center in Charlotte’s South End on Tuesday and announced plans to offer a part-time Elon University School of Law juris doctor degree program there.
Law classes will begin in fall 2024, pending approval by the American Bar Association and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Applications to the program will be accepted beginning Oct. 1.
If Elon’s request is approved by the ABA, it will be the first law school to operate in Charlotte since the for-profit Charlotte School of Law closed in 2017 after losing a state license amid issues about admissions and student aid laws. The Charlotte School of Law’s demise rendered Charlotte as the biggest U.S. city without a law school.
Elon officials said the law program will build on the success of Elon Law’s highly experiential, full-time curriculum in Greensboro, with the school’s faculty teaching in-person in Charlotte.
The Elon Law Flex Program is designed for the working professional, and students can complete their law degree in four years, the university said. A full range of law electives will provide experiential opportunities in law clinics, publication in law journals and moot court programs and competitions.
Elon President Connie Ledoux Book said the university puts experiential opportunities and mentorship at the forefront of learning.
“We know providing opportunities for Elon students to put their knowledge to work through service, internships, research and leadership results in stronger outcomes, and we look forward to introducing Elon’s leading learning model to the city of Charlotte,” she said.
The Elon University in Charlotte regional center at 330 W. Tremont Ave. also offers Elon undergraduate students majoring and minoring in sports management the opportunity to study and work in Charlotte. Sports management students from Elon University’s School of Communications are taking courses this fall with Elon faculty, working in internships with local sports and media organizations, connecting with alumni in the region and developing mentoring relationships with local industry and community leaders, all while immersing themselves in the city’s life and culture.
Elon University in Charlotte includes nearly 14,000 square feet of classroom and collaboration space, including commons areas and breakout spaces. The university said it selected South End because of the neighborhood’s intersection of arts, culture and business, its walkable landscape and access to public transportation.
The Elon Law Flex Program will incorporate the same teaching model as the full-time program in Greensboro, which has earned a No. 5 national ranking for practical training. Strategically focused on learning by doing, Elon’s School of Law integrates traditional classroom instruction with a required, full-time residency-in-practice field placement for students, who work under the close supervision of attorneys and judges, Dean Zak Kramer said.
“We’re in the dream-making business,” Kramer said. “The Elon Law Flex Program will make it possible for working professionals in Charlotte to realize their dream of becoming lawyer leaders. We’re going to be growing the Charlotte legal community from within.”
Elon’s extension into Charlotte expands its regional center model, with existing regional centers in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and Greensboro. The establishment of these regional hubs is a key component of the university’s “Boldly Elon” strategic plan, which calls for the development of strategic sites beyond the main campus as centers for academic programs, alumni engagement, professional education and cultural opportunities, said Jim Piatt, Elon’s senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs.
“We see synergy between the evolution of the Charlotte area over the past few decades and Elon’s own transformational journey. Our new regional center will be a tangible extension of the university’s desire to help our students become engaged citizens of the world, fully embracing curiosity and leaning into their purpose,” he said.
Elon University in Charlotte will offer alumni and prospective students opportunities to participate in hands-on professional development programs, affinity groups and career coaching initiatives, the university said. The university will also convene community and business leaders and offer networking opportunities as well as access to Elon faculty, staff and resources in collaborative co-working spaces.