New UT College of Law Course Focuses on Attorneys General
KNOXVILLE—The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law is giving students a closer look at the work of states’ attorneys general through a pilot program that combines classroom instruction with a summer externship experience.
The college will provide a sneak peek of the program at noon on Tuesday, March 27, in room 237 at the College of Law with speakers Bob Cooper and Jim Hood, attorneys general in Tennessee and Mississippi, respectively.
The pilot course will cover a range of topics that fall under the scope of authority for attorneys general found under most state statutes. The course also will cover the role of the attorney general who, in most states, is elected as a constitutional officer and operates as its chief legal officer. Students will learn how a state’s attorney general represents the state itself and the interests of its citizens. The course will include attorneys general as guest lecturers throughout the semester.
Students also will have the opportunity to do an externship, which will provide students with a first-hand view in the way attorneys general become involved in the broad reach of their practice. Depending on the policies and interest of a particular attorney general, a student may be involved in cases that deal with issues such as elder care and the rights of senior citizens, unfair trade practices involving prescription drugs, and cyber crime.
The college plans to offer the course in spring 2013, followed by the externship in the summer. Students applying to the program should have finished their first year by the time the spring term begins. A limited number of externships also will be available this summer to qualified students.
“This real-world clinical experience through the externship will not only broaden and enrich the legal education of the College of Law students, but its benefits will extend back into the community as our graduates bring this hands-on experience into their practice of law,” said Douglas Blaze, dean of the college.
The course was developed by Blaze, Professor Penny White, and alumnus Robert R. Hopper. Hopper, who is originally from Knoxville, will help teach the course. He has been an attorney in private practice in Minneapolis for the past twenty-five years and has had extensive experience working with states’ attorneys general as outside counsel beginning in 1993 with tobacco litigation.
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