UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law has been named a finalist in Bloomberg Law’s second annual Law School Innovation Program. UNH Franklin Pierce is one of 12 finalists recognized for implementing and leading innovative programs into their curricula that advance new methodologies and approaches to student instruction, legal technology implementation and usage, experiential learning, and other facets of legal education. DWS was specifically recognized as one of the top-two scoring programs in the 'Immersive Experience' category.
More information about Bloomberg Law’s Law School Innovation Program and the inaugural class of honorees is available at https://aboutblaw.com/bcrq.
“Bloomberg Law is pleased to recognize UNH Franklin Pierce for its commitment to the future of the legal industry by naming them as a Law School Innovation Program finalist,” said Joe Breda, President, Bloomberg Law. “UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law’s Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program (DWS) is a key example of the innovation that is needed for legal education to keep up with the demands of the legal market.”
"I am so pleased that the DWS program has been recognized as a Bloomberg Innovation Finalist within the 'Immersive Experience' category," says Professor and Director of the DWS program, Courtney Brooks. "The program throws students into real client scenarios from day 1 of the program. Through the DWS program and the 6 DWS-specific courses, the students deal with a wide variety of client situations at all stages of the client relationship and in a multitude of settings. The result is that the students graduate with tools and confidence to be successful attorneys from the day they are sworn into the New Hampshire Bar, which also happens to be the day before graduation."
Bloomberg Law received nearly 50 applications from 35 schools across 20+ states that were evaluated by a panel of internal and external experts, including Bloomberg Law analysts and industry authorities from all segments of the legal ecosystem.
The 2023-24 Law School Innovation finalists were recognized based on the criteria of innovation and impact on students and the legal industry.
See how Bloomberg Law has promoted our success:
- Press release: PR Newswire and Bloomberg Law
- Law School Innovation website
- Debut article featuring finalists
- How Five Law Schools Use Immersion to Build Skills
The Daniel Webster Scholar Program is the first-of-its-kind in the nation to reinvent the process of becoming a lawyer through practice-ready training and individualized bar examiner review. A collaborative effort of the New Hampshire Supreme Court (NHSC), the New Hampshire Bar Association (NHBA), the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners, and UNH Franklin Pierce, the program was designed to provide a comprehensive, client-ready legal education to close the gap between legal education and legal practice, consisting of robust simulations, regular assessments, and hands-on practical training from volunteer lawyers, judges, and court staff. Instead of being tested in a room for a finite period, lawyers are tested over the course of two years.
Unlike a diploma privilege program, the DWS program requires a rigorous and immersive training program over two years rather than taking a two-day bar exam. The program prepares law students to be client-ready and confident immediately upon graduation. The experiential facet of the program provides law students with the foundational skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their field. The unique program allows students to counsel clients, work with practicing lawyers, take depositions, appear before judges, negotiate, mediate, and draft business documents in both simulated and real settings. Most Daniel Webster Scholars complete two externships or a clinic and an externship over the course of the program.
Since its creation in 2005, the DWS program has received wide acclaim and been acknowledged for its groundbreaking and transformative approach to legal education. As the first DWS program director, John Garvey noted, “My personal hope was that it would become a brand – that instead of taking a chance on the Webster Scholars, they would be seeking them out. Now, it’s one of the jewels of the New Hampshire Bar and I’m pleased to have been a part of it.” Garvey says.
With 18 new graduates in May 2023, the DWS program has graduated 313 new lawyers without requiring them to take the traditional two-day bar exam. The program has proven its success in producing client-ready lawyers and building employer demand. Many New Hampshire employers express a preference for DWS students and graduates. Nearly 100% of DWS students are employed at a wide variety of practice areas and locations at graduation or very soon thereafter. While the program is a two-year bar exam, 41% of Scholars also took at least one other bar exam with a 97% pass rate.
Since its inception, the DWS program has garnered praise, notably from a 2015 independent study by the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Initiative, which found Daniel Webster Scholars outperforming licensed peers. Recognized by national media outlets and honored with the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award from the ABA in 2015, the program has been lauded for its innovative approach. Beyond academic success, the DWS initiative significantly impacts the composition of New Hampshire attorneys, fostering a focus on public service and pro bono support. Pro bono is integral to the program, with 2L students trained in handling domestic violence cases. DWS graduates contribute to Access to Justice initiatives, often serving on pro bono panels. As alumni ascend in the legal profession, their positive influence on the New Hampshire state bar continues to grow, exemplified by individuals like Lyndsay Robinson, a DWS/JD '17, who was recently recognized with the NH Bar Foundation’s Robert E Kirby Award awarded annually to an attorney 35 years or yonder who demonstrates the traits of civility, courtesy, perspective, and excellent advocacy. Also recognized as a New England Super Lawyers Rising Star, Robinson is the chairperson for the New Hampshire Bar Associations Family Law Section and Gender and Equality Committee.