Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reflecting on the Arkansas LL.M.

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law is proud to describe the core aspects of our Program -  aspects that distinguish us from other programs and that reflect our approach to good legal education.

  • We have developed thirty five different substantive food and agricultural law courses, each of which has a discreet, prepared curriculum of study.  We also offer independent study credit and experiential learning opportunities in addition to these regular courses. However, while students can do research and work on their own for credit if they wish, our curriculum provides organized classes that far exceed the number of credits necessary for the LL.M. degree.  
  • The nineteen different LL.M. Program faculty who teach our courses are experienced agricultural and food law professionals from all over the country. We do not teach to one region or one policy agenda, we teach the law and provide our students with the tools needed to advance their advocacy interests. 
  • Our classes are designed specifically for LL.M. candidates, that is, students who have already earned a J.D. degree. We treat our students as the professionals that they already are. We allow a limited number of J.D. students to take some of our courses along with the LL.M. candidates, and we have occasionally allowed a graduate student or professional in a related field to join a specific class. But, our focus is directed toward attorneys seeking specialized education. 
  • Our distance education classes are carefully designed and approved by the experienced course design professionals at the University of Arkansas Global Campus.  Most offer the opportunity for synchronous instruction; all utilize a range of technologies and learning tools. 
  • We do not work with for-profit education companies. All tuition dollars stay with our land grant University.  Our tuition rates are among the most reasonable in legal education, and our students only pay for the courses that they take, when they take them.
  • Because our face-to-face program is still at the core of our studies, distance students are always welcome to come to Northwest Arkansas to join us when their schedule permits. Synchronous participation from a remote desktop is the next best thing, with our in-person classes recorded and available for later viewing.
  • Our experiential learning experiences place our candidates in individualized learning environments that match their interests. Examples of externships include the Sustainability Consortium, Walmart's Food Safety Compliance Unit, and Tyson Foods General Counsel's Office.  Through the new Practicum Program, we have organized remote connections for students with the NRDC, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Good Food Institute. Students can help design the program they want, with the organization that interests them. Whether the work is with a multinational corporation or a local non-profit, student learning is the focus of the project.
  • We are extremely proud of our network of alumni. With almost 250 Arkansas LL.M. graduates working throughout the agricultural and food law community, we have connections that circle the globe. We keep in touch with many of our alumni, we brag about their accomplishments on this blog, and we remain a resource for them. They support and encourage each new class of LL.M. candidates who are truly welcomed in to our professional family.
  • We welcome a small number of non-degree candidates to take some of our classes, allowing qualified students and professionals the opportunity to sample our curriculum and explore advanced legal education in the emerging areas of agricultural and food law.

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