Phoenix School of Law Launches “FIRSTClass” Program For Fall 2013 Students

October 21

Program seeks to transform legal education with blend of traditional instruction with practicum

PHOENIX (October 21, 2013) – Phoenix School of Law (PSL), an ABA accredited law school, is pleased to announce that, beginning in the fall of this year, it will introduce an innovative first-year curriculum known as the FIRSTClass Program: Full Integration of Real-life Skills with Teaching. The FIRSTClass Program is the perfect combination of innovation and the traditional foundations of legal education.

“PSL has always been a leader in its emphasis on practice-ready skills; however, now we are adding an even greater focus on application as well as acquisition of knowledge.   We want to teach students rules and traditional skills, which are critical for bar success, but we also want to teach the rules in context, so that our course content more closely mirrors practice areas” stated Susan Daicoff, Professor at Phoenix School of Law.

The FIRSTClass Program has two distinct features:

•    “Integration”:  Traditional first year subjects combined with skills training.
•    “Practicum”:  Robust, expanded package of skills-based activities.

PSL, already recognized as one of the top 20 most innovative law schools in the country by National Jurist magazine, was founded on the belief that a program of legal education should incorporate both theoretical and practical applications of the law. This belief came, in part, from an early survey of the Arizona bench and bar conducted by PSL Professors Stephen Gerst and Gerald Hess, which identified the subject matters and skills the state’s lawyers valued in new graduates.  The FIRSTClass program reflects the need for law school graduates to excel in legal writing, communicate well with clients and develop a heightened sense of professionalism.

“We are extremely excited to offer our students a broad base of information and experience from which they can benefit. Our goal is to deliver the tools for our students to be successful not only during their studies at PSL, but also in whichever career path they choose upon graduation. This transformational process continues for us as we begin to enhance our curricula for second and third years of law school as well,” stated Shirley Mays, Dean of Phoenix School of Law. 

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Founded in 2005, Arizona Summit Law School is a private, ABA-accredited law school dedicated to diversifying the legal profession by advancing advocates and civic-minded leaders and serving historically underrepresented communities. The school earned early accolades from the ABA and in 2009, received the highly regarded E. Smythe Grambell Professionalism Award for its innovative approach to legal education. Arizona Summit Law School has also received top honors for two consecutive years from prelaw Magazine for its innovative approach to legal education. As Arizona’s only private law school, it aims to establish the private law school as a benchmark institution for legal education in the 21st century. The school is located in the heart of the legal community in downtown Phoenix, providing students with proximity and access to prospective employers and externship opportunities. For more information, visit

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