College of Liberal Arts, Mercer Law School Introduce Three-Plus-Three Program

College of Liberal Arts, Mercer Law School Introduce Three-Plus-Three Program

December 10, 2014

Last year, the College of Liberal Arts along with Mercer Law School introduced the School of Law Three-Plus-Three Accelerated JD Program, which allows students considering a career in law to earn their undergraduate and law degrees in six years rather than the traditional seven.

Through this program, students complete three years of full-time undergraduate study, use law school courses to meet the balance of required undergraduate credits, and receive their bachelor's degrees after successful completion of the first year of law school.

Students wishing to enroll in the program would need to express interest during the first semester of their sophomore year. During their junior year, participants in the program take the LSAT and apply to Mercer Law.

Political science professor Dr. Lori Johnson, the advisor for the program, said Three-Plus-Three is a huge asset to not only students, but also the University – particularly the College of Liberal Arts and Mercer Law.

"The biggest advantage for the students who qualify for the Three-Plus-Three program is in terms of time and money. They can get a BA and JD in six years, rather than the usual seven years, with one less year of tuition," said Dr. Johnson, who teaches law and public policy. "The hope is that by offering this option, CLA and the Mercer Law School will have a competitive advantage in attracting the kind of focused and successful students who can take advantage of it."

Students on Mercer's Mock Trial Team practice alongside faculty adviser Dr. Lori Johnson (left).Mercer Hosts Mock Trial Team

Mercer and the College of Liberal Arts have hosted a Mock Trial Team since 2009. Currently led by Dr. Lori Johnson, Mercer's team consists of 10-12 students. Each year between January and March, the team competes in a tournament hosted by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). Mercer competes with more than 550 teams from approximately 350 universities and colleges from around the United States. Mercer's team also competes in invitational tournaments hosted by other schools.

The AMTA tournament is comprised of three rounds. The AMTA alternates between criminal trials one year and civil trials the next, and all teams use the same case materials consisting of affidavits of eight or nine possible witnesses, indictments or legal complaints, exhibits that might be used as evidence, summaries of case law, and evidence rules.

Each team comes prepared with lawyers and witnesses and must be able to present both sides of the case. The teams decide what legal theory of the case they will argue, what their theme will be, which witnesses they will call, and how they will undermine the arguments and witnesses of the opposing team.

Last year, Mercer competed in invitational tournaments at Kennesaw State University and the University of West Florida. The team also hosted scrimmages with Georgia College and Kennesaw State.

"Students who participate in mock trials engage in extensive preparation, become familiar with legal principles and procedural rules, learn to communicate effectively and persuasively in a stressful and competitive context, and develop tremendous poise and confidence," Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson said the team appreciates the support and volunteerism of alumni with legal experience. For more information, email Dr. Johnson at johnson_la@mercer.edu.