Mercer Law initiated a Semester-In-Atlanta program in January for third-year students. The program allows students to take part or all of their credit hours for the spring semester on Mercer's Atlanta campus while engaging in experiential learning through externships in metro Atlanta.
Third-year student Abbey Mateer explains the value of the Atlanta-based classes. “I wanted to take classes on the Atlanta Campus so that I could enjoy more opportunities to network and work in the city that I would like to call home after graduation,” she says. “It is incredibly helpful to be in Atlanta full time. I have more flexibility as I begin the job search and am able to get settled before I have to study for the Bar.”
The Atlanta program expands on the already robust experiential education offerings provided by Mercer. Last year alone, 191 students participated in externships and clinics, providing over 31,000 hours of legal services. Mateer is working in multiple placements, gaining a wide variety of experience, saying, “The externship provides an incredibly enriching and interesting experience. Because of my placements I am able to get a glimpse into practice from multiple perspectives, allowing me to be able to determine what practice areas at what type of firms I may enjoy best post-graduation.”
Students earn between four and 12 credit hours from work in field placements, and take elective classes such as Contract Drafting and Pretrial Litigation. Professors Timothy Floyd and Linda Jellum and adjunct faculty members Kate Cook and Tom Cox are teaching classes this spring. Over 70 offices agreed to consider Mercer students for field placements, and all students received placements after a competitive application and interview process. Student field placements this semester include:
The United States Environmental Protection Agency The United States Department of Veteran's Affairs, Office of the Regional Counsel The Honorable Yvette Miller, Georgia Court of Appeals The Honorable Stephen Dillard, Georgia Court of Appeals The United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights Georgia CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates–statewide headquarters) Georgia Lawyers for the Arts Georgia Attorney General, Civil Litigation Division and Special Prosecutions Division Atlanta Beltline General Counsel The United States Internal Revenue Service Georgia House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee Kilpatrick Townsend (pro bono cases) Greenberg Traurig (pro bono cases) Royal-Will Law Firm (representing nonprofit healthcare organizations) Office of the United States Bankruptcy Trustee The United States Securities and Exchange Commission The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development The Office of the Georgia Capital Defender