Tag Archives: Phoenix School of Law

Downtown Law School Announces New Name

Phoenix School of Law, a private law school located in downtown Phoenix, is pleased to announce its new name:  Arizona Summit Law School. The new name highlights the ambition and drive of the students, faculty and staff at Arizona Summit Law School, collaborating to accomplish more, and ascend toward their personal “Summit.” This concept exemplifies the school’s mission of delivering student outcomes, preparing graduates for successful careers and improving diversity within the legal community.

The American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school, which opened in January 2005, offers traditional and non-traditional law students the opportunity to succeed through its student-focused curriculum and highly engaged faculty.  The practice-ready curriculum equips graduates with the practical skills and ethical instruction, leadership, management and interpersonal skills necessary for career success. Arizona Summit Law School accommodates students’ diverse needs with options, including full-time and part-time day and evening classes; trimester schedule for graduation in two years; and individualized bar-pass instruction through learning diagnostics and mentoring; and experiential learning opportunities via externships, internships and clinics.

“We look beyond test scores by taking the time to get to know our students’ ambition and work ethic as factors to grant admission,” stated Arizona Summit Law School Dean Shirley Mays. “The new name highlights our commitment to the success of our students who come from diverse backgrounds and stages in life and provides a supportive academic environment where civic-minded leaders and community advocates are nurtured,” she added.

“A core value of our institution is the pursuit of continuous personal improvement, an attribute that we share with our students,” stated Scott Thompson, President of Arizona Summit Law School.  “When we began discussing a name change more than a year ago, alumni, faculty, staff and stakeholders agreed this differentiating characteristic should be incorporated into our name and brand identity,” he added.

The new name and identity were developed in collaboration with Off Madison Avenue, an Arizona-based marketing and branding agency, and Landor Associates, an Illinois-based naming agency. In addition to its new name, Arizona Summit Law School revealed its new logo, web site and advertising campaign.


Phoenix School of Law Honored for Innovation

Phoenix School of Law was recognized for offering law students one of the “Top 25 Innovative Ideas” by prelaw Magazine, a law school journal published by National Jurist. The publication, which recognized the school as one of the “Top 20 Most Innovative Law Schools in 2012,” cited Phoenix School of Law’s new first-year curriculum, known as FIRSTClass Program: Full Integration of Real-life Skills with Teaching, as a leading factor in earning the designation.

Phoenix School of Law’s FIRSTClass Program combines the traditional foundation of a legal education with real-life, practical experience. It reflects the need for law school graduates to excel in legal writing and client communications, develop a heightened sense of professionalism and have both the knowledge and practice-ready experience to contribute to the legal profession. The FIRSTClass Program has two distinct features:

·         Integration: Traditional first year subjects combined with skills training

·         Practicum: Robust, expanded package of skills-based activities

“This recognition for our FIRSTClass Program further validates the work we are doing to prepare our students to practice law and prepare them for real-world success after graduation,”  said Shirley Mays, dean of Phoenix School of Law. “We’re thrilled to be listed alongside other innovative efforts that are transforming legal education for the second consecutive year,” she added.

preLaw Magazine’s “Back to School” issue reports that law schools are moving beyond providing students with only a traditional foundational focused in theoretical knowledge, which relied on graduates gaining practical experience in their chosen field at a large firm. Today’s legal community is evolving to meet demands of graduates by providing them with a more robust education whereby they are prepared with both knowledge and practice-ready experience.

“It’s not enough anymore for a graduate to have theoretical background and expect to start gaining their practical knowledge on the job.” Mays said.  “Phoenix School of Law has always been a leader in developing practice-ready skills and the FIRSTClass Program strengthens our mission in preparing our students for a career in their field of choice,” she added.

For more information about the FIRSTClass Program, visit: www.phoenixlaw.edu/FIRSTClass.


PSL creates Valley of the Sun Law Clerk Program

Given Phoenix School of Law’s (PSL) mission pillar of Practice Ready Students, PSL has created the PSL Valley of the Sun Law Clerk Program (the Program).

“The Program has been designed to attract private law firms and business employers to hire our students as summer law clerks, and to provide them with high quality practice experience. Gaining practical legal experience in law school furthers our experiential learning philosophy, and increases the student’s value to prospective post-graduate employers,” stated Joseph Perez Assistant Dean of Professional Development at Phoenix School of Law.

“The Program is made possible by a grant from PSL to participating employers. The grant covers a match of the hourly wages paid to the student by the employer. For example, if an employer will pay $8 an hour, PSL will provide a matching grant of $8, for a total of $16 per hour paid to the student. The Program provides the employers with needed staff, and supplies our students with valuable legal experience, that they can leverage during their search for permanent employment,” added Perez.

Zarina Aguilar, a law student shares her thoughts on having participated in the Program, “The Valley of the Sun Program provided me with an invaluable experience. The Center for Professional Development (CPD) aims hard to bring employers from all over the valley including Tucson to accommodate every student’s preferred location. I was placed at Benavidez Law Group where I experienced first-hand criminal and immigration hearings. The people at the firm I worked for not only were great supervisors, but they became lasting friends and valuable references for the future.”

“Our firm participated in the PSL Law Clerk Program last year and hired two law students over the summer. We’ll be doing the same this year. The program offers tremendous value for the money; the students were well prepared and hard working. The most fun was getting to know the law students and experiencing their enthusiasm and excitement towards the law, something that diminishes after practicing for a while. They reinvigorated our firm with a renewed energy,” states Jennifer L. Kupiszewski, Esq. with the Kupiszewski Law Firm.

To view a complete overview of the program and if your law firm or business is interested in participating, visit this link and complete a quick registration form.

PSL-©Kevin Korczyk-Shot 6-web

Phoenix School of Law Will Change Term Structure

Phoenix School of Law (PSL) announced that it is expanding its current schedule from two academic terms to three academic terms beginning in the fall of 2013.  The academic terms will start in the fall, spring and summer. Students have the option of attending either two or three terms during the academic year. The new structure offers significant advantages to students and is responsive to challenges currently facing legal education and the legal industry.

The advantages of the new structure include:

Course Scheduling

• Required Courses Offered Every Term: New students will have the option of beginning their legal studies in January, May or September. Required courses will be offered in each term so students have the option in the third term of continuing classes, participating in experiential learning opportunities, or taking time off.  Moreover, the availability of three full terms in each academic year affords students a wider choice of elective and required course offerings.
• Increased Course Availability for Part-time/Evening Students: PSL offers the only part-time program for law students in the state of Arizona.  The addition of required courses, additional electives, and increased experiential learning opportunities in each term expands the variety of courses available for part-time students.

• Accelerated JD Degree: Students can choose to attend classes for all three terms and graduate in 2 years resulting in reducing their overall debt and accelerating their legal careers.

Clinics, Internships, and Externships
• Increased Opportunities: Students will have a greater opportunity and flexibility to participate in experiential learning opportunities.  The longer summer term of 12 weeks will allow students to gain more practical experience and additional academic credit.
•    Year – Round Options for Gaining Work Experience: The flexible scheduling option provides the opportunity for full time work experience at any time of the year, which is optimal for both the student and legal employers.

“We continuously strive to improve and differentiate our program of legal education.  Many of these improvements came about as a result of the great ideas of our students, faculty, staff, board members, and the legal community. Our new scheduling options allow our students to continue to develop and apply those practical skills most valued by legal employers”, stated Shirley Mays, Dean of Phoenix School of Law.

Funding Startup Companies Jumpstart Economy

GPEC boosts state’s economy by attracting more foreign direct investment

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s California 50 program — which aimed to fly 50 Golden State CEOs to Phoenix for an opportunity to tour and explore the region’s business-friendly environment — proved to be so popular that they expanded it to 100 a week after its launch.

But it may be GPEC’s pitch to CEOs even farther away that makes the biggest impact on Arizona’s economy.

“GPEC is focused on a specific region in China, defined by Shanghai and 10 other cities connected by high-speed rail,” says Ron Butler, managing partner at Ernst & Young in Phoenix and co-chair of GPEC’s International Leadership Council. “This region (known as the ‘Z Corridor’) features China’s largest concentration of industries, including solar, medical device, IT, pharmaceuticals, high-tech manufacturing and chemicals. GPEC has made tremendous strides over the past several years in China, particularly with solar and renewable energy companies. Now, the organization is looking to leverage those relationships and expand into other, capital-intensive industries.”

GPEC’s effort is significant, Butler says, because export industries and foreign direct investment (FDI) drive economic growth, create wealth within the region, and tend to be capital-intensive operations that pay higher-than-average wages. Currently, FDI accounts for 73,000 jobs in Arizona and the state saw a 235 percent increase in FDI from 2005-2010, from just over $270 million to more than $904 million.

“By focusing on the Z corridor, a zone known for its solar, high-tech, bio-medical, and chemical industries, GPEC has identified a region that can appreciate what Arizona and — more importantly Arizona workers — can do well,” says Ilya A. Iussa, assistant professor of law at Phoenix School of Law.

But it’s not just investment from China that is giving Arizona an economic boost within the solar and renewable energy industries. In addition to China’s Suntech, the region has seen investments from Spain’s Rioglass and Abengoa, England’s Faist, Germany’s Solon, France’s Saint-Gobain, and Canada’s Cosma International.

“GPEC smartly targets the regions and countries that represent significant growth opportunities, like Canada, China and Western Europe, and works these markets with effective marketing and business development strategies,” Butler says. “Now, with a more concentrated effort underway in China and successful positioning as both a leader in the U.S. solar market and an on-the-record supporter of expanded free trade with China, the Greater Phoenix region is poised for amplified growth in FDI, particularly from China.”

Despite its success, experts says Arizona still has some work to do.

“Our neighboring states and biggest competitors far outrank us in national FDI and export-trade rankings,” Butler says. “California is first for FDI and second for exports, while Texas is second for FDI and first for exports. As such, we must continue evaluating our market for additional FDI and export industry opportunities, and look for ways to increase our competitiveness in these areas.”

Lawmakers have identified one area that needs to be addressed to gain a competitive edge on other states.

“One of the first things we should do is focus on developing a highly educated workforce that will attract companies and businesses looking to move their headquarters,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-5. “In addition, it is equally important for us to create a pro-business environment and that comes by reducing harmful regulations that hamper economic growth. Both would increase Arizona’s role in the global economy.”

In order to be increase its global presence and become more competitive with neighboring states like California and Texas, Butler says Arizona must increase the number of export industries operating in the state.

“We can increase our competitiveness for these types of investments,” he says, “with a targeted economic development program for export industries, similar to the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program (SB1403), which has brought significant investments to the region and the Qualified Facilities Tax Credit (HB2815), which expanded the successful renewable energy program to include qualified, export-based investments.”


Phoenix School of Law honored for innovation

The National Jurist has named Phoenix School of Law (PSL) one of the country’s 20 most innovative law schools and will be featured in the Back to School issue in the August edition of its preLaw magazine. More than 40 schools submitted nominations to be considered for how each is innovating their curriculum. Many schools are experimenting with everything from boot camps, distance learning, to their creative use of technologies, and mentoring programs. “We were surprised and impressed by the level of innovation today,” said Jack Crittenden, Editor In Chief of The National Jurist. “Legal educators are no longer just talking about change — they are taking the first steps to make it happen.”

PSL was in large part named as one of the country’s most innovative law schools due to its General Practice Skills (GPS) “capstone course”. The course began in 2007 and was designed to teach the skills and values needed by lawyers to be successful in the practice of law.  The PSL GPS course was selected as a winner of the E.Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award in 2009.  This is an award presented by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism. Further, the GPS course consists of six two-week modules.  Each module is taught by a team of two practicing lawyers under the direction of a full-time faculty director and an assistant director. The modules cover the skills and values needed for the professional practice of law in the areas of law office management, family practice, representing creditors and debtors,  representing small businesses, estate planning, criminal law practice, and personal injury practice.  In the context of each module students are taught and practice the skills and professional values identified as essential by the MacCrate Report (1992), the Carnegie Report (2007), and a survey taken of Arizona attorneys.

The GPS course is designed as a single semester, required, six credit, pass/fail course which meets twice each week for a three hour period.  In 2010 a survey was taken of alumni who had graduated from Phoenix School of Law and had been in the practicing community at least two years. Eighty-six percent of the alumni responders agreed that the GPS course was achieving its goal of helping them with the essential skills and values expected of attorneys in the legal community. “We are honored to have PSL named as one of the ‘Most Innovative Law Schools’ in the country. Our ability to preserve some of the fundamental teachings of the law discipline all while adding a fresh, outside-the-box perspective to our curriculum speaks to the inclusion of diversity that rests at the core of PSL’s mission,” stated Shirley Mays Dean of Phoenix School of Law.

For a complete list of the 20 Most Innovative Law Schools in the United States please visit: