I came to Mercer to serve as Dean in July 2010 after many years in law school teaching and administration, primarily at Cornell but also for a few years apiece at the University of Texas and Case Western Reserve. At the time that I began my deanship here, I had visited several times and had read a fair amount about the school, and I was very positively impressed. Having now had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the school first-hand, I am even more impressed.
At the heart of any great law school is a great faculty, and the Mercer law faculty plainly qualify as such. They are not only dedicated and impressive as teachers and scholars, but also uncommonly thoughtful about the ingredients of a first-rate legal education. The Woodruff Curriculum that the faculty devised two decades ago was years ahead of its time in integrating into the curriculum crucial insights about producing practice-ready, ethical lawyers, and the faculty has continued to build on the strong foundation that the Woodruff Curriculum laid. It is very much in keeping with that tradition that the law school’s legal writing program ranks first in the nation. Similarly, it is no accident the law school recently became the first to host a moot court competition in the area of legal ethics.
The students are another great strength of the school. They offer a rare combination of intellectual engagement and genuine collegiality. The student body of approximately 440 is among the smaller ones in the country, and there is no doubt that its size fosters a sense of community that enriches the educational experience. The students are an impressively diverse group, and the close-knit environment enables them to benefit from, and truly appreciate, the diversity that one another bring.
From the moment that prospective students contact the Admissions Office to get information about the school, they begin to recognize that the law school has an unusually able and dedicated staff. The law school prides itself on being a place where students know that their individual development, well-being, and success are of paramount importance, and the staff deserves much of the credit for making the law school such a genuinely student-friendly place.
For natural beauty and charm, Mercer and Macon are hard to beat. And the law school building is a truly grand and inspiring structure on the outside and a warm and user-friendly facility on the inside. Not much more than an hour’s drive from Atlanta and its many cultural and entertainment attractions, Macon itself – thanks in part to Mercer – offers a much richer array of such attractions than one would expect of a city of about 100,000.
If you have not yet visited the law school, I hope you will do so soon. It is a school with a long and illustrious past and a great future.
Gary J. Simson
Dean and Macon Chair in Law