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University of Tennessee College of Law

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University of Tennessee College of Law
Established 1890
School type Public
Dean Douglas A. Blaze
Location Knoxville, TN, US
Enrollment 460
Faculty 34 (See List)
USNWR ranking 56
Volumes in law library 571,000
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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University of Tennessee College of Law is located in Knoxville, TN

The University of Tennessee College of Law is the law school of the University of Tennessee located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Founded in 1890, the school is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools.

The Law Center and the Joel A. Katz Law Library

The 110,000-square-foot center completed in 1997 blends the old and the new into an exceptional setting for legal education. The law center is located in the heart of campus on Cumberland Avenue, just four blocks from downtown Knoxville.

Features of the Law Center

  • Wireless campus community
  • Eleven classrooms and courtrooms, equipped with audiovisual equipment, permitting teaching and learning in the format most suitable for the instructional methodology of the course
  • Seminar and discussion space
  • The Legal Clinic outfitted as a modern law firm
  • Expanded space for student meetings, organizations, relaxation, and study, including a spacious indoor commons area adjoining an outdoor courtyard

Features of the Joel A. Katz Law Library

  • More than 571,000 volumes and microform volume equivalents
  • Selective depository for federal documents
  • Online automated catalog system
  • Centers for use of the WESTLAW and LEXIS legal database retrieval systems
  • Computer laboratories and CD-ROM stations
  • Reading rooms and study carrels


The University of Tennessee College of Law curriculum includes the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) which offers academic concentrations in two areas, Advocacy and Dispute Resolution[1] and Business Transactions.[2]

The College also offers dual degree programs in law and business and law and public administration. The College of Business Administration and the College of Law offer a credit-sharing program leading to the conferral of both the Doctor of Jurisprudence and the Master of Business Administration degrees. The College of Law and the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences offer a coordinated program that enables students to earn the Master of Public Administration and the J.D. degrees in about four years rather than the five years that would otherwise be required.

Clinical programs

The College's Advocacy Clinic is the longest continuously operating for-credit clinic in the country. In 2012, U.S. News and World Reports ranked Tennessee's clinical programs 12th nationally among the more than 180 clinical programs considered, and sixth among public institutions.

Advocacy Clinic

The Advocacy Clinic allows third year students work with faculty members on several different types of cases, including criminal, housing, juvenile, and unemployment matters. The clinic meets weekly to discuss cases, tactics, and strategy. Students develop skills in fact investigation, negotiation, case development, interviewing witnesses, use of expert witnesses, drafting and arguing motions, and presentation of evidence. Students also learn to work holistically with clients and to think outside the legal box. Students begin to develop professional judgment and the skills necessary for effective client representation. All cases handled by students are real cases with real consequences.

Business Clinic

In the Business Clinic, students and faculty represent for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the Knoxville area. Students provide valuable service to the community and, at the same time, develop skills in interviewing, client counseling, document drafting, business planning, and the intricacies of a business practice. Business Clinic students counsel small start-up businesses on choosing a legal entity, forming corporations and LLCs, and other aspects of creating successful businesses. Students also represent community groups in forming nonprofit corporations and obtaining tax-exempt status.

Domestic Violence Clinic

Students in the Domestic Violence Clinic represent victims of domestic violence in gaining orders of protection and related matters. Students have actual clients and contested hearings and trials in Knox County’s Fourth Circuit Court, where Judge Swann has started calling the DV Clinic students the “dream team” because of their exceptional preparation and results.

Environmental Law Clinic

The Environmental Law Clinic offers students a unique opportunity to affect environmental law and policy in Tennessee. Students help local governments, state agencies, landowners, and non-profit organizations develop quality land use and growth management policies and practices. The clinic coordinates its efforts with graduate students from ecology, environmental design, wildlife ecology, and other disciplines. This allows students and faculty to work with other disciplines in integrated decision-making and problem-solving, thus improving their ability to understand, communicate with, and influence other disciplines.

Innocence/Wrongful Convictions Clinic

This clinic represents convicted prisoners in Tennessee and provides pro bono legal and investigative assistance. Students have the unique opportunity to investigate cases, talk to witnesses, gather and challenge old evidence, and consider DNA and other scientific evidence. Clinic students also pursue new post-conviction cases for those clients with viable claims.

Mediation Clinic

Mediation is a process by which a neutral attorney helps clients resolve their differences by agreement. The Mediation Clinic provides law students with opportunities to learn by serving—mediating actual disputes instead of acting as advocates. Students enrolled in the clinic receive intensive training in mediation techniques from a supervising faculty member and then work in pairs to mediate civil and criminal cases in Knox County General Sessions Court and in such agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Wills Clinic

In 2008, the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel funded one of the very first wills clinics in the country at the University of Tennessee. Students in the clinic represent indigent clients in types of trusts and estates matters. Students interview clients, draft wills, living wills, trusts, and other documents, and may even handle cases in probate court.


Students can also take advantage of three externships—judicial, prosecutorial, and public defender. In the judicial externship, law students work as clerks for state and federal judges, assisting in all aspects of the judge’s work and learning invaluable lessons. In the prosecutorial externship, students are placed in the office of the Knox County District Attorney General. Working under the supervision of experienced assistant attorneys general, students prosecute real cases on behalf of the state, handling all phases of the criminal process including case development and investigation, preliminary hearings, plea negotiations, and trial. In the public defender externship, students are placed in the Knox County Public Defender’s office and work under experienced public defenders. They regularly appear in court to represent clients in all aspects of their cases, including trials. Each of the externships also includes a classroom component with supervising law faculty.

Admissions statistics

For the 2009 entering class, UT Law had 1,460 applications, out of which 394 were admitted, of whom 163 matriculated. The median LSAT score of the admitted was 160, with the median GPA at 3.57.[3]

Student publications

Tennessee Law Review

This journal is published quarterly by the students of the College of Law. Members are selected from the rising second-year class on the basis of writing ability and scholarship. Third-year students may be chosen to serve on the editorial board or may participate as staff members. The law review offers an excellent opportunity for law students with an aptitude for legal research and writing at a professional level. It publishes articles on important legal topics written by legal scholars and practitioners throughout the country. Members of the law review also write notes and comments for publication. Members of the Tennessee Law Review receive one hour of ungraded academic credit for each semester in which they satisfactorily perform their duties.


The Tennessee Journal of Business Law. A semiannual publication of the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law, this journal, carried by law libraries nationwide, is run by students with assistance from the college faculty. Transactions covers legal developments of interest to the business bar as well as the center’s activities and faculty achievements.

Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy

This is a student-produced journal that began quarterly publication in the fall of 2004. The Journal analyzes the latest developments in law and public decision-making. It explores areas touching on a number of disciplines and attracts readers from a variety of professional interests. By publishing essays and commentaries, in addition to traditional scholarly articles, the Journal offers a unique addition to the scholastic environment of the University.

The Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender & Social Justice

The Journal is published twice a year by students of the University of Tennessee College of Law. The first issue will be published in Spring 2012. RGSJ provides an interdisciplinary academic platform that focuses on legal issues affecting people of different races, genders, and other societal forces. By focusing on legal developments in these areas, RGSJ will allow scholars, students and practitioners to improve racial, gender and social relations through scholarly works, foster research involving the subjects, and provide an intelligent publication that strives towards the pursuit of social justice.


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