The University of North Florida’s Division of Continuing Education and the Florida Coastal School of Law have announced a collaborative effort to offer legal studies certificate programs. The joint effort means that effective with the beginning of the fall semester all courses of UNF’s Legal Studies Institute will be held at the law school located at 7555 Beach Boulevard.
Marcelle Lovett, Dean of UNF’s Division of Continuing Education, said the program will offer significant advantages to students in the certificate programs. “Our students will be able to take advantage of the legal expertise of the Florida Coastal School of Law faculty as well as having access to their law library and other resources not currently available at UNF,” she said.
Joseph Richard Hurt, dean and professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law, said he was pleased to join with UNF in providing an outstanding paralegal program.
“Bringing the resources of a major state university and an ABA approved law school together will not only provide exceptional training for future legal assistants, but open the door for additional collaborative efforts between
our two institutions," he said.
The Legal Studies Institute includes certificate programs in legal administrative assistant, paralegal and legal nurse consultant. The relocation of these programs will affect about 75 to 100 students per semester. Courses will be taught by UNF Continuing Education and FCSL faculty.
Lee Clabots, program manager for the Legal Studies Institute, said the collaboration will also give students in the certificate programs more of an opportunity to interact with law students. “This will give our students a chance to learn more about the collaborative relationships that are necessary between lawyers and their legal assistants and paralegals,” he said.
Simultaneously, UNF is also starting a cohort model for its paralegal program. With admission for the fall semester, a student will be grouped with approximately 30 other students who will be their colleagues throughout the program. Students will be able to complete the entire curriculum in five semesters as a group. “These students will be able to develop relationships with one another by jointly working on class projects and other assignments,” he said.
The collaboration between UNF and FCSL can be expanded in the future. Both schools have agreed to explore the potential of distance learning programs. UNF has developed, through a partnership with eLogic Inc., the infrastructure for placing courses online. “Together we could develop courses and curriculum that would provide for the entire continuum of legal studies education and continuing education, possibly becoming one of the leaders in the field of distance legal studies learning and education,” Clabots said.
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